FROM A TRIAL ATTORNEY’S PERSPECTIVE: TWO DOGMAS OF LAW SCHOOL ACADEMICS AND THEIR EFFECT UPON THE FUTURE OF LAWYERING – Part I

A full copy of this essay with all parts is available in the Social Sciences Research Network: SSRN .

 

Modern law school academics in the United States are dominated by two major schools of thought: law and economics; critical theory. The most recent popular version of the latter calls itself critical realism. Both schools are conditioned upon two dogmas they claim must be recognized by jurisprudence and policy decisions in law. In critical theory, its foundational dogma states there exists a fundamental empirical distinction between situational influences and individual influences. This dogma exists in law and economics by a multiple of names, all making the same fundamental distinction but in disguised form. For this school, situational influences are dogmatically defined as simply a set, sum, or collection of individual influences. Both schools of thought share another dogma: a belief that normative statements can be derived from empirical statements. Academics and their believers in both schools want to be anything, such as economists, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, physicists, and onward, anything but lawyers for whom they both exhibit nothing but contempt making me at least wonder why they went to law school in the first place though I suspect the answer is for the power. As a practicing attorney my whole career in law, I write this essay as a representative of a dying breed (perhaps justly so): trial work and the art of lawyering. Both dogmas and the contempt for the practice of law that goes with them are not only worthless to jurisprudence but the constant bickering over them and associated paper churning verbiage lacking substance pontificated by those who are the law’s teachers serve only to destroy the credibility of jurisprudence and its usefulness for maintaining and passing on to posterity a free, prosperous, and open society. These dogmas and their contempt for the practice of law prevent progress in jurisprudence from catching up and paralleling scientific learning, an update it desperately needs if it will ever be anything more than the under-laborer for the few who are or want power over the many.

 
I. INTRODUCTION / THE NATURE OF THE PROBLEM

 

As I will analyze next in this essay, even in the simplest of problems in jurisprudence such as the proverbial “gun-to-the-head” case examples, the dogmas at issue do nothing useful but serve only to blind the search for the forest by concentrating on the trees. I will concentrate my analysis of the first dogma in the form it exists as a foundation for the new fad of critical realism because this analysis once understood will easily translate into an analysis of the equivalent dogma in law and economics that has had much more time to hide itself in the trees. For this purpose, I will reference examples of the dogma at work in the law review article entitled “The Situation: An Introduction to the Situational Character, Critical Realism, Power Economics, and Deep Capture” by Professors Jon Hanson and David G. Yosifon as this article seems to be the first gospel and foundation gospel for the bible of critical realism. I will refer to it as the Situation.

 
Though nominally hidden, the second dogma is substantively and essentially the same for both critical legalism and law and economics thus the analysis will not need to be split.

 
The Situation article begins with, contains within it, and ends with pages of warning and advice on how the readers need to open their minds, contest their most “reassuring self-perceptions”, read “mindfully”, and avoid being hypocrites who attach to other persons ignorance of truth while ignoring their own ignorance. After which, the authors of the Situation routinely, constantly, repeatedly, and to all indications unknowingly proceed to violate all of this warning and advice. I do not want to repeat their lecturing and risk becoming a hypocrite myself but it is important to have some sense and analysis of the hypocrisy involved to get an appreciation of the harmful, blinding effect these dogmas have upon jurisprudence and lawyering, in fact, upon basic reasoning skills and rational argument.

 
The nature of the problem of these blinding effects on both the substance, essence, and credibility of jurisprudence are most evident when the critical realism authors of the Situation try to be physicists instead of lawyers at pages 155 – 56 by using a “thought experiment” involving plane travel and then at multiple pages beginning at page 206 where they pontificate about the Catholic Church’s initial rejection of the physics of Galileo as an example of “capture”.

