Monday, July 04, 2016

America's Annual Celebration of Lawlessness

Where we live, private fireworks are illegal. Walking around the neighborhood for an hour or so after dark, I must have seen several hundred rockets go up as well as a lot of ground level displays. Lots of people out watching.

It's enough to warm an anarchist's heart.

10 Comments:

At 7:50 AM, July 05, 2016, Blogger FraserOrr said...

And why not David. It is after all a celebration of the ultimate act of lawlessness: the throwing off a King, monarch by divine right, to start your own country... how gauche... Next the plebeians will be demanding the right to say whatever they want without fear of criminal prosecution...

 
At 9:09 AM, July 05, 2016, Blogger Cathy Raymond said...

I assume, FraserOrr, that you are speaking ironically.

The throwing off of a King is not necessarily an act of lawlessness, let alone the "ultimate" act of same. If a people throws off a King to doing so to start their own country, to govern themselves, it's a brave and proper act, and that is what America did by means of its Revolution.

 
At 9:17 PM, July 05, 2016, Blogger transcendentape said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 9:38 PM, July 05, 2016, Blogger transcendentape said...

For clarity, and because I cannot seem to comprehend how to edit my post, I have deleted my previous response.

Removing one ruling elite in order to imbue authority in another is not necessarily an act of lawlessness. Instead, it is an act that recognizes both the failures of the previous rulers and the legitimacy that one must be ruled. An anarchist might instead ask, "Why is a vote, constrained as it may be by a Constitution and the rule of law, distinctly different than a hereditary rule that must submit to the acceptance of the populace or face replacement in the form of a coup or popular revolt?" English history is full of many more revolutions than just the American one.

It seems to me as a peon that the only functional difference between the two systems is in how the ruling class is appointed. If one rejects the necessity of a ruling class, than Independence Day is somewhat hollow.

 
At 3:36 PM, July 06, 2016, Blogger Jonathan said...

I haven't tried to check, but I suspect that rebelling against and overthrowing the king has always been illegal in every monarchy everywhere.

If you could manage to get rid of a king without breaking any laws, it would be misleading to refer to the act as a rebellion. "Today Ruritania peacefully changed its form of government."

 
At 7:10 AM, July 07, 2016, Blogger Jonathan said...

Going back to the original post, I think every society needs law, and "The machinery of freedom" sketches how an anarchy could have law and law enforcement. So I don't think that people breaking the law should particularly delight an anarchist, unless of course it's a law that he personally disagrees with. :)

If an anarchy has laws (and I doubt that it could survive long without), presumably it too could have a law against private fireworks. Though it may be that no-one would think such a law worth the cost of enforcing it.

 
At 10:20 AM, July 07, 2016, Blogger IlĂ­on said...

It was Parliament against whom we rebelled -- we had our *own* legislatures, had had for 150 years or more, and refused the illegal encroachments of the legislature of England.

 
At 10:40 PM, July 07, 2016, Blogger transcendentape said...

@Jonathan-
You have put words into my mouth. Never did I say "rebelling against and overthrowing the king", instead, I said, "Removing one ruling elite in order to imbue authority in another is not necessarily an act of lawlessness." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_VIII

As an anarchist, I remain convinced that the actions of July 4th, if they were beneficial, did little to secure my freedom. i also note that you did not answer my question. "Why is a vote, constrained as it may be by a Constitution and the rule of law, distinctly different than a hereditary rule that must submit to the acceptance of the populace or face replacement in the form of a coup or popular revolt?"

 
At 11:01 PM, July 07, 2016, Blogger transcendentape said...

@Jonathan- Again, I am confused by your post. Anarchy is not equivalent to lawlessness. What did you mean when you said, "So I don't think that people breaking the law should particularly delight an anarchist, unless of course it's a law that he personally disagrees with." It seems to me that if an individual is free to choose which laws to follow and which laws she can ignore because she disagrees with them, then the rule of law has been discarded. Yet you seem to promote lawfulness. Do you not understand that anarchists claim that the rule of law is not dependent upon the existence of the state? Do you not understand that the entire point of anarchism is to separate the benefits of the rule of law from the tyranny of the state?

 
At 1:20 AM, July 08, 2016, Blogger Jonathan said...

Hello transcendentape. My first comment above was in reply to Cathy Raymond (evidently I should have made that clear; my mistake), and my second was in reply to David Friedman's original post (which I did try to make clear). Neither of them was intended as a reply to your comment.

"Do you not understand that anarchists claim that the rule of law is not dependent upon the existence of the state? Do you not understand that the entire point of anarchism is to separate the benefits of the rule of law from the tyranny of the state?" Yes, I do; hence my second comment above.

I actually agree with most of your original comment, which is why I didn't feel a need to reply to it. It has been remarked that democracy is the dictatorship of the majority; like you, ideally I'd prefer no dictatorship. If I have to choose between a dictatorship of the minority and a dictatorship of the majority, on the whole the latter seems preferable in practice, but there's not a big difference in principle between the two.

 

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