Sunday, 22 January 2012
Statute vs. Law
few comments which I felt merited a whole posting in response
Well Antje, the problem is that the basis of English Common Law is substantially different to the Civil Law which exists in Europe. I have addressed this issue before here but basically
In Common Law (which applies to England and Wales and many former British Colonies including the US) there are only two laws: 1) Do what you say you are going to do and 2) And it harm none do as you will. Everything else is just an interpretation of those laws which has been passed down for thousands of years and seriously codified for more than the last thousand. The Common Law is built on the wisdom of generations, statutes are the passing whimsy of egotistical meddlers seeking to garner votes at future elections.
So for example assault, which is a cause of action or something which may give rise to a proceeding in a Court, under common law encompasses everything from merely placing someone in fear of their personal safety to the more severe forms of assault.
All legislation passed by governments is NOT law, but legal statute and only applies to bodies corporate or otherwise and not to men and women, (in my case it applies to the legal fiction MR DARIUS JAMES PEARCE if I choose to accept the offer, but not to the man commonly known as Darius of the Pearce family).
Now that means many things which are 'illegal under statute' are not in fact unlawful - there is a difference in the meaning of the terms unlawful and illegal, they refer to quite distinct things.
The Common Law protects personal freedom and liberty, whilst statutes seek to restrict personal freedom by preventing certain behaviour which harm no one this includes things like driving without a seatbelt or indeed a license, the personal use of narcotics etc. which whilst potentially harmful to yourself, harm no one else.
Now if you drive under the influence of alcohol and injure someone then you have broken the law, but if no harm occurs then you have merely transgressed a statute which is illegal but clearly you have chosen not to accept that contract offered to you by the government.
Under Common Law you are responsible for your own actions and must endure the consequences and are expected to be capable of making informed choices. These days with information so much more readily available there is even less need for statute.
As a Libertarian I believe that no one has the right to tell me what I can and cannot do, so long as I respect everyone else's right to life, liberty and happiness and stick to my word.
So all statute is forcing me to behave in a manner contrary to the Common Law with the threat of violence, incarceration and/or financial hardship... the statutory system places me in fear of my own safety, liberty and happiness and so is an assault upon my person. I am compelled by fear alone to submit to it, if I do not choose of my own volition and after due consideration of the arguments to follow it.
Trust me if they legalised heroin tomorrow I would not be using it and I doubt many people would. I, nor anyone, has the right under Common Law to tell another person that they cannot use heroin, I can only tell them that they are foolhardy if they do. These people are not criminal they are sick and they should be treated that way. Statute would imprison them.
So why do people go along with statute? I suspect it is largely due to fear. In Jersey we have a voting electorate which is predominantly over 65, who have placed their trust in the government for the whole of their lives. Now that we are seeing governments fail to live up to their promises. Those of us with many years until we receive our handouts just for being old, who know that the governments cannot possibly honour their promises and so would prefer not to take part in the ponzi social security scheme because we know we are the fools at the bottom of the pyramid who are just going to lose our shirts. The old on the other hand have no option but the blind faith that they have entrusted the government with to this day. Today's pensioners probably will get handouts for the rest of their lives, tomorrow's pensioners will not but they will pay for today's.
So what does the government do for us? Well very little really... if you tally up how much is paid to it and what you get in return then most people lose out. What if there were no welfare state? Well there was not one until 1945 and what we see today is an abomination compared to the original vision. People received charity, doctors gave free care to those who could not pay, families were more strongly bound because they only had each other to depend on. Companies such as Rowntree took far better care of their employees than is the case now. Government simply abrogates personal responsibility.
The purpose of the government is to increase the size and scope of government solely. The USSR collapsed under the weight of its own bureaucracy and now we see both the US and the EU following suit. The strength and future of a nation lies in the individuals that comprise it, not in its government. I do believe that this year is the end of the world, not in a physical destructive sense, but that this year we will see welfare states exposed for the hypocrisy and failure that they are.
Luckily we in Jersey have a fall back position, the system of Common Law; Gold, silver and copper (lawful tender) instead of money (legal tender); and the charitable nature of the men and women of the island. We do not need the government at all.
That's enough for now.... more on what the US election can teach Jersey another day (sorry Mike!)