Patriot Pauls and Patriot Acts, Part I of II

Column by tzo.

Exclusive to STR

Wow. Lots of buzz lately about Rand and Ron Paul and the Patriot Act. It's got me to thinking...

This is for all the Paul supporters out there who believe that their Constitutional vision of returning the nation to the noble framework laid out by Thee Founding Fathers™ is the end to be attained. This is for all those who are disillusioned, dissatisfied, irritated, enraged, uneasy or downright afraid. This is for all those who, after watching the government chokehold tighten in the face of “legitimate” efforts to breathe easier, ask “But what can we do about it?”
Here are some ideas to consider.
Anyone who truly believes in a system in which a single person (or small group of persons) has the power to change the rights of millions, whether for the better or for the worse, really only believes he has privileges bestowed instead of innate rights endowed.
If one truly believes in a system in which one gives up his rights and places them in the hands of strangers and hopes for the best... Well, eventually and inevitable he will get what he deserves: A fool and his rights soon go their separate ways. These are among the basic lessons parents should impart to their children very early on: Don’t hit, don’t steal, and don’t be a sucker, son.
Here the Constitutionalist jumps in to point out that the Constitution—the basis of this government—is not the source of rights, but merely the declaration that those innate rights shall not be infringed upon by the government. When the Constitution is obeyed, the system works as it should.
Yeah. Excuse me, Mr. Spooner? Can you come over here for a minute and say that thing you wrote 150 years ago about the Constitution?
But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain—that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
Yes, that. Thanks.
And going beyond the practical issue of restraint, the premises involved here are highly suspect. It is difficult to see much difference between what is being proposed by this “modern” “social contract” and what might otherwise be scoffed at as primitive and superstitious mumbo-jumbo.
The entire concept of legislators producing legislation that restricts human rights as being justified as long as the magical Constitutional procedures are followed smacks of dancing around the volcano.
It is bemusing that people believe their freedom is dependent upon certain other people whom they've never met—and never will meet—solemnly navigating their way through sets of sanctified procedures in a building built by slaves located as many as a few thousand miles away from them.
Dancing around the volcano, the legislative priests—if they get all their steps correct—can channel superhuman power and ethically bind their subjects to whatever commandments they invoke. Perhaps they may deign to give the people a bit of their innate freedom back? The populace cowers and hopes. Some even take action and vote—the offering of slaughtered chickens to appease the legislative clerics so that they may look down favorably upon, and not be overly harsh with, their charges.
Grownups should be more than a bit embarrassed to invest even a minute portion of their lives and energy into such games, and if the results weren't so tragic, it would be amusing.
Of course the simple fact of the matter is that no individual is forced to delegate his innate authority to a representative who will make decisions and restrictions on that individual's innate rights and freedoms. If you accept this premise, then it becomes very clear that thugs are using force to violate your rights and freedoms if you have not given them the authority to do what they are doing.
If you feel inherently obligated to part with your authority, then you live with Patriot Acts as something for which you have given your blessing. You acknowledge that you accept the fact that dancing priests can tap into a divine stream of power and wield it over you, and you are obliged to obey.
But this misguided belief fails to pass the ethical smell test: Individuals do not possess the innate right to violate the rights of others, and so this superhuman right cannot be delegated. Governments tax, create laws that restrict human freedoms, kidnap people who disobey such arbitrary positive laws, and declare wars. Can you do such things? No? Then how can you possibly delegate that nonexistent power to someone else? That is to say, by means other than some modern variant of Juju?
Here's a question for you disenchanted but politically active, voting U.S. citizens: What if the majority of Americans WANT the Patriot Act and other fun things like TSA junkyard scavenger hunts? What if the majority of Americans don't CARE if either the letter or the spirit of the Constitution is violated? What then of a representative government?
And if Ron Paul is the cure for the ills that afflict today’s society, why can't he get elected? Why do the vast majority of voters NOT WANT Ron Paul and the additional freedoms he claims to bring to the table? Because the masses are stupid? Then why be surprised or complain about stupid representatives? That is the system in which you have chosen to participate.
In other words, what exactly is there to fix, if the representative government is doing what the people want it to do? It ain’t broke after all, is it? The question for the disgruntled voter here is “Why have you hitched your fortunes to a wagonload of imbeciles?”
Don’t be a sucker, son.
But once again the Constitutionalist chimes in to say that the rules laid out in the Constitution are designed to protect the ignorant masses, who may not know what is best for them. A Constitutional Republic is a safeguard against the Democratic Tyranny of the Majority. A man like Ron Paul, well versed in the true meaning of the Constitution, can step in and save the people from themselves.
So now your proposition is that a Constitutional government is NOT meant to represent the people? That it must rule over the people because they are not intelligent enough to participate in their own governance? That elections are essentially meaningless, because the wise philosopher-king representatives will follow and interpret the sacred text of the Constitution and not allow the people to wander astray? Of course these superior human beings, drawn from the general population based on how much money they can raise and how many promises they can make, are incorruptible with the power they will be given. Because we all know through experience that the one life-form on this planet we can unquestioningly trust is the politician.
