Category Archives: Law

Moral and Natural Consequences

One common response I’ve seen from the Black Lives Matter on the shooting of Korryn Gaines was that she didn’t deserve to be executed for a traffic violation. Leaving aside the accuracy of that description, I’ve noticed that refrain from Black Lives Matter before, “he didn’t deserve death for [minor crime].” This is not limited to BLM, I’ve seen it many times before from many different people of differing ideologies describing different situations. People will often say, some person didn’t deserve a relatively harsh punishment for a relatively minor crime.

To deserve is to be worthy of something, either a reward or punishment, but measure of worthiness is left open. So in conversation people have to derive a measure from context. In the case of those arguing that Gaines didn’t deserve to die, they assume the measure of worthiness is some form of cosmic justice.

But moral worthiness is not the issue in many of these cases, but rather natural worthiness. Waving a realistic toy gun at or charging a cop may not be deserving of death in some cosmic moral sense, but it is the natural consequence, and they deserve it in that they created conditions that would likely result in the resutlting negative consequence.

There are two types of deserved negative consequences: moral/judicial consequences, where someone is punished because they have committed evil, and natural consequences, where someone is punished because that is the natural result of their actions.

Moral consequences are justice and justice is meted out by God and man. Justice needs an agent to be carried out and does not necessarily occur in nature. The rare times when nature hands out justice, we always refer to it differently, such as with phrases like poetic justice or karma, because we know that it is not real justice, simply natural consequence or blind coincidence.

On the other hand natural consequences are carried out by nature, of which man is a part. There is no moral dimension to natural consequences, simply the cold, hard law of cause and effect judging man with neither mercy nor pity.

A lot of people like to try to confuse these two forms of consequences, these two meanings of deserve, often for ideological purposes, occasionally because they are incapable of clear thinking. Often, those who see the reality of natural consequences and refuse to confuse the two, are called cold, mean, and/or evil by those who do not.

To help make this distinction clear, I’ll list some examples:

Does a child who runs into the road, morally deserve to be hit by a car? No, but they naturally deserve it because that is the natural consequence.

Does a man calling another man a ‘cock-sucking faggot’ or some other very offensive epithat morally deserving of being punched in the face? No, but he’ll get punched anyway and deserve it.

Does a women getting drunk and going to a strange man’s home means she morally deserves to be raped? No, but being raped is a likely foreseeable outcome and she naturally deserves it.

Does having promiscuous sex mean someone morally deserves to suffer and STD? Maybe not, but it is naturally deserved.

Does threatening, resisting, or being stupid around cops means someone morally deserves to be shot? Maybe not, but it is the most likely outcome and being shot is deserved.

Do French people morally deserve to be gunned down for voting in favour of immigration? No, but the naturally deserve the consequences of their choices.

So yes, Korryn Gaines deserved to die for her parking ticket. Maybe not in some cosmic moral sense, but she took took actions which would naturally result in her being shot, and the laws of nature enacted their punishment.

In all cases, the question is not of whether some impartial moral arbiter would condemn the person to a punishment in light of cosmic justice, rather it is a question of whether the person brought natural consequences upon themselves by committing causes that would result in certain effects.

Do not confuse the two. God and man care about your moral worthiness, your soul rests upon it, and justice is enacted by it. Nature does not care in the least about your moral worthiness, only your natural worthiness. Contravene nature’s laws and suffer, that is natural.

Order and Freedom

Freedom comes from social trust, social trust comes from order.

Formal rules are only necessary when there is a lack of social trust. When people trust each other, there is no need for an impartial mediators such as law and bureaucracy, as social norms . When I lend money to a friend, I do not make him sign a contract, because I know he will pay me back. Evolutionist X outlines this more thoroughly.

Social trust is built through repeated positive interactions. If I’ve lent $10 to a friend before and he paid me back, I’d consider lending him $20 at later time. If he has a repeated history of paying me back and spotting me when I needed a loan, I may even lend him $1000 if he needed.

