Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Quote of the Day: “Not Law but Fraud”

 

In Mark Helprin’s 2012 novel In Sunlight and in Shadow*, we meet a returning WWII veteran, Harry Copeland, who inherits the family business from his deceased father. When the business is threatened by a mafia boss, resulting in the death of one employee, and Harry himself nearly beaten to death, Harry learns that he will find no help from law enforcement or any other authority because all of them are being paid off. Harry must decide whether he will take matters into his own hands — eliminating the mafia boss himself.

“My enemy is not the law,” he found himself saying under his breath as he walked — talking to himself was not a good sign — “but the enemy of the law, against which the law is too weak to defend itself. If the law is complicit in crime, is it the law? If, when not complicit, it not only fails to protect but proscribes self-protection, then it is not law but fraud. Anarchy arises not from those who defend themselves by natural right, but from officials who fail in their calling, look the other way, succumb to threats and blackmail, or who are themselves criminal. If without defending me the law says I can’t defend myself, it is no longer the law, and I have to defy it.”

As you might guess, I could not read this passage without immediately thinking of the last two years of the Mueller investigation. Given all we have learned about the involvement of the DOJ and the FBI (et al) in inventing the Russia Collusion narrative out of whole cloth, convicting people on process crimes — crimes that didn’t exist apart from the investigation themselves, we must ask whether what we are seeing in Washington is law . . . or fraud? If the law is complicit in ca rime, is it the law?

We have many “officials who fail in their calling, look the other way, succumb to threats and blackmail, or who are themselves criminal.” But I have no solution. Except forthe solution of the ballot box. But that’s looking more fraudulent every day.

* As to the novel itself, it’s not my favorite Mark Helprin novel — in fact, I have a lot of problems with it. But there are a lot of embedded nuggets in it, such as the one above. It is a novel where the whole is less than the sum of its parts. But many of the parts are quite good.

There are 16 comments.

  1. toggle Inactive

    DrewInWisconsin: we must ask whether what we are seeing in Washington is law . . . or fraud? If the law is complicit in crime, is it the law?

    Well, yes it is the law, until it isn’t. Starting with Sessions’ recusal, the path has been laid to perpetuate the fraud–no one has opposed it. Obvious from the beginning, the “investigation” was used to cover up, bleach, the extent of the prior administration’s crimes. So, it will go down in history as scandal free.

    • #1
    • February 4, 2019, at 5:44 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. JimGoneWild Coolidge

    To step over the line, to make that fateful decision, taking the law into your own hands; is big, very big. Helprin sets up a perfect scenario for it, unfortunately real life — and the Swamp — are not so clear cut. Just keep your guns handy.

    • #2
    • February 4, 2019, at 5:54 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Thatcher

    Is this where I can pull an RA and mention my wife and I had dinner with Mark on one of the NR cruises, and not get pummeled by the PIT gallery?

    • #3
    • February 4, 2019, at 6:04 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    GLDIII Intermittently Non Esse… (View Comment):

    Is this where I can pull an RA and mention my wife and I had dinner with Mark on one of the NR cruises, and not get pummeled by the PIT gallery?

    Yeah, but now I need to hear about it.

    • #4
    • February 4, 2019, at 6:10 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Stina Inactive

    DrewInWisconsin: If without defending me the law says I can’t defend myself, it is no longer the law, and I have to defy it.”

    This sounds like the underlying philosophy behind the 2nd Ammendment.

    It is in this that the law failed Parkland students.

    It is in this that the law may fail the Covington boys (minors who may not be able to defend the reputations, but can have those reputations destroyed by adults).

    It is also in this that the law fails Christian business owners who use discretion in the contracts they attach themselves to.

    • #5
    • February 5, 2019, at 7:54 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. PHCheese Member

    Good post, also I got the book for free on Amazon. It sounds interesting.

