Quote of the Day: The Law

 

“Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
– Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

We have seen this in action throughout 2020 and 2021. The difference between the treatment of  Antifa and BLM rioters and the treatment of the January 6 protestors is perhaps the most obvious example. DAs across the country are exercising prosecutorial discretion to go after their political opponents while ignoring the crimes of their political allies. Municipalities using complex codes and regulations to operate shakedown rackets at a magnitude organized crime of the twentieth century never attempted and can only envy.

Now we have an infrastructure reform bill before Congress that will make criminals of all of us – and Republicans seem to be facilitating its passage rather than blocking it.

I am not sure what the eventual resolution of this problem will be but I doubt it will be pretty.

Published in Law
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There are 11 comments.

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  1. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    I understand the point of the quote, but don’t really agree with it.  Imposing unreasonable laws on many Americans strikes me as a fine way to provoke an equal and opposite reaction in the form of rebellion big and small.  In fact, we already did that about 250 years ago.

    • #1
  2. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I understand the point of the quote, but don’t really agree with it. Imposing unreasonable laws on many Americans strikes me as a fine way to provoke an equal and opposite reaction in the form of rebellion big and small. In fact, we already did that about 250 years ago.

    I alluded to that in the final line of my discussion. But despite what those with romantic expectations of a glorious revolution believe I sincerely expect it to not be pretty.

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  3. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Also, remember that those imposing unreasonable laws believe everyone will knuckle under because for the last 50 years or so they have.  Those passing the laws have no sense of history.

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  4. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I understand the point of the quote, but don’t really agree with it. Imposing unreasonable laws on many Americans strikes me as a fine way to provoke an equal and opposite reaction in the form of rebellion big and small. In fact, we already did that about 250 years ago.

    Well, there are two sides to the thinking here. The first one goes to the thought behind the quote that everyone can be made a criminal and those who believe that this process will work. The second is those who acknowledge that is what is being tried by the powers that be but do not believe it will ultimately succeed because of the reaction it will cause.

    Are you just taking the second position as I am or do you not accept that this is what TPTB are attempting?

    • #4
  5. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I understand the point of the quote, but don’t really agree with it. Imposing unreasonable laws on many Americans strikes me as a fine way to provoke an equal and opposite reaction in the form of rebellion big and small. In fact, we already did that about 250 years ago.

    Well, there are two sides to the thinking here. The first one goes to the thought behind the quote that everyone can be made a criminal and those who believe that this process will work. The second is those who acknowledge that is what is being tried by the powers that be but do not believe it will ultimately succeed because of the reaction it will cause.

    Are you just taking the second position as I am or do you not accept that this is what TPTB are attempting?

    I’m with No. 2.  And we already see it in certain forms.  One of the major objections to marginal tax increases is that they turn a lot of people into tax evaders and, as a result, don’t do much to increase revenue because people are motivated to avoid the increases.  The same with unnecessarily low speed limits speed limits that are ignored because a significant number of people don’t respect them.  This stuff doesn’t have to be in the form of a major revolution, just varying forms of “civil disobedience.”  I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m more likely to wear a mask if a polite suggestion is made.  A mandate?  Fuggedaboudit.

    • #5
  6. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Interesting how the phrase “political opponent” has morphed. Back when politics wasn’t everything, we understood it to be transactional and limited to office holders or seekers. Now it is anyone who thinks or votes differently than you, who might end up opposing policies that you prefer. 

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  7. Mark Alexander Coolidge
    Mark Alexander
    @MarkAlexander

    Ayn Rand flies, but with a broken wing. She agrees with Marx on the pure materialism of reality, which leads into some odd dark alleys, but I always enjoy rereading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Well, Parts I and II. I’d rather read her individual philosophical works than the crushingly boring Part III.

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  8. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Mark Alexander (View Comment):

    Ayn Rand flies, but with a broken wing. She agrees with Marx on the pure materialism of reality, which leads into some odd dark alleys, but I always enjoy rereading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Well, Parts I and II. I’d rather read her individual philosophical works than the crushingly boring Part III.

    Agreed. Her rejection of religion also led her down some strange paths. But, when she is right, accept what is right. 

    • #8
  9. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Seawriter (View Comment):
    Agreed. [Rand’s] rejection of religion also led her down some strange paths. But, when she is right, accept what is right. 

    And she is certainly right about the creation of a state in which there are so many laws, and so many contradictory laws that it is impossible to get through the day without breaking some, even in the privacy of one’s own home.

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    • #9
  10. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    That’s my favorite Ayn Rand quote.

    I’m not sanguine that we would “rise up” and throw out the bums if they go too far.  I think the American Revolution was a unique time in history against a distant power that was at its core fairly decent and mostly law abiding.  The Colonies did not have extreme polarization of sentiment.  Certainly there were a lot of people who did not want to revolt, but they weren’t in power in colonial governments.  

    Today we have a government that is bolstered by a faction of an extremely polarized society, and the evil side is the side in power.  It would take a lot to stir up the people to effectively stop their nonsense. A lot of people will talk big, but in the end, nothing will happen.  

    So, following the thinking of the Rand quote, when the government makes laws that cannot be followed, or should not be followed, they merely need to make examples of people who don’t follow the law.  They will arrest them, humiliate them, impoverish them through lawfare, or execute them if they resist.  The patina of law will convince most people that their actions are reasonable, and most people will see the fates of those individuals and be afraid.  Terrorism works.  We are not so unique that we are immune to that.  

    We need to get control of the ballot box to ensure voting is fair and not stuffed.  We need to restore the national mindset that speech must be protected, freedom to be enshrined, and all are treated equally.  Otherwise, we are doomed.  The dems will never willingly relinquish power, they do stuff ballot boxes.  They are unconcerned about getting caught, because the sheer unlawfulness of their actions and their being in power nonetheless only makes them more able to terrify people.

    We are doomed.

    • #10
  11. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    Skyler (View Comment):
    We need to get control of the ballot box to ensure voting is fair and not stuffed.

    Failure here seals our doom.

    • #11