Oh, I’m sorry, I seem to have drifted off into fantasyland just then. Pardon.
But let’s stop here for a moment and consider the Patriot Act as a f’rinstance of putting the Constitution to the test. Is it in fact unconstitutional? Based on what? According to whose interpretation? Choose the passage you wish from the founding document, and someone else will find something that can counter it: Even the devil can quote Constitutional scripture for his purposes.
But the Patriot Act is just wrong, claims the Constitutionalist. The spirit of the Constitution cannot allow such unseemly behavior!
This is opinion. And within the confines of the current system, which has determined that things like Patriot Acts are perfectly legal and Constitutional, the only option is to use the political process to affect change. Justice, in the Constitutionalist’s mind, must be achieved by using coercion, that is, forcing those who do not hold his opinion on a subject to behave according to his beliefs at the barrel of a gun. This boils down to might makes right.
He has abandoned any ethical high ground. Violence is not an argument. Violence is treating human beings like objects, and forcing them to do things against their wills. This is what the Constitutionalist wails about when things he deems unconstitutional come into being, but he must resort to the same tactic to “fix” the problem. Such is the system. There is always someone who thinks they know what’s best for everyone, and they are more than willing to wave the government gun around to threaten everyone’s compliance, or else.
It is nothing more than rudimentary, non-thinking barbarianism, and this comparison may be an insult to barbarians. A barbarian may smash your skull and take your stuff, but at least you will be spared the lecture about how he is doing it for your own good.
I happen to believe that taxation and war are unethical, but the Constitutionalist defends these actions by calling them Constitutional. When someone leans on a document that promotes theft and murder, and then advocates a system that uses coercion to implement that document, he cannot begin to pretend that ethics has anything at all to do with his arguments.
It’s OK to declare war via Congress, but not via the President. Constitution sez so. Presidents declare unjust wars—only Congress’ voodoo blessing can make ‘em right. And so on and such.
The fact of the matter is, the Constitutionalist has much more common ground with the Patriot Act supporter than with me. The Patriot Act supporter is playing according to the rules, while I am not. I cannot even begin to discuss eliminating taxes, for example, because there is nothing to discuss. It says so right there in the Constitution that the government is allowed to tax.
This is as axiomatic to the Constitutionalist as is the number 2 to the mathematician. Unfortunately for the Constitutionalist, he also claims to hold the conflicting belief that All Men Are Created Equal is a Self-Evident Truth. This is akin to the mathematician who also believes that 2 can be equal to 3. The result in both cases is 2 + 2 = 5: Pure nonsense.
There is very little difference between a citizen who supports the Patriot Act and one who doesn’t. Both have placed their faith and their human rights into a crapshoot wherein they accept to be forced into complying with whoever can summon enough force to get their way.
The fatal flaw in all governmental schemes—even the most minimal, well-meaning governmental schemes—is that individual rights are necessarily transformed into privileges. Some dole 'em out, others receive 'em. This is not All Men Are Created Equal, this is tyranny of the majority (or minority) at best, and slavery at worst.
And so Ron Paul cannot increase freedom, he can only lengthen the leash. As long as the people continue to demand to be leashed, then all they can do is argue about how big the circle should be in which they are permitted to run around.
And if a (nother) sociopath gets elected, then you have acquiesced to obey whatever he may mandate. If you’re going to play the game, you have to accept the fact that you might lose. Repeatedly, continuously and mercilessly, even.
The system called government cannot work if freedom is to be at all valued. Don’t be a sucker, son: The system cannot restrain itself, as there is no one available to watch the watchers. If you surrender your rights to them, they are no longer your rights.
Constitutions and other such sundries do not stop bullets or restrain legally sanctioned bad behavior, and every instance of government that has ever been scribbled down in a history book confirms this empirical fact. The clearest example is the United States, which began with the barest minimum of minimalist government philosophy ever implemented, then proceeded to grow into the largest, most intrusive government empire the world has ever seen.
The Constitutionalist, a bit apoplectic by now, barks out that you just can’t have society without government, you naïve Utopian dreamer!
Oh Mr. Rothbard, can you help me out over here? Yes, if you would, please. You tell it so well.
The idea of a strictly limited constitutional State was a noble experiment that failed, even under the most favorable and propitious circumstances. Why should a similar experiment fare any better now? No, it is the conservative who puts all the guns and all the decision-making power into the hands of the central government and says, “Limit yourself;'” it is he who is truly the impractical utopian.
Thank you, sir.
At this point the Constitutionalist changes tack. Diagnosing, he proclaims, is insufficient—a prescription is needed or else any list of criticisms is rendered invalid. The Voluntaryist is full of bluster when it comes to finding faults in an admittedly imperfect system, but what does he bring to the table by way of a solution?
The diagnosis that the current government is an aggressive and terminal cancer is perhaps accepted by the Constitutionalist. He agrees that some type of therapy is needed to eliminate this extremely dangerous form of life-threatening disease. The Voluntaryist suggestion to give it a try without any cancer is seen as absurd—a non-answer—what is needed is a milder form of cancer as a replacement.
After all, what is to be done about the sociopaths that will inevitably be looking to wreak havoc within society?
I dunno—how about not arming them and sanctioning their sociopathic behavior?