    • #6
    • February 5, 2019, at 9:55 AM PST
    • Like
  7. Quinnie Member

    Mr. Helprin is a fantastic novelist, in Tom Wolfe’s class. I enjoyed in Sunlight and in Shadow immensely. How sad it was for the protagonist, Harry Copeland, to return from the war and find the society he fought to protect, corrupted.

    My favorite Helprin novel is Soldier of the Great War.

    • #7
    • February 5, 2019, at 2:23 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  8. Aaron Miller Member

    President Trump has the authority to stop it. If the proper authorities are too afraid of political repercussions to fulfill their duties, they should be replaced.

    • #8
    • February 5, 2019, at 3:49 PM PST
    • Like
  9. Western Chauvinist Member

    When law enforcement is corrupt right up at the tippy top, it’s banana republic time. If Trump uses the authority he rightly has to stop the fraud and sic justice on the deserving previous administration malefactors, he will be accused of political persecution of his rivals. It’s no-win.

    BMGAA.

    • #9
    • February 5, 2019, at 6:08 PM PST
    • Like
  10. Aaron Miller Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):
    If Trump uses the authority he rightly has to stop the fraud and sic justice on the deserving previous administration malefactors, he will be accused of political persecution of his rivals.

    Yes, he would be accused. It is his responsibility to stop the circus anyway… before it leads to any other unjust prosecutions for procedural trickery. 

    Besides, he is already accused of conspiracies. It is the habit of the Left to accuse their opponents regardless of truth or supposed evidence. The Russian collusion narrative won’t end with the investigation, however it is closed. 

    • #10
    • February 5, 2019, at 6:36 PM PST
    • Like
  11. formerlawprof Coolidge

    GLDIII Intermittently Non Esse… (View Comment):

    Is this where I can pull an RA and mention my wife and I had dinner with Mark on one of the NR cruises, and not get pummeled by the PIT gallery?

    OK. I’ll bite. What is RA, and what is PIT?

    • #11
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:28 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Percival Thatcher

    RA is short for @rightangles. She has led an interesting life.

    PIT stands for the Politically Incorrect Thread. It is a combination of the Mos Eisley Cantina and the Shootout at the OK Corral. The current iteration can be found here.

    • #12
    • February 5, 2019, at 8:38 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  13. Rodin Member

    What a precious thing is the “rule of law”. To be given the same due process whether of low or high station, whether of privilege or destitution. Our society fails, and has always failed, in the execution of our aspiration. But general agreement on the necessity and value of it has inspired a long history of trying to obtain it. That is why it is so discouraging to see so many turn away from it. To either accept a counterfeit or out and out reject it. And the greatest threat from illegal immigration is that enough people will be imported who do not value it as they have no experience of it, that democracy itself cannot protect it.

    • #13
    • February 6, 2019, at 7:49 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Vectorman Thatcher

    Rodin (View Comment):

    What a precious thing is the “rule of law”. To be given the same due process whether of low or high station, whether of privilege or destitution. Our society fails, and has always failed, in the execution of our aspiration. But general agreement on the necessity and value of it has inspired a long history of trying to obtain it. That is why it is so discouraging to see so many turn away from it. To either accept a counterfeit or out and out reject it. And the greatest threat from illegal immigration is that enough people will be imported who do not value it as they have no experience of it, that democracy itself cannot protect it.

    • #14
    • February 6, 2019, at 8:36 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  15. SpiritO'78 Member

    It was a great book. A little more poetic and wordy than I like, but still heroic. I remember thinking it would make a great movie.

    • #15
    • February 6, 2019, at 10:26 AM PST
    • 1 like
  16. DrewInWisconsin, Type Monkey Member

    SpiritO'78 (View Comment):

    It was a great book. A little more poetic and wordy than I like, but still heroic. I remember thinking it would make a great movie.

    Cornell would have to be played by Morgan Freeman.

    • #16
    • February 6, 2019, at 10:38 AM PST
    • 1 like