A blupete Essay

Notes, to blupete's Essay
"Legislation: Robbers' Rules"

1 OEDII.

2 Seven Theories of Human Nature (Oxford University Press, 1987).

3 Malthus laid down four rules. These rules, incidentally, may be broadly applied to any course of action. Terms, Malthus points out, must be carefully defined before their use. An agreement must be worked out on the meaning of the terms used and it should, as closely as possible, correspond with the sense understood in the ordinary use of them. Secondly, where no agreement on meaning can be reached, in order to continue the discussion, the meaning to be taken is that which "the most celebrated writers" have accepted and used; though, the parties should not "be bound down by past authority" and a change might be introduced "whenever it can be clearly made out that a change would be beneficial, and decidedly contribute to the advancement of the science." However, Malthus cautions: "if we determine to have a new one in every case where the old one is not quite complete, the chances are, that we shall subject the science to all the very serious disadvantages of a frequent change of terms, without finally accomplishing our object." Thirdly, the project [legislation] proposed should not only remove the immediate objections [the social evils to be got at] but should be shown to be free from other or greater objections, though a "change which is always itself an evil, can alone be warranted by superior utility taken in the most enlarged sense." Fourthly, "any new definitions adopted should be consistent with those which are allowed to remain ..." Of course, as Malthus points out, in the application of the rules, we must always keep in view the object under consideration. See Definitions in Political Economy, p. 4.

4 The socialist movement was driven, in England, in the 1930s, by the Fabian writings of the "Bloomsbury Group" which centered around Cambridge and included such literary lights as Malcolm Muggeridge, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Geo. Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, and, of course, John Maynard Keynes. I cannot help myself: I editorialize: Socialists always proceed on this triple hypothesis: the total inertness of mankind, the omnipotence of the law, and the infallibility of the legislature. There is, I surmise, a disproportionate number of "educated" people who are socialists, people who may or may not have drunk deep enough from the Pierian spring; but which, at any rate, certainly have their heads down feeding in the socialistic troughs, which government fills with our money. The light of their grand objectives blinds them, as well as us. "Socialists (of varying kinds) believe in socialism (of varying kinds); they are generally unapologetic; they are industrious writers, lecturers, persuaders, activists, organizers and conference-goers, movers of motions and dealers in doctrines." (Seldon, Capitalism, p. 212.) For further views on socialism, see Blue Pete's essay, "The Siren's Song."

5 No matter which legislative scheme you might want to examine, I submit, on the whole, we are no better off; most of our social ills continue, and new ones have arrived which are of a much more virulent kind. And through it all our liberties have suffered with burgeoned bureaucracies and our economy (a fixed system by which the life blood of society flows) has been deaden by huge and unmanageable government debt.

6 A Lysander Spooner Reader (San Francisco: Fox & Wilkes, 1992) at p. 20.

7 Lysander Spooner, ibid, pp. 19-20.

8 Freedom and the Law, p. 8 & p. 15.

9 Judges and legislators are very touchy about the expression "judge made law"; it is against Montesquiarian doctrine for judges to make laws. Judges cut and skin the law here and there, but they no more make laws than lumbermen make logs. Though a judge on occasion may cross the line, a vigorous lawyer and an appeal court will soon cure it. The standard psychological attitude for a judge is to "discover" the law, not to "create" it.

10 The English Constitution at p. 143.

11 Leoni, op. cit., p. 121.

12 Ibid, p. 13.

13 Leoni, op. cit., p. 22.

14 Attributed to Spencer's essay, "The Collective Wisdom."

15 Leoni, op. cit., p. 8.

16 Sir William Wade, Administrative Law (Oxford University Press, 6th ed., 1988).

17 This principle was established in Padfield v. Minister of Agriculture, [1968] A.C. 997, one which Lord Denning thought was a landmark in modern administrative law. (Breen v. Amalgamated, [1971] 2 Q.B. 175.)

18 Op. cit., p. 16.

19 "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. This 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." (Bastiat, The Law, 1850.) (For further on this point see my essay, "On Government.")

20 Lysander Spooner, op. cit., p. 10.

21 Leoni, op. cit., p. 18.

22 A moral belief is held (tenent) because it has been found, through experience -- whether people are particularly conscious of the process, or not -- it works. When the practice dictated by the moral belief starts to not bring the expected and desired results, then, in a relatively short period, the moral belief turns into a pure superstition and the practice changes.

23 Leoni, op. cit., p. 14, p. 131 & pp. 147-8.

24 Hood Phillips, Shakespeare and the Lawyers (London: Methuen & CO., 1972) at p. 60.

25 George Savile (1633-95), 1st Marquis of Halifax.

26 Taken from Goldsmith's "The Traveller" (said to have been composed by Dr. Johnson).


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