(originally launched into cyberspace on 09/11/2007)
"There have to be rules!"
Okay, here they are:
Rule #1: People with red hair get to take whatever they want from
anyone who doesn't have red hair.
Rule #2: No one is allowed to listen to music which doesn't have at
least three instruments and more than four chords in it.
Rule #3: People who wear falling-down pants will be shot on sight.
Rule #4: No one is allowed to say anything bad about me.
There, now we have rules, so we can all feel safe now and live in
What's the matter, you don't like my rules? Oh, so you didn't just
mean you wanted any old rules; you mean you want CERTAIN rules.
Maybe something along the lines of "Don't go around robbing or
murdering people." (I kind of like that one myself.)
But wait a second. Who are YOU to say that my rules aren't good
enough? I'm the (self-appointed) rule-maker around here; who are
YOU to decide that my rules are stupid? You think YOU can decide
for yourself which rules you have to follow?! What are you, some
sort of ANARCHIST?!?!
Of course, you (and all people on earth) DO have not only the
right, but the moral obligation to decide which "rules" you should
and shouldn't obey. (Or, as the radical extremist Thomas Jefferson
put it, "If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it,
he is OBLIGATED to do so.") We don't look kindly on the people who
just followed the rules of people like Stalin, Mao and Hitler, do
we? No, we insist that as human beings, it was their obligation to
DISOBEY the rules, when the rules went contrary to humanity and
"The only obligation which I have a right to assume, is to do at
any time what I think right." [Henry David Thoreau]
But how does that fit the idea that "There have to be rules!"? The
statement obviously implies a centralized rule-maker, to which we
all must be subservient, in order to avoid the supposed chaos and
mayhem which would otherwise ensue. But if each of us has not only
the right, but the DUTY, to judge right and wrong for himself, and
to do what we believe to be right, what's the point of having
someone else making up "rules"?
And WHO should make these "rules"? If we're so scared that, without
a centralized rule-maker, our neighbors would be assaulting,
robbing, and murdering us, why do we think that those same
neighbors--actually, the WORST among them--should be put into
positions of power where they can make up "rules," and impose them
on the rest of us by force? If people are evil, why on earth would
you expect them to make good "rules"? And since it's pretty darn
obvious that politicians are MORE malicious, devious, corrupt, and
evil than the general public, how silly is it to insist that
society depends upon THEM making up and imposing rules on the rest
of us? "There will be chaos unless the biggest crook in town tells
us all what to do!" Yeah, that makes loads of sense.
Frankly, it's a self-contradictory, insane "solution" that EVERY
statist--everyone who believes in "government," however limited--
MUST believe in: that as mere mortal individuals, human beings will
be selfish, violent and vicious, but when put into positions of
great power, will suddenly be benign, wise, and just.
"If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not
safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of
these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their
appointed agents also belong to the human race?" [Frederic Bastiat]
"If man is not fit to govern himself, how can he be fit to govern
someone else?" [James Madison]
What makes such a notion even more looney is how obviously and
constantly history shows the exact opposite: people who are
imagined to have the right to rule (i.e., those in "government")
commit assault, robbery, and murder on a scale far beyond what
"private" crooks and thugs every have, or ever could. (And,
incidentally, they usually commit their atrocities "by the rules"--
rules which they made up.)
"But we neeeeeeeeeeeed rules!" People who say that desperately want
an absolutely impossible magic trick: for an imperfect, often
careless, sometimes malicious human race to create a perfect,
compassionate, benign system of controlling everyone. They want
something ABOVE all of us imperfect humans, to keep us in line. But
what is that "something" made up of? Aliens? A giant pink
armadillo? The tooth fairy? No, it's made up of a bunch of
imperfect humans--in fact, about the LEAST perfect humans around.
The truth, though it should be painfully obvious to anyone who
opens his mind and thinks about it for two seconds, scares the heck
out of most people: on this planet, imperfect people is all we
have. And since you're a person, NOTHING (on this planet, at least)
is above you--no "authority," no "rule," no Constitution, no
legislation, NOTHING. You don't know everything, and your judgment
won't ever be perfect, but it's ALL YOU HAVE to distinguish right
from wrong. It is both insane and horribly destructive to try to
surrender your own, personal judgment, in favor of obedience to
"But someone has to be in charge!"
Yes, and it's you. You're in charge. It's up to YOU to decide what
is right, and to decide what to do about it. No one is above you.
Attempting to surrender your own moral judgment over to some
"authority" is not only the ultimate act of cowardice, it is a sign
of insanity--it is an attempt to rid yourself of that which makes
you human: your free will. It is an attempt to shirk your
responsibility to think, to judge, and to act; it is an attempt to
reduce yourself to an unthinking slave, a mere tool of someone else
(usually someone really nasty).
Sadly, people by the billions do it--choosing obedience over
thought--and they do it with pride. And then they wonder why the
outcome is so horrible. Yes, there are "rules" humans should live
by, and most of the time they are in direct conflict with the
"rules" which come from politicians and other pretended
"authorities." If you shirk your personal duty to discover and
judge for YOURSELF what the true, legitimate "rules" are, then you
are a coward of the highest order, and a traitor to humanity.
Have a nice day.