Sunday, May 3, 2009

Law and Outlawry

Justification of Law (Mala in se)

Government law is "justified", really defended in the psychological sense, by claiming to be needed to enforce prohibitions of universally recognized wrongs (mala in se), such as robbery and murder.

Perversion of Law (Mala prohibita)

Government perverts the law (mala in se) by making laws (mala prohibita) which mainly favor specific groups - mainly to increase its own power over its subjects/citizens/serfs.

Obedience to Law as Prudential Rule

Breaking the law, or even appearing to do so, increases the risks to your values (especially life and freedom) from government agents and their hordes of unpaid informers that infest the country. Given the errors and arbitrary enforcement (and willing dishonety), everyone who is not themselves members of the government is at some risk of attack by government agents.

Living Outside the Law

Given the various risks and dangers, on both sides of the divide, your values may be more effectively served by living outside the law. I don't think so for various reasons, but it is arguable enough that I decided to include a section discussing it.

Historically, the outlaw was not necessarily a criminal - but one who for whatever reason lived outside of the limits and protections of the law. It was often used as a punishment, sort of an extension of shunning and ostracism, sometimes to an explicit withdrawl of the law's protection - where anyone who wanted to, and could manage it, could kill the outlaw. But it was sometimes used by those who simply wanted to be left alone, given human nature any outlaws usually became the scapegoats for anything that went wrong in the area.

The growth of government power and the use of mala prohibita is likely closely related to the decline of voluntary outlawry.

The only benefit today in living outside the law is reduction in tax burden. Most other possible benefits I have heard of you can actually get legally with a little thought and care. And even the benefit of tax avoidance is questionable since it is harder to earn income outside the law, than it is without the need to evade detection. If discovered, or even suspected, it would be dangerous for the outlaw/evader and with modern computer databases and communications it would be likely to be noticed, and ever more likely to be noticed in the future.

Trying to live outside the law is not generally worth it, but may be worth keeping in mind. The only way it would be cost-effective would be if you were interested in
an extremely low, subsistence-level life where you would need almost no income. In that case you could do handyman work and day labor for cash. The biggest problem with that is getting older. Long before retirement age, if you are doing physical labor, you are going to start aching, eventually more or less continuously. I
don't recommend it.

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