I would probably not loan $10 to someone I had never met. But, if I’ve loaned to many friends (and they’ve reciprocated) within a social circle over the years and was always paid back, and I met someone new within that social circle at dinner and they forgot their wallet, I’d likely be willing to spot him $20 for dinner. By being part of the social circle he has inherited that social trust.

Social trust is destroyed through negative interactions. If just once my friend stiffed me, I’d probably never loan to him again; it’s possible I may no longer remain his friend. I’d also be less willing to loan to other friends in the future. If I was stiffed a few times, I’d probably never loan again.

Social trust builds on itself. If I loan to a friend, he’s likely to loan to me in the future, and I in turn am then even more willing to loan to him in the future, and upwards rides the virtuous cycle. Likewise, social distrust spirals downwards. If my friends stiffs me, I refuse to loan to someone else, who in turn refuses to loan to me, which in turn makes me even less likely to loan to others, and downwards spirals the vicious circle.

Eventually, the virtuous cycle results in a social norm of lending and repaying. The vicious circle results in no social norm of lending and repaying arising. Rather, if someone ones to borrow money, legally enforced contract loans become necessary. The vicious cycle leads to law and regulation. It also leads to much higher transactions costs. In the virtuous cycle, a $1000 loan requires little more than politely asking a friend or two and providing an explanation. A $10 loan requires nothing more than a “can you spot me til payday?”  In the viscious circle, a $1000 loan requires lawyers, banks, contracts, insurance, and interest. A $10 loan is impossible because the extra costs would be worth more than the loan itself.

Those first few interactions are critical. If my first interactions are positive, the virtuous cycle will build itself and will naturally continue. Once I’m caught up in the virtuous cycle with strong social norms, even the occasional defector will be regarded as a bad apple rather than representative of the group. Only a critical mass of defections will destroy the cycle. On the other hand, if my first few interaction are negative, the vicious circle will start to decay. Once I’m trapped in the vicious circle, the positive interactions will be seen as the unrepresentative outliers. It is nigh impossible to rebuild a virtuous cycle as a critical mass of non-defectors will rarely build up as others defect on them.

Because of this, it is necessary to stop natural defectors from destroying those initial interactions. Order is what prevents defectors from defecting. If a potential defector knows he will be punished should he defect, he will not defect and will not start a viscous circle. In the loan example, if someone knows there is a social norm of shunning by the group for refusing to pay back a loan, they will likely not defect.

Because there is order in the group, we can freely loan. There is no need for laws or regulations regarding loans because we know the social norms will enforce repayment, and these social norms were originally built by the maintenance of order.

We can also see order builds upon itself. The social norm of punishing defectors, leads the the social trust virtuous cycle, which leads to the creation of the social norm of repayment.

If freedom is your goal, order will break down; if order is your goal, freedom will naturally result.

As we can see above, freedom is the natural result of order. Social norms lead to social trust which leads to further social norms which frees us from regulation and bureaucracy.

We can start this order with law as well. If the authority emplaces an authoritarian initial law that harshly punishes stiffing on a loan, people know defectors will be punished and will be willing to engage in those initial positive interactions, even with people they don’t know. The virtuous cycle builds upon this initial law.

In this situation a man’s handshake becomes his bond. When a man’s handshake is his bond, there is no need for contracts, there is no need for lawyers and no need for regulations on the minutiae of contract law. Social norms enforce the spirit of the agreement and there is freedom in loan-giving.

On the other hand, if that initial law against stiffing on a loan is not put into place, people can not trust that defectors outside their close social circles will be punished. So defectors defect. With no social norms people turn to written, enforceable contracts. As they write contracts, they will realize the letter of the agreement is enforced, the spirit is not. This leads to the necessity of lawyers to ensure the letter is correct and the need for detailed regulations to define every aspect of lending contract. With no social norm enforcing the spirit of the law, people will learn to manipulate the letter. In order to prevent the injustices of those manipulating the letter of the law, further regulations will be introduced to prevent manipulation. This will result in a bureaucracy to create these regulations, which will itself be manipulated, and so on down the vicious cycle, as more regulations are placed upon more regulations. Order and freedom break down, replaced by the letter of the law and regulation.

