Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
As we near the end of the twenty - first century's second decade it seems that the more laws our elected (or appointed,) lawmakers create the more lawless societies in the developed nations become. There are many possible reasons for this. Some sociologists say modern society is a pressure cooker and the stresses of everyday life drive people to crime.
Others suggest that as the gap in lifestyles between the affluent and the poor has widened, those at the lower end of the income scale feel alienated and abandoned by governments with policy platforms that favout the rich and affluent. Yet others cite the decline in meaningful work; while statistical jiggery pokery creates the illusion of low unemployment rates the numbers of people of working age not participating in the economy is higher than ever. The trick used to manipulate figures for public consumption is no secret. In the USA people who have not worked for 99 weeks are classed as not economically active and removed from the pool of people available for work. In Britain the same technique is used, the only difference is you are not 'unpersoned' (to borrow a term from the old Soviet Union politbureau,) until 104 weeks have elapsed since you were last formally employed.
Different numbers apply in other developed nations, but the result is the same. The numbers of people not in work while capable of working is several percentage points higher than stated. Many of those technically not working are, as one might expect, working very hard, in trades such as fences (buying and selling stolen property,) potrepreneurs (dealing marihuana,) working girl (ladies of negotiable affection,) rent boy, bootleggers, fakers, any kind of hustle or even in occupations that would be legitimate if the trader was declaring a six figure income and paying tax, rather than claiming state benefits.
Another aspect of the role of lawmakers in the abundance of laws that have been created, seemingly without thought, so that not only are many of them impossible to police, but also we often find ourselves in the situation of not being able to obey one law without breaking another.
Several years ago the Commonwealth of Virginia enacted a law limiting individuals to purchasing one gun per month. This was intended to discourage smuggling of weapons to urban areas outside Virginia with tight gun control laws and (unsurprisingly) high homicide rates. The law didn’t seem to do much good and in a rare outbreak of common sense was later repealed, though there’s recent misguided talk from Attorney General Mark Herring of reviving it.
During its short period in force, the law gave rise to a popular saying in the Old Dominion: “Buy one gun a month – it’s the law!”
Such things do not concern us in Britain, where the only way to possess a handgun unless one is a police officer, member of the state security services or a military officer is illegally (and only in special circumstances are people in those categories allowed to keep a hand gun at home). This has meant that the majority of handguns are now owned by criminals. Making gun ownership illegal did not stop criminals owning guns, criminals are expected to break the law - its in their job description.
A similar attitude may be appropriate in light of an estimate that due to vague statutes and the proliferation of both national and supra - national regulations which have the force of law, we wake up in the morning, go to work, come home, eat dinner, and go to sleep unaware we may have committed several federal crimes in the course of the day. The number varies but the average number of crimes per citizen of a developed nation seems to be about three.
The more important point is that every one of us is probably guilty of something. “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime,” retired Louisiana State University law professor John Baker told the Wall Street Journal in July 2011. That is not an exaggeration. It is probably even higher in Britain and Europe, where the European Union's abandonment of one of the most ancient principles of government makes unwitting criminality even easier.
Since the days of King Alfred the Great of Wessex (reigned 871 - 899) the common law has held that you can do anything that is not specifically forbidden by law. Over the next few centuries most of Europe, as it moved from tribal territories to more formal nation status, adopted much of the Anglo - Saxon common law. And why not, it was straightforward: You can't murder people, you can't steal other people's stuff, you can't set fire to your rival's home, shop or outhouse, you can't use dodgy weights and measures to sell a 100 pound bag of flour that only contains 90 pounds of flour or a quart jug of beer that only contains one and seven eighth pints. Everybody knows where they stand.
If a local law says "only citizens of Wobbleton can catch fish in the River Wobble," and you do not live in Wobbleton, you know the risk if you go fishing in the River Wobble.
Under the European Union approach to law, and they hold this principle in common with Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Soviet Russia and Communist China, along with most other nasty, oppressive regimes, "If something is not specifically permitted by law it is illegal to do it."
"Hey you! What do you think you're doing?"
"I saw the pond was frozen so I'm just walking on the ice for fun."
"There's nothing in the statutes that says you can walk on the ice, so you're breaking the law. You're under arrest."
"But I'm only walking on the ice, it's not harming anyone."
"But the law does not permit walking on the ice."
"Well maybe the pond wasn't frozen when they made the law."
"Now you're under arrest for walking on the pond and talking back to a police officer."
At this point the cop draws his gun and shoots you because there is nothing in the law that says public officials have to be intelligent and reasonable. I actually have personal experience of this, while walking through the business district of Luxembourg City with two colleagues 30 years ago, we decided not to wait for a green light before crossing a street. It was after 10 p.m. and the street was deserted as is usually the case in business districts late at night. Unfortunately a cop saw us and accused us of jay - walking.
"Oh come on," we said, "the street is deserted, there was no need to wait for the light."
At that point the cop took our names and addresses and warned us we would be reported. Then he ordered us to go back to the other side of the street and use the crossing correctly. When we protested he drew his gun and we decided that was a conclusive argument.
Such encounters between intelligent individuals and a petit fonctionnaire with a gun are a nightmare familiar to many people in certain parts of the world, but the European Union likes to present itself as a champion of civilised, enlightened values. However, when bureaucratic rules and regulations are formalised in law, the result is inevitable.
What all this means is:
- If they want you, they can get you.
- That in turn means that who gets charged, prosecuted, and jailed is a matter of the relevant officials’ discretion.
- And that in turn means that discretion can and will be politicized.
The true court of law, where justice is administered in a politically neutral manner is few and far between in human history. The norm is politicized justice where holders of power – in a representative democracy system, the winners of the last election – use the justice system as part of their effort to hold on to power.
One of the greatest affronts to the liberties of we who live in societies based on the European culture that grew out of the Graeco - Roman civilisation and the Gothic - Celtic culture has been the hijacking of our principle of free speech by those authoritarian groups who call themselves 'the left.' In the past few decades we have seen a coordinated campaign of banning certain speakers and suppressing certain ideas by an illiberal ideology known as politically correct thinking. More recently flitering of internet content, shadow banning of certain writers and podcasetrs and other foul means of suppressing diversity of opinion has succeeded in putting many dissenting voices into a digital concentration camps. Superficially this seems to be the initiative of megalomaniacal executives on tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and to a lesser extent others, but all of these corporations, especially Google, are known to have very cosy relationships with governments and national security agencies.
Using Russian meddling as a pretext, companies that do billions of dollars of business with the federal government are only too happy to police the web of “suspected Russian-linked accounts” on behalf of government while simultaneously taking money from Russian clients for political advertising campaigns. And since, as Hillary Clinton says, Putin is the leader of the worldwide “authoritarian, white-supremacist, and xenophobic movement” who is “emboldening right-wing nationalists, separatists, racists, and even neo-Nazis,” anything and anybody that fails Mark Zuckerberg’s sniff test is now fair game.
Of more concern than the deplatforming of dissenters and demonization of dissent is the “output” censorship: limiting what web users can see and hear that differs from the official government / mainstream media narrative of approved news and opinion. Unsurprisingly, that line is unfailingly for war and intervention, in fact it was laughable that during the Obama presidency, American liberals and European socialists, traditional opponents of war and military intervention, became very enthusiastic for Obama's wars "to liberate people from tyrants" (tyrants that the people were happy to live under, knowing the Islamic funny mentalists that replaced the secular dictators would be far worse.)
The switch by these self identified, self righteous 'liberals' has largely been influenced by social media and left dominated mainstream media which between them have created a monoculture in news reporting where objective reporting is routinely dismissed as 'fake News' (There is no evidence of Russian meddling in western elections, or of Syria's Assad regime using chemical weapons, yet from what has been published in the digisphere and mainstream media one would think both these examples of fake news are uncontestable facts.)
In George Orwell's dystopian novel 1984, written in 1948 and based on the distasteful, authoritarian ideology he had been shocked to encounter among the elitist socialists of the Fabian Socity in the 1930s, he envisages a future in which the Big Brother regime maintains order by strictly controlling information, ensuring the public only see news stories that make the regime look good, maintaining total surveillance of everybody through two way surveillance devices dubbed telescreens installed in every home and creating a new category of crime, thought crime, which goes further than banning free speech by punishing people not only for criticising the regime, but for not supporting it enthusiastically enough, or for departing from the official line and thinking for themselves.
Any of that sound familiar.
Whether opposition to the gathering darkness can be effective is uncertain. But what is not uncertain is our duty to oppose it, even at the risk of committing three felonies a day. To paraphrase Karl Marx, “Thought criminals of the world unite, they have taken everything but our brains.”
Be sure to commit your three Thought Crimes per day.