posted on Dec, 4 2009 @ 07:12 AM
"What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.
Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life,
and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension
of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person,
his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights
constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force
that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus,
since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same
reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.
Such a perversion of force would be, in both cases, contrary to our premise. Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will
dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of our brothers? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force
to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the
organized combination of the individual forces?
If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the
substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right
to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.
If a nation were founded on this basis, it seems to me that order would prevail among the people, in thought as well as in deed. It seems to me that
such a nation would have the most simple, easy to accept, economical, limited, nonoppressive, just, and enduring government imaginable — whatever
its political form might be.
Under such an administration, everyone would understand that he possessed all the privileges as well as all the responsibilities of his existence. No
one would have any argument with government, provided that his person was respected, his labor was free, and the fruits of his labor were protected
against all unjust attack. When successful, we would not have to thank the state for our success. And, conversely, when unsuccessful, we would no more
think of blaming the state for our misfortune than would the farmers blame the state because of hail or frost. The state would be felt only by the
invaluable blessings of safety provided by this concept of government.
It can be further stated that, thanks to the non-intervention of the state in private affairs, our wants and their satisfactions would develop
themselves in a logical manner. We would not see poor families seeking literary instruction before they have bread. We would not see cities populated
at the expense of rural districts, nor rural districts at the expense of cities. We would not see the great displacements of capital, labor, and
population that are caused by legislative decisions.
The sources of our existence are made uncertain and precarious by these state-created displacements. And, furthermore, these acts burden the
government with increased responsibilities.
But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely
in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has
been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying
rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to
exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful
defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.
How has this perversion of the law been accomplished? And what have been the results?
The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy. Let us speak of the first.
Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the
free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.
But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others. This is no rash
accusation. Nor does it come from a gloomy and uncharitable spirit. The annals of history bear witness to the truth of it: the incessant wars, mass
migrations, religious persecutions, universal slavery, dishonesty in commerce, and monopolies. This fatal desire has its origin in the very nature of
man — in that primitive, universal, and insuppressible instinct that impels him to satisfy his desires with the least possible pain.
Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the
origin of property.
But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin
Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain — and since labor is pain in itself — it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever
plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.
When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.