Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Dumb Criminals of the State

"Joe" is past 80 (the name has been changed to protect the guilty). He lived a life of crime until he served a few years for fraud when in his 40s, then decided to go straight. Mostly, anyway.

He told me nearly all criminals are stupid, that even the ones who aren�t do stupid things while committing crimes, and that heists almost never go as planned.

One story he told me stays in my mind. When he was in his early 20�s, during the Depression, some of what he calls his "acquaintances" talked him into using his flat-bed truck to steal a floor-safe. They were lowering this safe out of a window at night when the ropes broke. The safe crashed through the wooden slats on the truck�s bed, bent the driveshaft and became wedged there.

Everyone disappeared. Joe flew to a cabstand two blocks away and took a taxi home. He had barely jumped into bed when the police were beating on his door.

"Where�s your truck, Joe?" they asked him.

"Why, in my drive – " said Joe, pointing to where his truck was supposed to be parked. Then, in a shocked tone, he exclaimed, "Somebody stole my truck!" He got away with it that time.

I�ve heard the State described as a "vast disorganized criminal enterprise." That�s a good description. Since it is criminal, wouldn�t criminals be attracted to it? Even if they�re commonly called "politicians," aren�t they in reality mostly criminals? They don�t get elected because they understand history and economics. They get elected because they�re lying and manipulative, which are two of the main characteristics of thieves and con men.

Even if they are halfway decent people, once they get into office the power corrupts them. I suspect they have to be weaker than the average person to go into politics in the first place, so they are more easily corrupted. More "fallen" than normal people, if you want to use religious terms.

If you consider the State the Mafia, then ask yourself, "Who joins?" Criminals. And if they aren�t criminals in the first place, won�t they become criminals quite soon? If anything�s the road to perdition for most people, it�s getting involved with the State.

Then we have to deal with all the heists going wrong. If the purpose of true law is the protection of what John Locke termed "life, liberty and property," then when the government goes beyond that, it turns into the criminal State. It heists our money – and sometimes tries to heist us – to perform criminal activities.

I am a believer in Natural Law. For the most part I don�t find it that hard. If it works, it�s law. If it doesn�t work, it�s not law. If I put water in my gas tank, my car�s not going to run. And if I jump out of an airplane without a parachute, somebody else will be driving my Cavalier.

The "war on drugs" doesn�t work. If anything, it increases crime. Therefore, "laws" against drugs are not true law; they�re just words in books. They same goes for the "war on poverty" and the current "war on terrorism." The former has 35 years of not working, and the latter�s going to have its coming decades of the same.

Proper government doesn�t have that many functions. The shortest description of true law I�ve read is, "Harm no one, and do as you please." Morality is best handled by society, and since there is an inverse relationship between the size of "government" and civilization, the bigger the "government," the smaller and weaker is civilization. Unfortunately, what happens is there are so many "laws" – mere words in books – that the average citizen becomes a "criminal." Whenever they deal with the "government" they have to lie to protect themselves.

Richard Maybury, author of such books as Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? and Whatever Happened to Justice? has distilled protection of "life, liberty and property" into two laws: "Do all that you have agreed to do" and "Encroach on no one�s person or property." They�re essentially the same as "Do not murder" and "Do not steal."

If everyone on Earth would follow those two laws, 90% of the problems in the world would disappear. And "everyone" includes those in the "government," who seem to think they are not bound by those laws.

Sometimes Natural Law is the same as the "law" written down in books. For the most part, it�s not. This means those who don�t follow Natural Law become criminals. This includes lawyers, judges, police and the military. Those who are in the front-lines of upholding the law are no longer doing so.

Joe is right. Criminals are stupid; those that aren�t do stupid things when involved in criminal activities, and the heists never go as planned. That is the shortest explanation I�ve ever heard of the true nature of the State.

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