The situation now is we have a private law system which is based upon these organically, bottom-up, decentralized legal decisions, determined by legal experts, and by neutral parties who were trying to do justice, trying to do the fair thing. And over time a body of rules emerges and with the help of legal scholars it gets cleaned up and sometimes revised.
But what's happened since the emergence of democracy is that we've begun to have a sea of legislation, just legislation is being issued left and right over the last 100 or more years by the modern western democracies, and they gradually encroach upon the territory of the existing private law. They override it and the law starts to take the form of just the edicts and decrees by a committee.
Even the US constitution, which was a general document, and which was based in part upon a lot of evolved principles from the British constitutional system, is still a piece of legislation, as is the entire federal code, as is the statutes of the states. And these statutes, and in England this is happening too, there is more and more legislation that invades the territory of the common law. And what this means is when someone goes to court to ask a judge to determine the outcome of this case, this dispute; in the older system, the judge, at least, was oriented towards trying to do justice. So he would look at precedent. He would look at what the law had developed before and he would try to do justice, and he might make new law when he did that, or he might just respect old law when he did that. But nowadays the job of the judge is not to do justice. The judge is more of a functionary. He's like a civil servant who's job is to interpret words written down by another branch of the government, whether those words are just or not."
Tom Woods has such good shows and guests that it is hard to listen to one without finding something quotable to pull out and write about. A few days ago he had Stephan Kinsella back on the show. The title of the show was "The State's Corruption of Private Law, or We Don't Need No Legislature." The Kinsella quote above was taken from that show. You can find the link to the podcast at the bottom of this article. Kinsella laid out a brief history of what law used to be and how it morphed into modern day government "legislation", which is completely different than natural, discovered law that we have had for thousands of years. I'll keep my comments brief this time, but you should really give this a listen. Understanding the nature of law and its modern day perversion is vital in understanding the state's impact on society throughout history up to the present day.
Of course, any standard statist believes the one true and vitally necessary job of a government is to provide law, justice, and security services. But, inherent in this state monopolized system is corruption, aggression, and the opposite of justice. The state corrupts everything it touches. So it is incredibly important to understand and spread the ideas that Kinsella is talking about here. It has happened throughout history, and would be possible today, to provide law, justice, and security services on the open market. Firms would compete. Those not protecting their clients would fail. Those not upholding standards of justice would fail. And those who provide quality services, who resolve conflicts peacefully, and uphold real justice, would succeed. Plus, we would be without all the psychotic trappings of the state that we now have, including the drug war, prison system, corrupt officials, lobbyists, institutionalized police violence, etc.
So, give this a listen, and check out some of the further reading ideas below. They mention John Hasnas in the show. I'd also recommend Bruce Benson, Michael Huemer, Edward Stringham, and Gary Chartier for more on these ideas. If you have any other suggestions for good work on non-state provision of law, justice, and security, add them to the comment section below or on the Facebook post. If you enjoyed this content, please subscribe on WordPress, follow on Twitter, Like on Facebook, and share this with your friends and family.
Listen to the full Tom Woods episode here: Tom Woods Episode 557 with Stephan Kinsella