 
The plane travel “thought experiment” depicts an airplane passenger getting up from his seat, traveling to the bathroom, and returning fifteen minutes later. The authors than ask you to “estimate the distance that the old man traveled between leaving and returning to his seat.” Now, if you are a reasonably prepared, reasonably educated trial attorney with some diversity in life experience, you would immediately note that this question at a minimum lacks a proper foundation, is misleading, misstates the facts, assumes facts not in evidence, and, even if these problems as to form are resolved, is a question that only would be relevant and have probative value for any reasonable inquiry into truth if asked of a qualified expert witness. However, the authors as law professors are not trying to be lawyers, they are trying to be physicists. As physicists, they answer, “If you are like most people … you estimated thirty feet. A more accurate estimate, however, would be roughly 1000 times greater than that — approximately 150 miles. In other words, most people see the man moving within the plane, but miss his situation, the plane itself. … Indeed, when one takes those additional situational forces [movement of the Earth, solar system, the galaxy, the universe] into account, the old man moved … something closer to 350,000 miles.” As a trial lawyer, my first instinctual response to this individual/situational distinction is, “how is a traveler walking on an airplane” any less “situational” than an “airplane flying on the earth”? I am getting ahead of myself. By admitting the question into the evidence considered in the Situation, the authors prove themselves unskilled trial lawyers; by allowing the answer in, they in addition prove themselves unskilled physicists even at an amateur or sophomoric level.

 
If my above lawyering objections were resolved and then only an expert witness physicist was allowed to answer the question, the first answer would probably be a question: “I cannot answer your question as posed, do you want me to use classical physics or modern relativity physics?” Since the Situation seems to love Galileo, to be consistent with that love, I answer “please use classical physics.” At which point, the answer would probably be another question: “what inertial reference frame do you want me to use?” To keep things simple, I would answer “use the plane”. To which the “truth” would be “approximately 30 feet”. If I had answered, “use the earth”; the “truth” would be “approximately 150 miles.” If we really wanted to challenge our “thought” instead of playing academic games, I should have answered his first question “please use modern relativity physics.” To which, the physicist would have responded with another question, “what coordinate system do you want me to use and from what coordinate do you want me to measure?” In response, if I had answered “from the coordinate of the traveler with his point and coordinate remaining the same in any coordinate system”, the “truth” would have been “zero distance traveled”. What would have been the physicist’s answer if I had asked the witness to use pure quantum physics without simplification for scale? Engage in a real thought experiment by finding this answer yourself, learn something, and thus do something the authors of the Situation for some reason could not be bothered or could not do.

 
If the plane travel “thought experiment” had been approached from a lawyering perspective, we would have had an actual thought and learning experience. Instead we got a differentiation between the “individual” situation of the traveler and the “situational” situation of the plane, earth, and so forth. A differentiation that no physicist would make because to science one inertial reference frame or coordinate system is as good as any other. Which one to use is relative to what they are trying to predict. So, again, “how is a traveler walking on an airplane” any less “situational” than an “airplane flying on the earth”? Is it simply because the authors of the Situation want it to be distinct in order to prove their argument that they are distinct? These questions are not considered in the “thought experiment”, apparently it is assumed that this distinction is either self-evident or accepted based on their authority — that is, the distinction is dogma.

 
The enormity of the blindness to reality, despite calling itself critical realism, involved from such dogma is more evident in the Situation’s dealing with the Catholic Church’s initial rejection of the physics of Galileo that goes on for pages of verbiage that says nothing.

