Law, at very foundation, irrelevant
(My Clovis News Journal column for November 16, 2012)
How would you behave if there were no laws against murder or theft? How about your friends and relatives? Would any of you go on a rampage? If so, what's really stopping you now?
I think that people who obey such laws would not do those things in the absence of the laws. I also believe that the laws don't do anything to stop those who are determined to commit those vile acts. Good people don't need laws to restrain them and bad people won't be restrained by laws.
On the other hand, the vast majority of laws have nothing to do with right or wrong; good or bad. Not anymore. People routinely ignore them- some saying they don't know the laws exist, or that the laws don't apply to their situation. And it harms no one.
Why would anyone believe that everything needs to be subject to written rules which need to be violently enforced?
Bees need no rules, written and enforced, to make them behave like bees. Dogs need no written rules to make them behave like dogs. The only "dog laws" that are externally-imposed are those that go against the nature of dogs in order to mold them to the whims of humans.
Why do so many people believe that humans need written and enforced rules to behave humanely? Probably because so many unnatural rules, which go against Natural Law and which no one would otherwise obey, have been dreamed up.
The only real rules are those which are universal because of Natural Law, or those which can be opted out of- without abandoning your friends, family, and property. The universal rules are understood from birth: don't attack others and don't steal or damage other people's property. Nothing else is a real law, worth killing over.
No one needs a rule written in a book declaring murder illegal to know it is wrong. It is instinctive, even if it is sometimes violated. The only rules that have to be written down are those that violate human sovereignty. Like those "laws" against politically-incorrect drugs, or "laws" against keeping your own property when The State wants to take it, or "laws" written to punish you for not wearing a seat belt.
Violating these "laws" doesn't make you a worse person; nor does obeying them make you better. What does make you a bad person is aggression and theft, even when those things are permitted by "law" in your circumstances. Law, at its very foundation, is irrelevant.