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tzo's picture
Columnist tzo
Columns on STR: 64

tzo now lives in your head.


Suverans2's picture

Standing and applauding! Encore! Encore! I'll have your horse saddled and ready, sir.

tzo's picture

Your comment has triggered the Kleen filter.

Michael Kleen's picture

Just sycophantic praise, Suverans2, no reference to Black's Law Dictionary?

Suverans2's picture

" apparently missed these three questions, (the previous three times I posted them), since you failed to answer...", so I will try once more. (1) What is it you are looking for, the "magic bullet", the perfectly painless way to withdraw from membership in the STATE? [Edited for accuracy] (2) What is your strategy, change enough people's minds with your rhetoric, and "alternative news", that they will "alter or...abolish" the STATE for you? (3) Do you even know me, Michael Kleen? [This last one I have now asked five times!]

Suverans2's picture

"Any person who desires political power, should be kept from political power at all costs." ~ GeoffreyTransom

GregL's picture

You're right as usual, but I still have a warm spot in my heart for Ron Paul. I see him as a portal through which more people might discover the likes of Spooner, Rothbard, and Tzo.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

GregL: I, too, have a "soft" spot for Ron, but see below about sitting down. His value is that of a gateway drug.

Scott Lazarowitz's picture

I'm verklempt.

Lawrence M. Ludlow's picture

This is so damn good. Tzo, you're it. I've clipped bits of this to go on my FB page! Yes, I prefer Ron Paul to the others on Congress -- much as I prefer a non-bleeding hemorrhoid to a bleeding one! Go Ron, but don't sit down!

Dwight Packer's picture

Of course, Spooner and Rothbard were right, and Ron Paul, ultimately, is wrong.

But I, too, have a soft spot for Ron. In 2007, while in college, I discovered Ron and the freedom movement. If it weren't for him, I would have never found Rothbard, Spooner, and the other giants.

I won't vote, but I will silently hope Ron Paul goes far in the election.

Glen Allport's picture

Highly logical, Mr. Spock, and well-spoken! I agree with nearly every word. But this give me pause:

"There is very little difference between a citizen who supports the Patriot Act and one who doesn’t. Both have placed their faith and their human rights into a crapshoot wherein they accept to be forced into complying with whoever can summon enough force to get their way."

