A lawless society is a depressing place to live because it’s a place devoid of law. And while going lawless might be appealing, we aren’t talking about an end to laws requiring you to wear bicycle helmets or drink small sodas. Not even laws ordering you to recycle, pay taxes and enlist during a war. These are laws, but they’re also ordinances, commands and compulsions. They are not really any different from your parents telling you to wash behind your ears or a mugger ordering you to give him your money. They might be right or wrong, but they aren’t law.
Law exists apart from what a group of people at any given time want you to do. That is why the aged nature of the United States Constitution is a strength. The farther away we travel from 1788, the less that the foibles and frailties of the Framers affect us. The transitory human things fall away leaving only the essence of law.
A Bill of Rights drafted today would look very different than it did back then. Not only would there be no Second Amendment, but most of the others would read dramatically different. There would be few severe restrictions on government power. Nor would there be unlimited Freedom of Speech. The entire thing would run a few thousand pages and would be filled with all sorts of escape clauses, which when added together would render the whole thing meaningless.
Take for example the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which includes dozens of new rights, such as the right of asylum, the right to environmental protection and consumer protection, and the right to social security, in addition to the more basic rights familiar to Americans, but it comes with a simple addendum.
“Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.”
Which is to say there is freedom of speech, only until a compelling argument can be made why banning someone’s freedom of speech will help protect the general interests of the European Union or the rights of others to have environmental protection and social security.
That is the essence of a lawless society, which is to say that there are oodles and oodles of law, but it’s merely a complicated way for those in power to enforce their will on others. If you want to force people to do something, all you need to do is study enough clauses, lay out your reasoning and it’s done.
It’s law in the same sense that a mugger putting a gun to your head is law. He has a gun and he makes the laws. The laws don’t apply to him. They don’t apply in any larger universal fashion. The mugger can choose to suspend any laws at his whim, because he has a gun.
The United States has drifted into lawlessness, into laws that are the guns of government. Want to force everyone to buy health insurance? Pass a law. Ignore any questions of legality because legality doesn’t matter. If people come out to protest, send out your SEIU thugs to beat them. If you lose your Senate majority, use Reconciliation to pass it. If the Supreme Court threatens to investigate the Constitutionality of the law, threaten the Court.
The only thing separating tactics like these from the mugger on the corner is public interest. Which is to say that the government is playing Robin Hood. It isn’t mugging you because it likes the smell of money, but because it wants to help those less fortunate. Robin Hood was rebelling against the illegal authority of the Sheriff of Nottingham. And our government is rebelling against the authority of… the people and the law.
The government is the outlaw, doing what it likes because it must resist all the “powerful interests,” the most powerful of them being the Middle Class. The Revolution becomes permanent, with the Reds in power constantly rebelling against the bourgeois capitalists by raising taxes and outlawing soda. Every year, the outlaws swing out of the trees, rob the merchants and ride back to Washington D.C. for a glorious feast over the stolen goods, which they may in some small way share with a few peasants, to secure their support.