Autonomy and Volition

lementary problem:



1) Man carries long board with sharp spike
2) He turns to look at something, the board turns, another guy just minding his own business gets a spike in the head and dies.

Is this a case of:

  • Premeditated Murder?
    (He planned it. Put the spike in the board the day before.)
  • Second degree murder?
    (Found out other guy was 'doing' his wife... had the board and... )
  • Manslaughter?
    (Other guy 'hurled epithet' seconds before so he wacked him only to hurt... )
  • Negligent Homicide?
    (He was drunk and just playing around with the board... )
  • Or, just a sorry Accident? (Just that and no more... )

We see here immediately that:

The concept of law is totally delimited by intent.

In any event operated on by law, two things are established.
1) What happened? (the nature of the event itself) and; 2) What were the participants' intentions?

The fundamental purpose of law is to take organized, impartial and appropriate action against volitional acts perpetrated by individuals which are contrary to the moral norms accepted by virtually everybody, e.g. "you can't kill someone for no reason and take his stuff".

Laws are 'blanket' judgements meant to cover a multitude of similar cases. They are 'guidelines' ideally laid out by honorable men so that the conduct of law in a case, e.g. punishments, evidence gathering, court procedures, etc. doesn't get out of hand.

Law is a 'folder'. [General]
A case is a 'file'. [Specific]

Thus, the spirit of the law is of GREAT importance when law is actually applied to a case while the letter of the law is of NO importance because it is only a guideline and applies to no specific case.
(Actually, the letter of the law is of importance when dealing with trivial infractions, like traffic violations, which would cost more to contest than the fine. So the matter of strict justice is dropped in favor of quick adjudication, i.e. the defendant agrees to "eat" any injustice and chalk it up to "slop" -- a necessary ingredient in any endeavor.)

There is another brand of law practiced which is always evil. It is,

The practice of law as an End in Itself

It has a goal.

To deprive the individual of his Autonomy

The autonomy of the individual involves the right to make decisions for oneself and to succeed/fail, suffer/enjoy the consequences of those decisions, i.e. the right to lead a 'human' existence.

The hallmark of this type of law is indecipherable verbiage and pseudo-scientific jargon. Thus, only judges and lawyers can understand the finer points of law. This is the "blah, blah ... blah, blah, blah ... therefore we have to set him free" thing which we have come to know so well.
Another characteristic of law as an end in itself is the assigning of global consequences to a specific case so that it is prosecuted to "make an example" of the individual so that others will be intimidated, i.e. the punishment is out of proportion to the crime.
Finally, the practice of law as an end in itself means that judges, lawyers and politicians will inevitably bed down with the true criminal element.

Those vested with the responsibility of administering justice see,
in the criminal, a kindred spirit.

Both long for the destruction of civilization by means insidious or even obvious if the public acquiesces.

Proper Justice

  • The goal of law must be to preserve the autonomy of the individual.
    This entails simply being the ally of the individual against other individuals who destroy that autonomy through criminal acts. The state must not become the criminal.
  • No individual can be punished for a non-volitional offense.
    "Ignorance of the law is no excuse" applies only in cases where the accused is 'reasonably expected' to be aware of a moral or statutory norm.
  • No individual can be punished for NOT performing an action.
    This includes not filing an income tax return, not registering for military service, not having auto insurance, etc. These types are easy to spot. If you are guilty of doing the crime while in a hypothetical courtroom being tried for that crime, you are being prosecuted by a law of compulsion rather than a law of prohibition. It is always evil when an honest man, who has performed no action against another person, is imprisoned or fined. Other means than compulsion must be found to obtain desired legislative results.
  • No individual can be absolved of responsibility for an action nor can information be withheld from the judicial process because of legal technicalities.
    A murder is a crime regardless of whether the arresting officer beats up the suspect or not. Beating up a suspect is a separate crime having no judicial bearing on the former.

If the legislative/judicial nightmare is not arrested, it must necessarily result, at length, in a totalitarian state.

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