Order is freedom, chaos is tyranny.

As above, we see that order leads to freedom. In a ordered community, strong social norms make intrusive, detailed regulation or bureaucracy unnecessary. The social norms uphold themselves while allowing freedom.

On the other hand, where there is no order, where there is chaos, laws and regulations become necessary. If you can’t trust your neighbour not to defect, not  to violate the spirit of any agreements, you need laws and regulations to enforce agreements make up for the lack of social trust.

Increased regulation is a sign that your community is becoming more chaotic and more disordered. Increased tyranny is a result of disorder.

As well, tyranny creates chaos. As shown, as regulations increase the letter of the law and of the agreement becomes more important than the spirit. When the letter become more important, people stop simply not defecting. Instead, people try to defect as much as possible on the spirit while still holding to the letter. Trust breaks down, and chaos reigns.

Increased regulation leads to more chaos, which leads to more regulation. Tyranny is not order, tyranny is chaos and chaos is tyranny.

Order is freedom.

If you desire freedom, order should be your primary goal.

Just War and Breivik

A couple of questions and a Twitter convo with Mandrake have prompted me to post on just war and Brievik.

Just war has two aspects jus ad bellum and jus in bello. Jus ad bellum governs whether a particular military conflict is justified, while jus in bello regulates proper action in war. I should note that I reject the concept international law, as it violates subsidiarity, as international organization aren’t sovereign and therefore can’t make law, and as law is and should be made by a government of a people for that particular people, making one set of laws applicable to differing peoples is harmful. So I am talking about moral law here, not ‘legal’ law.

Before we even get to just war, we must define war. War is conflict between nations, for a war to be a war it must be waged by a people against another people, not by a person; if a person is waging war on their own, they are simply committing murder, not committing war.

For a war to be just a state of war must be entered by the people. To do this a legitimate authority over a people must declare the war on behalf of the people he represents. Someone who is not an authority for his people can not declare a war. This declaration need not necessarily be a formal declaration of war. A surprise or pre-emptive attack may be just declaration of war depending on the circumstance. (I am unsure on the question of whether an illegitimate authority can justly declare war on the people he has authority over; it will require more pondering).

For a declaration of war to be just, it must meet three conditions:

First, it must be defensive, either in defense of your own nation, in defence of another nation, or in defence of justice. Defence is not used in its strictest sense, and goes beyond simply warding off an invasion. For example, an invasion to rescue a national citizen kidnapped while visiting a foreign nation would be a valid defence of the nation, while an invasion to stop mass murder or to punish the guilty may be a valid defence of justice.

Second, the war must have some real chance of success. If a war would have no realistic chance of success, then the war is unnecessary, and would therefore be unjust. A small chance of success is still a real chance.

Finally, war must be proportional. The expected benefits of a war must be greater than the expected evils of war.

Once in war jus in bello should be followed:

First two principles are necessity and proportionality, unnecessary violence is to be avoided and violence enacted should not be disproportionate to the goals.

The third is the avoidance of deliberately targeting non-combatants. Violence should only be enacted upon legitimate military targets.

Finally, there is the proper treatment of POW’s. It should be noted here, that spies, saboteurs, and the like are not POW’s and can be dealt with harshly.

Those are the basics of just war.

So, now we get to Breivik. I think Breivik did have a just cause for war; the rapes, violence, and slow genocide of his people by foreigners and hostile elites are just causes for war, but he was not carrying out a just war.

The first reason was that he was not engaging in war. He acted alone, not as a part of a people; there was no war, simply murder. As well, he was not a legitimate authority, so his act of ‘war’ could not be a legitimate declaration of war to begin a war.

Secondly, his actions had no real chance of success. Given that propaganda outlets are almost entirely in the hands of his enemies, the most realistic outcome was that his actions would actively hinder his cause.

