In virtually every religion and philosophy throughout the world there is a binding edict, which says in essence:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Known in the West as the Golden Rule, this is also the basic premise of Common Law. Fundamentally, it means that you should be able to do anything you want as long as you don’t cause injury to another person or damage their property (the latter including failing to do or not do as you voluntarily, knowingly, and intentionally agreed). Period.
That’s all you really need to know about law -- other than all the myriad ways other forms of law (from equity and Roman civil law to maritime and Admiralty law) have enslaved you, and occasioned the need for you to know something about the other forms if only in order to understand how to avoid them being used against you.
Fundamental to this process is two particularly apropos realizations, i.e.:
“Our rulers can have no authority over natural rights, only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as injurious to others.” -- Thomas Jefferson
“The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to
According to Black’s Law Dictionary (Abridged Sixth Edition, 1991): “As distinguished from statutory law created by the enactment of legislatures, the Common Law comprises the body of those principles and rules of action, relating to the government and security of persons and property, which derive their authority solely from usages and customs of immemorial antiquity, or from the judgments and decrees of the courts recognizing, affirming, and enforcing such usages and customs.” “It consists of those principles, usage and rules of action applicable to government and security of persons and property which do not rest for their authority upon any express and positive declaration of the will of the legislature. [emphasis added]
The California Civil Code, Section 22.2, provides that the “common law of England, so far as it is not repugnant to or inconsistent with the Constitution for the United States, or the Constitution of laws of this State, is the rule of decision in all the courts of this State.
Why Have Laws? Why have Governments?
At the most basic level, is there any reason to have laws and governments other than to provide an enforcement means for Common Law -- to some extent, the Golden Rule? I.e. who really cares what you do so long as you do not cause harm to others (including doing harm to their property), and keep your agreements?
Granted, there are people who may want you to believe as they do, act in a manner consistent with their beliefs and desires, and otherwise submit to their authority in all or most all matters of consequence. In other words, there are people who want slaves in one form or another -- but who likely do not wish to become slaves themselves.
The enlightened view is to tolerate the varied pursuits of happiness employed by others (so long as they do not cause injury to still others), rejoice in the diversity of human creativity in following their oftentimes strange or perplexing dreams, and recognize the fundamental stability of a society which sees chaos, even Anarchy and/or Revolution
Statutory Law, on the other hand, is inevitably: 1) Not based on principle, and 2) attempts to administer a bastardization of the Golden Rule, i.e. “Dem wid de gold makes de rules.” It often fails to protect the average citizen, but instead is designed to limit the freedom of others to the advantage of a select few. Statutory Law, more than anything else, has as its agenda, the imposition of one group’s opinions upon the lives of countless others.
A potential has always existed that Statutory Law could be used to identify commonality in given situations, and thus serve as an aid in administering Common Law. Unfortunately, this has not been the rule (pardon the pun).
The phrase, Victimless Crimes, actually constitutes an oxymoron -- much like “jumbo shrimp”, “military intelligence”, and “honest politician”. They are two words which contradict one another. How can there be a crime if there is no victim? How, in fact, can one be accused, if there is no accuser who has been harmed?
Fundamentally important in this context is the distinction between living, sentient beings, and fictitious entities such as corporations, governments, and other Collectives. These latter “persons” are “straw men”, defined (by Black’s Law Dictionary) as: “A ‘front’; a third party who is put up in name only to take part in a transaction.” Such idiocies as “The people of the State of (whatever)” being an injured party is ludicrous inasmuch as most of the time, the defendant or accused is one of “The people of the State...”!
The great crime of Statutory Law is that it often does not cover many injustices, and in its given primacy over Common Law prohibits justice from being done if there is no statute to cover a particular situation. The injustice of racial segregation in America was not subject to lawful action simply because someone was injured, until specific statutes were written. Justice was not the issue; only the question of violating a written law!
The good news is that a new idea referred to as Restorative Justice is beginning to make inroads into replacing statutory laws, which are based on vengeance. (The latter which I understand belongs exclusively to a certain divinity!) Restorative Justice is in essence a return to Common Law, where the primary issue under consideration is that of compensating the victim, instead of simply punishing the criminal. Such punishment is not, however, arbitrary. It’s actually carefully designed.
Conversely, statutory Law is in all respects a system of social control set up by the owners-turned-rulemakers. Living sentient beings and communities are no longer the victims, the ones slated for redress or compensation. Instead, the abstract notion of the State predominates and claims injury to itself -- even if it is impossible to injury an abstract thought. The State’s reason, however, is very real.
If someone breaks one of the State’s rules, then that person potentially damages the power of the State to control people and thereby diminish public security. Defending the State’s power and authority is the only reason behind the punishment. Punishment demonstrates the fearful power of the State to enforce its rules, and makes a potential anti-authoritarian think twice before breaking another arbitrary and capricious rule.
But who benefits? The State is an abstract concept, not a living sentient -- definitely not a thinking -- being. Therefore, the really relevant question is what individuals gain from the State’s power to control society? Aye, there’s the rub!
Rules are primarily concerned with the rights of owners -- emphasis on “owners”. Those who “own” the State, are those who control the actions of the State. Judges who levy fines on alleged wrong doers inevitably receive -- directly or indirectly -- compensation for their judgments. Judges, after all, are paid by the so-called plaintiff, i.e. the State (aka, the prosecution, or more accurately, the persecution). Guess which way they’re going to rule.
Based on the idea that the State is protecting the citizenry from errant criminals, the State enacts enough rules to ensure that everyone is guilty of something! It is only the blatant inefficiency of the system that allows the majority to go free. The State even goes so far as to enact legislation that protect us from ourselves. As Pogo Possum once said, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
But protecting ourselves from doing ourselves injury -- particularly when we resist being so protected -- is fundamentally a “protection racket” administered by the State. We pay to have the State “protect us against our wishes”, and then pay an additional price when we violate rules that in fact do not protect us, but merely act as a means of additional funding for the State and its employees, i.e. controllers, i.e. owners.
“The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”
Constitution for the United States of America, Article IV, Section 4.
A “Republic” is: “1) a nation in which supreme power is held by the people or their elected representatives or by an elected or nominated president, not by a monarch, 2) a society with equality between its members.”
How can there be equality between its members, when those members who are employed by the State have the power to unevenly enforce laws? Where is the equality between the judges who sit high atop their benches doling out their subjective and biased judgment (and with a serious conflict of interest always present), and those who unwillingly are forced to come before the bench for judgment?
2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved