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Monday, March 19, 2012

The Law Is Dead

Thus from the four preceding articles, the definition of law may be gathered; and it is nothing else than an ordinance of reason for the common good, made by him who has care of the community, and promulgated.

~ St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, First of the Second Part, Q. 90, Art. 4

The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense; it is the substitution of collective for individual forces, for the purpose of acting in the sphere in which they have a right to act, of doing what they have a right to do, to secure persons, liberties, and properties, and to maintain each in its right, so as to cause justice to reign over all.

~ Bastiat, The Law

As a member of that noble profession that concerns itself with the above subject matter, I take care to proclaim that the great Law is dead (or, at best, feeling quite unwell in 21st-century America). There is little hope for a resurrection of Law until the most important question is answered – whodunit?

Like any good suspense novel there are a retinue of likely suspects. Was it the pompous and hypocritical Politician, who rather than acting as guardian of the Law, turned his sacred trust into a tool for personal benefit and needed to off the Law before she squealed? Was it the shadowy Corporate Special Interest in the dead of night who needed the Law out of the way to effect his dastardly plan? Or was it the Professor, envious that Law always took center stage over him and his work? Perhaps it was the unassuming John Q. Public, who seemingly had no motive. Was Public put up to it by the seductive Media – who had an agenda of her own? Or was it – the unkindest cut of all – Lawyer, the Law’s own lover, the most natural suspect?

I will spoil the plot by telling you the ending of this mystery – stolen directly from Murder on the Orient Express – that there are two possible explanations. First, as the sleuth Poirot explains, we can blame the murder on a random stranger – a tragic twist of fate. Alternatively, we can posit that all of the suspects took their turn plunging the blade into her bosom. Poirot suggested adoption of the former in his mystery. I suggest the latter in ours.

The Law died because she had to in order to make room for what Bastiat called "legal plunder" which "destroys for its own profit, and in different degrees amongst the rest of the community, personal independence by slavery, liberty by oppression, and property by plunder." The story is too in-depth to be told in a single article, so I hope to provide fuller detail in the future. But for now, I briefly want to provide an outline of the roles and motives of the players.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

the only law is the golden rule.
He with the gold rules!