I'd say it differently. There may be very little difference in the political framework those two people have absorbed, yes -- both may believe in the legitimacy of the State and of the Constitution -- but there is likely a large difference between them in terms of how they see and feel about their fellow man, and about how they feel about the freedom of each person. The Patriot Act supporter supports fascism (for whatever reason); the person who opposes the Act at least retains some of the spirit on which America was founded; i.e., that freedom was of central importance and the government was there only to protect that. Clearly -- and you've done a great job of making the point -- that belief was wrong, big-time. Small government is the ember that ignites the conflagration of big government. But that's a cognitive error, not necessarily a symptom of emotional damage. It's not necessarily a display of disrespect for one's fellow human beings. This person is far closer to the abolitionist position than the Patriot Act supporter, and I believe that as the Constitutional State becomes ever-more-clearly harmful to life and liberty, more and more of these confused but essentially decent people will find themselves crossing a mental Rubicon that puts them in the camp of (or at least on the road to) abolition of all State coercion. Writings like yours can help with that -- what other reason would you have for writing? And Dr. Paul's writing and interviews and so on help as well -- he's educating people about central banking, about the severe disconnect between the Constitution and actual government behavior, and so on. He's a way-station on the road to abolitionism, and unlike you and I, Paul has an audience of hundreds of millions, all around the world. He's a major boon to the freedom movement, not because his small-government Statism is the answer but because by consistently and honestly supporting and describing small government and the REASONS for keeping government small, he is shining a spotlght on both the evils of our present huge government and on the inherent failure of using ANY coercive government, no matter how small and "restrained", as the arbiter and protector of civil society. Aggression is not civil, and a civil society must completely embrace the non-aggression principle -- plus, it must do one thing more: it must widely and effectively encourage compassion and the sense of connection with others; that is, it must support emotional health, which in turn means it must strongly support the proper treatment of the very young. Even real freedom cannot survive the harm from a society full of emotionally damaged people; love (compassion, sense of connection, or whatever you want to call it) is the lubricant and anti-corrosive for a free society.

GeoffreyTransom's picture

Very, very good. I've read most of your stuff here, and this is the best thus far.

Your 'dancing round the volcano' imagery is as good a metaphor as Stef Molyneux's 'Giant Stone Chicken'. if you invented it; sudo kudos.

As you are no doubt aware, a certain pirate vessel recently slipped anchor and began running a privateer operation on the information ocean; the growth in its fleet has been nothing short of staggering, and some of the captains of vessels in the flotilla are men of Hornblower-esque cunning and derring-do. Journalists understand DDoS (it's sufficiently simple) but the fleet's armements are now to DDoS, what Trident is to grapeshot (apologies for the state-navy imagery... but we's sea-farin' folk... arrrr)

How I wish that Rothbard was still alive to witness the State's equivalent of the Church's foundering after Gutenberg (the first technological shift that helped disenchant - in the literal sense - a large chunk of the masses). Nobody with an IQ above 'educable' has any excuse for ignorance now - an with that, the modal forecast is that State hegemony will erode in the same way as Church hegemony eroded.

Folks like us used to be called 'the Remnant', but now we are over 9000. We are Legion.

Expect Us.

Neil D.'s picture

Tzo, as an ex-constitutionalist, I find your points to be very interesting. A concept that I only recently discovered as truth (I'm a slow learner) is that ultimately it is the individual (me) that can act in my own interest, with "act" being the important term. Rights that are "bestowed" upon me by the wonderful government benefactors are meaningless, for reasons you've already described.

Lead-in aside, I invariably find this thought process ends in a "me-vs.-literally everyone else" situation. To wit, the only foreseeable outcome in a disagreement between a free man and agents of the government is death. David Koresh and his friends are an obvious example, but the hundreds of thousands of people rotting away inside prisons for what I would deem purely philosophical crimes (felony weapon possession, for example, which while not usually a life term has lifelong and life-altering consequences regardless of whether they are just or not) is also equally illustrative. It is insanity to engage in a physical confrontation with agents of the government with any expectation of victory; there are very many of them with vast amounts of resources. So as I see it, the only other option is to run.

Where I am going with this is that it is an excellent thing to say, "Well, I'm not going to pay my taxes any more, because that money's mine." All of this philosophizing will not help one bit when goons show up to extract that tax; telling them that the property they seek is mine won't do much as they commence kicking my head in or locking me in a cage.

