THE PATH TO UNDERSTANDING
By J.W. Bryan
August 8, 2015
The Perversion of the Law
In Part 10 of this series I presented Bastiats’ thesis on the authority, origin and purpose of the law, in which he stated:
“The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.”
He then goes into a dissertation about how this would bring forth "A Just and Enduring Government" which would result in order prevailing among the people, in their thinking as well as in their activities. The way he saw it, “Such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, non-oppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable—whatever its political form might be.”
He then proceeds into “The Complete Perversion of the Law.”
Unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions, and when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective. It has been applied to annihilating the justice it was supposed to have maintained; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.”
What Bastiat is describing here is an on-going, over a period of time, situation within which citizens that have received rights along with the authority from God to protect those rights, and have delegated this authority to their chosen representatives, to form a government of laws for the express purpose of securing these rights to their life, their liberty, and their possessions, i.e., property—any property; “to maintain the right of each” and bring about a society of justice for all.
Unfortunately however, as Mr. Bastiat points out, and as we have seen, law, upon having been instituted, as a rule does not confine itself to its’ proper functions, or objectives; but sets into motion a process of so-called “legal Plunder” which, in effect, gives the law the authority, or power to break the law and put in its place something which is perceived, or accepted as law that isn’t—but is simply an instituted instrument of force.
Now, in reference to law having authority, as noted in the preceding paragraph – since all authority resides in God, and He does not give authority to break the law, then it necessarily follows, does it not, that “law” can only break the law through force, or becoming a law unto itself? So, what we have when this occurs is a paradox—something which is true, but is not true.
So, let’s see if we can break this down and see what we have, or how it plays out. From what has been noted previously, we have a lawful right, and authority – from God - to defend – with force – our person, our liberty and our property, but we cannot afford to be caught up in this fulltime; therefore we delegate our authority to others to form a collective force to do this for us constantly and call it law; the first mission of which is to protect the lives, liberty, and property of those who delegated the authority for them to form this collective force which is now called law.
However, after being instituted the law does not confine itself to its lawful objectives, or purposes. On the contrary, it now acts in direct opposition to its purpose; instead of protecting the lawful rights of those who gave it the authority that it now has—it has given license to those who wish to destroy the individual rights of others.
Remember what happened to those people who had lived in Chavez Ravine out in Los Angeles for years when vested interest desired to build a baseball stadium there?
Those people didn’t want to lose their homes but the law said they had to go, because the law of Eminent Domain held that community rights trumped individual rights. The authority for it was supposedly the Fifth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, which states, “That government must compensate citizens when it takes private property for public use,” But a major league baseball park is not property of the public; it is a business which the public has access to. In addition, God didn’t give authority and rights to communities, but to individuals.
So, this was a case of blatant perversion of the law for the purpose of gaining access to what Bastiat called “legal plunder.” One can imagine what took place here. To begin with, the Brooklyn Dodgers wanted to move to the Los Angeles area; so the city officials, along with real estate people, construction companies, and others who were involved in this venture, got together and decided to move the people out of Chavez Ravine. But in order to accomplish this, it was necessary, for the general good of the community—you understand--to violate or simply to ignore the rights of the people that lived there. What this amounted to was official plunder and a violation of the God-given rights of the people who lived in Chavez Ravine. In short, plunder was converted into a right in order to protect plunder, and at the same time, lawful defense was converted into a crime in order to make law breakers of the people if they resisted with force.
On another occasion, there was a big real estate development boom in South Carolina which caused land prices to escalate to the point where the people in the adjacent areas, mostly poor people and black, could no longer afford to continue living in their homes in which they had done so for many years, and for some many generations because the taxes were now so high, so since they couldn’t pay the taxes – they had to sellout and leave.
I am well aware, that most would say this was all for the good of the community in general—that it was progress—that it made things better for many people. And I’m sure it made things better for those in real estate, in construction, the County as a result of more taxes, as well as many others who made good wages during this boom. However, for those that were forced out of their homes – I wonder how it made them feel.
As we review how those who have access to the law, i.e., those that are in position to manipulate it, have used it down through the years, and continue to do so now, for their own greed and sinister purposes, we begin to get a glimpse of what Bastiat means by the terms and phrases, “Legal Plunder and The Perversion of The Law.” We can also begin to see how it, (Legal Plunder and Perversion of the Law) has become a system – a regular pattern of how things have been, and are still being run.
In summary, let us say that at the beginning, God endows individuals with unalienable rights along with authority to protect them. Then the individuals delegate authority to their chosen representatives to form a collective unit to protect those rights, life, liberty and property, constantly. But the collective unit is to do only what the individuals have a lawful right to do, because this is the only authority which has been given to them.
Now, if the collective unit steps outside these bounds, then it is composed of outlaws, and therefore have no authority, but only force. So what you have is an illegitimate, i.e., bastard entity, with no authority and therefore must govern with force only.
There isn’t any other way to describe it when it is dissected and exposed for what it is.
However, all that having been said, we don’t have the right, or authority to take it upon ourselves as individuals to engage in forceful opposition to what we consider the unlawfulness of those in power. God would not countenance any such action.
As I see it, the only thing we can do now is pray for Gods’ instruction, and also study to get ourselves informed concerning the tactics of the enemy. Then we need to join with other people of like mind to write letters and make phone calls to our elected representatives about what we see that is wrong, and explain to them where authority comes from and how they are operating outside of it.
Do not believe that writing or calling your representatives is a waste of time. If enough of us pick up the pen as the sword, we can change the nation, but it must be all of us. Gird your loins, put on your battle clothes, and having done all, TO STAND!
© 2014 J.W. Bryan – All Rights Reserved
J.W. Bryan was born in1927 and spent five years in the Marines, from 1945 - 1951. He worked at International Paper Company for 31 years as paper machine worker, and later in quality control. He is a Lifetime member of the John Birch Society, having joined in 1961. After retirement from International Paper, he and his wife Polly worked several years as house parents in children's homes, both in Virginia and Mississippi, 1991 - 2008. They now reside in the country out of West Monroe, La. where he produces peaches, watermelons and an assortment of vegetables. He has spent his life fighting to keep our Constitutional Republic.