He also failed to meet jus in bello principles. The targets of his attacks were not legitimate military targets. Given the nature of the conflict in Norway, I think a legitimate case could be made that the ruling elite and politicians are legitimate military targets, but the spawn of the ruling elites were not. He should have targeted the politicians, media, and bureaucrats, not their children.

A just war in Norway, would require the Norwegian people, or at least a significant minority of them, to have (or appoint) a legitimate authority to declare war on behalf of their community in order to expel (not genocide) the foreign invaders and remove the internal traitors supporting them from positions of power.

If this community can not be found, no amount of lone wolf attacks will matter. The Norwegian people will, sadly, have chosen their own subjugation and extinction.

The Law is a Death Threat

VD linked to a post by law professor Stephen Carter that makes a point that can not be made enough, so I’m going to reiterate it here:

That’s too bad. Every new law requires enforcement; every act of enforcement includes the possibility of violence. There are many painful lessons to be drawn from the Garner tragedy, but one of them, sadly, is the same as the advice I give my students on the first day of classes: Don’t ever fight to make something illegal unless you’re willing to risk the lives of your fellow citizens to get your way.

The government exists solely to force people to do something they wouldn’t do otherwise. No matter what the government is doing: public health care, economic redistribution, taxation, fighting obesity, etc., it is doing so by force. At the very least, they have forcibly taken taxes from the citizenry to pay for whatever activity they are doing.

Every law is a threat of violence: Do (or don’t do) this or we will sic the police on you.

The police’s sole purpose is violence, they exist solely to enforce the law through the use of the threat of violence and, failing that, violence.

But even further than that every law is at heart a death threat: Do (or don’t do) this or we kill you.

Don’t believe me, consider the one thing every government needs simply to exist taxation.

Pay your taxes or the IRS will fine (or jail) you. If you refuse to pay the fines, they send police to take you to jail. If you refuse to go to jail, the police will threaten you or forcibly move you to jail. If you do not bow to their threats or rseist them forcibly moving you, they will shoot you. If you resist being shot, they will shoot you until you are dead.

If we remove all the intermediary bureaucracy, the law is: pay your taxes or we will shoot you until you are dead.

Smaller laws and regulations hide this behind layers of bureaucracy. You might have to deal with the Department of Administrative Affairs, then the DAA’s enforcement arm, then the courts, then the Department of Justice, all before finally meeting the police, but if you refuse the law long enough, eventually the police will be there (if they’re don’t eventually arrive, then you simply don’t have to obey, but anarcho-tyranny is another topic for another time).

The police are the eventual enforcement mechanism of any law or regulation, however many layers government may use to muddy the waters, and the police’s job is, at base, to kill you if you don’t obey. Again, the police’s job is muddied as are society is soft and unable to deal with reality, but everything the police do, the Miranda Rights, the “please come with us”, the “do you mind answering a few questions”, the handcuffs, the tasers, the “stop or I’ll shoot”, all of it, is predicated on: if you don’t obey, we will kill you.

Most people in the West abide by the law and so they never go farther than a layer or two into the bureaucratic swamp; even most criminals generally obey the police before it becomes necessary for the police to kill them, so this reality is obscured by common social delusion. This delusion is how leftists can always cry for more laws but whine when the police enforce the laws on the likes of Michael Brown or Erik Garner.

Now, just because every law is a death threat and the police’s job is to kill you if you don’t obey, doesn’t make the law necessarily evil. Sometimes death threats and killing are justified. If someone was trying to rape your daughter, “stop or I’ll kill you” is justified, as is following through on the threat if necessary. Arguably, it’s the only just course of action. So, by calling the law a death threat and saying the police’s job is to kill is no indictment against the law or the police, it is simply a recognition of reality.

This reality is important to remember whenever we theorize on politics or call for more laws: more laws means more death threats and more reasons for the police to kill. It is also important to remember when someone gets themselves shot by the police: the police exist to kill, that is their job.

So remember for all political philosophy or law-making:

The government’s sole purpose is violence and every law is a death threat. Unless you are willing to kill for something no law should be made over it.