OK, fine, I may flee from them. But then what? Does being a free man necessitate giving up some of the greatest advancements of humankind - division of labor, for example - for the sake of living in hiding?

Thanks for tolerating my no-doubt poorly written wall of text.

Please keep writing.

GeoffreyTransom's picture

Neil D.,

It's possible to undertake (defensive) violent action against the State and its armed goons, without front-on confrontation in serried ranks... nobody with a lick of sense advocates a 'storm the barricades' action à la the French peasants at the Bastille - for the precise reason that had the Crown possessed modern high powered weaponry in 1789, history books would contain a story about how one day a bunch of uppity French peasants got cut to shreds.

Serried ranks against the modern machinery of tyranny... that is the definition of stupid.

In contrast, Jim Bell's "Assassination Politics" has a very stupid name, but its inner workings are a quite-precise formulation of how to go about things sensibly.

In short, it's obvious on a moment's reflection that the right way to degrade State power is to degrade the operational effectiveness of its enforcement arm... and the way to do that is to 'tilt' incentives enough to engender a fall in the State-goon's willingness to furnish his labour.

Targeted, extreme ultraviolence is the answer - Ghandians are simply wrong.

The best recent example of the "swan's legs" fury that underpins 'peaceful protest", is the msot successful of the Arab Spring actions - OpEgypt.

During OpEgypt, while DDoS furnished a diversion, folks like me were diligently hacking the Egyptian Department of the Interior in order to get information about Mubarak's secret police - the Mukhabarat.

We got access to the Ministry's personnel database, which included lists of Mukhabarat undercover operatives and informants - names, cover names, addresses, safe-house extraction addresses, family details... you name it. There were about 3200 names from Cairo, of which 1600 were actual Mukhabarat (i.e., not just informants).

From there, we identified a few dozen single men without children, and a subset of those were beaten to within an inch of their lives (5 died, in fact - you cannot control via the internet, the zeal of the man who gets to confront his oppressor).

Thereafter, telephone calls were place to 5% of the remaining list - telling them what had happened to their colleagues, WHY it had happened, and informing the listener that their fate was similar if they continued to profit from participating in the machinery of tyranny... and that they should let everyone know that this was the case. The 'grapevine' did the rest.

This attempt to use relatively-low levels of targeted violence followed by an information campaign to engender a 'chilling effect' is PRECISELY the primary operational feature of "Assassination Politics" (I prefer to call it "Liberty Pools" - but in deference to Jim Bell I stick with his nomenclature). And everywhere it gets implemented, it works.

And it works FAST.

The OpEgypt hack took place on January 24th: the attacks and phone calls happened on the night of January 26th. On January 27th there was ZERO State security presence on the streets of Cairo. The protest leaders were actually frightened - they were certain that Mubarak's forces had positioned themselves (or infiltrated the protests in plain clothes - that had happened before).

When it became clear that the State's machinery of oppression had simply given up, it was clear that the Egyptian government would fall. By the end, Mubarak's remaining powerbase had to give out KFC vouchers to the unemployed to get counter-protests going... they became known as the 'shabaab kantacki' (Kentucky [Fried] Rabble).

The reason for this long-winded explanation is to point out that, even (in fact ESPECIALLY) under the most despotic regime, the forces of tyranny are susceptible to focused ultraviolence: SWAT swaggering fucktards don't wear kevlar in their homes, and their vehicles are not in secure parking at all times. And if they're not in a pack, they are usually pussies - steroid enhancement or not.

They might have visions of getting all Steven Segal against multiple attackers, but in real life getting jumped by just 3 decent sized men is a fucking nightmare and is impossible for even the best-trained fellow to counter: basically, unless you immobilise one of the 3 before the jump, you end up getting the shit kicked out of you (and it only stops when your attackers decide it stops).

The basic point is this - if your average SWAT-tard knows he has to hold his breath every time he starts his car in the morning, he will feel more inclined to call in sick (and/or go look for productive work as a mallcop). If the local Deppidy-Sherrif knows he has to keep one eye on the window while jacking off to re-runs of COPS, he will feel less inclined to confiscate some poor guy's weed. If the undercover narc knows that he can be identified by an information insecurity, he feels more like quitting.

