This entry is about another fucking bullshit “The Way I See It” Starbucks quote I’ve read on a cup. Maybe I should start a series or something.
The law, for all its failings, has a noble goal – to make the little bit of life that people can actually control more just. We can’t end disease or natural disasters, but we can devise rules for our dealings with one another that fairly weigh the rights and needs of everyone, and which, therefore, reflect our best vision of ourselves.
The Way I See It #271 – Scott Turow
Ah, this makes perfect sense. Such legal finagling as the Patriot Act, the War on Drugs, the legalization of military genocide, the legalization of the taxation used to finance that genocide, the laws disarming innocent citizens, the whitewashing of police abuse, detaining “enemy combatants” (i.e. anyone who has lived in the Middle East and looks brown) without charges or public knowledge, and not forgetting historical examples such as the segregation and slaughter of Jews, Jim Crow laws, or the countless “immigration” laws throughout history… well, don’t you know they all have a noble goal? They all aim to make our society more just, and to “fairly weigh the rights and needs of everyone.” Is that so, really?
Another thing: how do you “weigh the needs of everyone”? That’s a utilitarian principle, but utilitarianism is impossible even in theory, because you can’t compare the needs of two different individuals. And why do we need a ruling class to impose “the law” to “fairly (according to who?) weight” our needs? Why can’t we do that ourselves as adults? All that putting social organization in the hands of a ruling minority ensures is that the only needs that will be “fairly weighted” are those of the lawmakers and their plutocratic friends.
The argument here could be made that “good laws” reflect what Turow says, and “bad laws” do not. But there is no such thing as “good laws.” All laws are monopoloid constructions of the ruling class to pursue its own interests, including laws against murder and theft, which are all enforced by the State’s kangaroo courts and result in anti-social punishments enforced by those courts.
The concept of having a monopoloid law is equally fraudulent, for it tries to overrule the multiplicity of value systems that exist within a society with one single absolutist set of rules. “For all its failings”? The concept of “law” itself is a failure.
I do agree with one thing: we can “devise rules for our dealings with one another that fairly weigh the rights and needs of everyone, and which, therefore, reflect our best vision of ourselves.”
But “the law” is not it! Not by a long shot.