Untrue Things People Believe
This is the fifth article addressing those things most people believe that are not true introduced in the article, "Most Of What You Believe Is Not True." To see all the articles, or any other one, please see the Index.
The word law is a bit ambiguous because it is used to identify two very different things. It is sometimes used to mean principles, especially the principles of science. It is not this use of the word law that is of interest here.
All other laws are the inventions of human beings. Most man-made laws are government laws, but there are others coming from religion or other ideologies.
The primary difference between genuine laws, those principles determined by reality, and what I will refer to as ersatz laws, those made up by men (or believed by men with no rational basis, such as religious laws) is that genuine laws require no enforcement because reality itself enforces them, but ersatz laws require some human agency to enforce them. There is one other obvious difference: it is impossible to violate a genuine law and get away with it but ersatz laws are violated all time with little or no consequence.
Studying The Counterfeit
In my early years of university study I seriously contemplated pursuing a career in law. I was charmed by the seriousness of the business and was especially interested in criminal law. Have you read Anatomy of a Murder? It was a fresh novel at the time and very intriguing.
While that book captured my imagination, it also raised a question in my mind about the nature of law itself. The study of law was not like the study of any of the sciences. The principles of chemistry, physics, medicine, geometry, or the calculus, for example, depends entirely on reality for their truth or validity, and will be the same no matter what any individual or individuals say or think about them. Whenever the truth is established in any field of reality, those truths never change.
In law, there are no facts, no reality one can go back to, to verify what any law says or presumes, because the entirety of law consists of the thoughts, musing, beliefs, imaginations, and the inventions of other men. There is no reality in law except the fact that there are laws; otherwise the whole field is a huge fiction created by pompous self-styled authorities, and there are miles and miles of it, and if one travels the whole route, they have learned nothing about reality. At the point I realized this, I lost all interest in law.
All man-made laws are ersatz laws. When men choose to believe something about reality ought to be different than it is, they believe they can manipulate reality by creating their own laws, but unlike the laws of reality, like scientific laws and the laws of reason, reality refuses to enforce man-made laws and men must find ways to enforce them. That way is government.
The logical principle that one cannot spend money and save it too requires no one to enforce it. It is a law of reality. The man-made law that says one must not steal is violated all the time because reality refuses to enforce it, but the real principle that one cannot steal without damaging themselves psychologically is always enforced and cannot be evaded.
Government and man-made laws are both attempts to make reality something other than what it is, which ultimately means, an attempt to evade the true nature of reality. With the exception of a few superfluous laws, all other man-made laws are in contradiction of the true principles of reality.
By superfluous laws I mean man-made laws that duplicate genuine laws that require no human action to enforce or those laws that proscribe actions no moral human being would ever think of doing, with or without such laws.
An example of such laws is any law against suicide. Reality imposes the death penalty for those who violate this law, no human law is required, and such human laws are only invoked when someone attempts to commit the "crime" but fails. Laws against murder, theft, mayhem, rape, and destruction of property are laws prohibiting what moral individuals would never have any reason to even consider, must less do. They are an insult to decent individuals. Those they are meant to control, the immoral who do such things, cannot be controlled by any laws, which is obvious to anyone who thinks about it for five minutes—American jails are full of such people the laws obviously failed to control.
The Immorality of Man-made Laws
Governments, politicians, lawyers, and most academics have been complicit in promoting the view that there is no difference between man-made laws and moral principles and that disobeying a law is the equivalent of being immoral (or "sinning") and that obeying the law is morally virtuous, no matter what that law is or how evil it might be, like those laws that require good citizens to report the "suspicious" activities of their neighbors to the "proper government agency."
This subtle deception is a great evil which causes untold harm to both individuals and societies. The lie is invoked every time the expression, "he is a good law-abiding citizen," is used to describe someone, meaning they are moral or decent. Countless individuals, probably most, believe, so long as they obey the law, they are good, no matter how worthless they actually are, but that anyone who disobeys a law is a bad person, no matter how truly moral, honest, and productive he or she truly is.
Because one can use the law-abiding status as a cover for immoral behavior when doing something wrong that the law does not forbid, or doing something hateful that the law does not address at all, morality is encouraged and the immoral can comfort themselves knowing that they, at least, are law-abiding.
I've covered the general reasons why man-made laws are wrong and in conflict with genuine laws of reality. There are two more sections on law to follow this one, Penal Law, and Natural Law.
I addressed this whole subject of law in much greater detail in a series of four articles entitled "Social Chaos" about eleven year ago. It is not necessary to read those articles unless you are serious about understanding what is wrong with the concept of law, but I do encourage it. After reviewing those articles I have decided to republish them with some minor edits and updates, as the next four articles.