And so on and so forth: in the humint world, clandestine operatives spend half of their psychic energy shitting themselves at the prospect of discovery... adding infosec vulnerability to that is a GOOD thing for the liberty-minded.

The best bit: the 'Ooh-rah!' loud-mouth types are actually the biggest cowards. They give up first when the going gets seriously tough: the smarter cops/spooks/snitches learn to adapt their behaviour and start behaving like a human.

It's harder with military or paramilitary - like the French gendarmes - because they live in barracks (this is precisely to remove them from interaction with those they oversee)... but undercover cops can't live in barracks - and the Surété's cyber-defences were written by an amateur.

If you want to get a good parallel, think of Afghanistan and Iraq: the anti-invasion forces are undermanned and WAY underpowered - but they are gradually forcing the invader out of their homeland by harassment and insurgency. The same way the 'mighty' US military was defeated in Viet Nam and Mogadishu, and the French in Indochina and Algeria.

And the blowback is that the US winds up with 2 million men who have been driven half out of their minds by combat stress... vast numbers of whom become progressively disenchanted with their post-deployment treatment.

GregL's picture

Thanks for a very interesting post. One of the difficulties of implementing "Liberty Pools" is the lack of an efficient way of anonymously transferring money. I was wondering how you think the advent of bitcoin possibly coupled with Tor (see Silk Road) might impact this in the future.

tzo's picture

Well, I think there is another option besides fighting and running, and that is to stay put and figure out how to put personal freedom into action for yourself. If you work a typical job that requires SSN, then you will be on IRS radar. So perhaps you pay taxes to avoid attention. In the real world of today, that is a tradeoff for living in society.

But your day to day activities can be pretty government-free. Step one is to forget about participating. Don't worry about who is running for what under some platform with such and such promises. Just eliminating this static from your brain eventually clears your head and makes you feel better. If you can interact with others who are like-minded, then all the better. If you can disconnect from the typical employment chains, even better. If you can't, don't worry about it. Life cannot be perfect, and even if it looks miles away from perfect, you cannot worry about what you cannot change. I address this a bit in Part II of this article, arriving soon.

I am a bit embarrassed to admit I haven't read it, but Harry Browne's How I found Freedom in an Unfree World

probably helps one adjust his mind and actions to peacefully coexist with less-than-ideal surroundings. A pdf of it is here:

From the prologue:


Freedom is the opportunity to live your life as you want to live it.

The freedom you seek is already available to you, but it has gone unnoticed.  There probably are two basic reasons you haven’t taken advantage of that freedom.

1. One reason is that you’re unaware of the many alternatives available to you.

2. The second reason you’re not free is because you’ve probably accepted without challenge certain assumptions that restrict your freedom.


It is perfectly natural to feel a bit adrift after cutting your mind loose from the old government tether. That anxiety dissipates over time. Now you just have to figure out how to apply what you know to your own life. Don't worry that the world, or the US, or whatever state or county you live in may never reflect the principles of a free society. Your existence is defined by the people and places that surround you. You have a measure of control over that, and so figure out a way to carve out a little slice of good life for yourself and your family and friends. These little pockets will eventually connect up, but for right now you are one of the little sparks that has to help light the big fire.

Suverans2's picture

G'day tzo,

You wrote: "Here the Constitutionalist jumps in to point out that the Constitution—the basis of this government—is not the source of rights, but merely the declaration that those innate rights shall not be infringed upon by the government."

It's not even that, in my opinion, because, to be more precise, their beloved Constitution states that their voluntary members innate [natural] rights cannot be infringed upon by the government without "due process of law" , and, as has been mentioned elsewhere, "due process of law" is whatever the fox guarding the hen house says it is.

* Care to take a guess at who gets to decide what "just compensation" is?

Furthermore, if that is true, then the opposite is also true, that is to say, if their voluntary members innate rights cannot be infringed upon by the government without "due process of law", then their innate rights can be infringed upon by the government with "due process of law", which, again, because it bears repeating, is whatever the fox guarding the hen house says it is.

GeoffreyTransom's picture

Hi @Suverans2...

EXACTLY right: the "without due process of law" is the thing that gives it away... all you need is a pet charlatan like Scalia, Yoo or Bybee, and hey Presto! Torture is legal, dropping bombs on water treatment plants and killing children is not 'war' (but hacking the Pentagon is an 'act of war'). YAY!

I also have nothing but contempt for people who think highly of the notion of a bunch of robed geriatrics hand-picked by the political class, engaging in silly mediaeval theatre set pieces.

No doubt that Tom Paine and (some of) the rest of them had the good intentions, but anyone with an IQ above about 60 sees the word 'law' FAR too often in the key documents of the Revolutionary (French and US) periods.

For example - the French 1789 "Declaration of the Rights of Man" should fill its reader with nothing but dismay... leaving the way open for the Scalias, Yoos and Bybees of the world to parse its language out of all recognition. (By contrast, I find no fault whatsoever with Articles 30-35 of the 1793 version...)

At bottom though, the political and juridical process are - as Tzo so eloquently put it - dancing around the volcano. Bones in the nose, grass skirts, stupid masks... when you boil it down, the "hooblah hoo" industry persists, be it at SCOTUS, the Congress or the Vatican.

'Law' is the congealed shit left over after a bunch of career parasites are finished taking bribes; when they get around to the serious business of politics, which is simply forcing people to obey their whims.

My 'First Axiom of Political Power' is simply this: "Any person who desires political power, should be kept from political power at all costs."

Suverans2's picture

Hi GeoffreyTransom,

    My 'First Axiom of Political Power' is simply this: "Any person who desires political power, should be kept from political power at all costs."

EXACTLY right, (with no reference to Black's Law Dictionary)!

Tony Pivetta's picture

Constitutionalists are fond of mocking the myth of democracy, likening it to mob rule. "God's law trumps man's law," they'll say, if they're inclined to a Judeo-Christian view of natural rights. "The Commandment is 'Thou Shalt Not Steal,' not 'Thou Shalt Not Steal Except By Majority Rule.'" Then they'll turn around and defend the Constitution, which even under a narrow reading (whose?!) authorizes the Congress to violate all kinds of rights to life and property. In other words, "Thou Shalt Not Steal Except to Fund the Few and Enumerated Powers of the Federal Government as Stipulated by Article 1, Section 8." Who can mock that?

Suverans2's picture

We tend to toss the word "law" around as though there is only one law, one set of rules. Here is a partial list found under the heading "LAW" in Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language.

    2. Municipal law...

    Municipal or civil laws...

    3. Law of nature...

    4. Laws of animal nature...

    5. Laws of vegetation...

    6. Physical laws, or laws of nature...

    7. Laws of nations...

    8. Moral law...

    9. Ecclesiastical law...

    10. Written law...

    11. Unwritten or common law...

    12. By-law...

    13. Mosaic law...

    14. Ceremonial law...

    21. Law martial, or martial law...

    22. Marine laws...

    23. Commercial law, law-merchant...

    26. ...Civil law, criminal law...

    Laws of honor.

I believe that "true laws" are discoverable, provable, and unchangeable, all the rest are the arbitrary and capricious laws created by men, "the congealed shit left over after a bunch of career parasites are finished taking bribes; when they get around to the serious business of politics, which is simply forcing people to obey their whims" (Quote by GeoffreyTransom).

Paul's picture

"anyone with an IQ above about 60 sees the word 'law' FAR too often in the key documents of the Revolutionary (French and US) periods."

We have a perspective that they lacked (250 years of non-working constitutional government), so I wouldn't be too hard on them. Great quote about the character of law, by the way. I have put it in my quotes file.

As to the OP, I really like the analogy of dancing around the volcano. Except for the notion of rights themselves, which is also a bit of dancing around the volcano. Rights are just a meme, a religious belief:
Or, paraphrasing that Mexican fellow in "Treasure of the Sierra Madre", We don't need no stinking rights!

Finally, Geoffrey writes, "Targeted, extreme ultraviolence is the answer - Ghandians are simply wrong. "

While your story here is extremely interesting to me, and I'd like to see some more about it if possible (will google OpEgypt), I think it is wrong to dismiss Gandhi. Let's not forget he managed a greater end for India, the eviction of the British Empire, than has been managed in Egypt so far.