 
So, how does the Situation cover Galileo? Do they act lawyerly and thus review, examine, and cross examine the best evidence: the hearing records, expert submissions, evidence, and documents of the inquisition of Galileo still available for review and much of it on the internet? Do they take evidence or testimony from historians, theologians, and physicists on the subject? No, apparently there is no need for that. After all, they are not just lawyers, they are historians, theologians, and physicists; so, they quote hearsay from other lawyers and tell us themselves what happened as self-evident truth. According to them, what happened is “capture.” The Catholic Church was one of the mighty powers of the 17th Century. Galileo, while a student and then a professor teacher at two Catholic universities was a free-thinking lover of truth with a new “true” idea of the nature of our solar system but this “individual” influence on society was powerless against the “situational” influence of the Catholic Church whose power allowed it to distort and twist the academic and scholarly experts of the times to its irrational purely religious view of the solar system. As a result of this alleged capture, the authors tell us, an innocent individual was wrongly persecuted and silenced by Pope Paul V and a Cardinal Bellarmine denying society the “truth”. According to the Situation, if not for this “capture” of the expert witnesses who testified and of the evidence presented at his inquisition, the experts would have supported Galileo and the truth would have been known earlier and without punishment of Galileo. According to the authors, this “answer is obvious.”

 
Whoa, a powerful concept this “capture” based on this distinction between individual and situational influences. Again, as a lawyer, my initial instinct is to ask how are Galileo’s teachings reached during years of study, examination, and teaching using the resources of two Catholic universities an example of “individual” influence whereas the Pope and Cardinal’s teachings reached as a result of years of study, examination, and teaching using the resources at Catholic universities “situational”? There may be a difference of degree, but how are they different in kind? Does this distinction mean the Divinity School and the Philosophy Department at Harvard are “situational” influences whereas the Law School and Economics Department at Harvard are “individual” influences? Has anyone told the theologians and philosophers at Harvard about their situational power over law and economics that I suggest would be a surprise to them? Is individual influence the egg and situational influence the chicken? If so, which set of teachings is the egg and which the chicken? Which influence came first, the egg or the chicken?

 
Perhaps it is just a question of power? In his time, Galileo as an individual obviously had less power in every respect than the institution of the Catholic Church, but this would not be true of the individual Charles VII, the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, nor of the Pope. If it is an issue of the degree of power controlled, then we should call it an issue of the degree of power. Galileo had little individual power because of his situation as a student and teacher, Charles VII and Pope Paul V had large individual power because of their situations as emperor and pope. We can describe both sets of power honestly and truly either as “situational” or as “individual” depending on the speaker’s intentions not upon any fundamental difference in the nature of “power” as that word is used in English neither in the circumstances of “capture” nor to the extent anyone advocates for its inclusion in jurisprudence. If “capture” means the Catholic Church was more powerful than Galileo, than should we just say so and get on with a Marxist analysis of law as simply a monopoly of violence and forget about the useless word “capture” based on the useless distinction between individual and situational influences whose use is dependent solely on the intent of the speakers not on the facts spoken about? The authors do not consider these questions. Again it is assumed the “answer is obvious” as either self-evident or based on their authority — that is, the distinction is dogma, the same as any dogma issued by the Catholic Church or any church.

 
Instead of being a historian, theologian, or physicist, let’s try to be lawyerly and engage in the critical thought and examination of the alleged “capture” of Galileo’s “truth” that would be required if it ever came up as an issue for trial. I should start by seeing what theologians say about it since it is a theological issue but I am practical enough to know that raising theology in an essay submission to the closed-minded culture of law school is a guarantee that it will be trashed. I actually hope and want someone to read this essay some day, so I will ignore theology.

 
What do historians tell us about the Galileo Inquisition? Historically, what happened is that Galileo while a student and then a professor at two Catholic universities developed a heliocentric theory of our solar system that he could not support at the time by any evidence because the necessary math and physics had not as yet been created and developed. The Church had a formal, open hearing on the matter in which Galileo was allowed to face and to respond to his accusers consisting of qualified, prominent, academic scientific authorities of the time who all disagreed with him and submitted argument and evidence to substantiate their disagreement. Based on such undisputed expert testimony and Galileo’s inability to respond with anything other than unsubstantiated theory, the inquisitor Cardinal Bellarmine after review of his conclusions by the Pope personally ordered Galileo “… to abandon completely… the opinion that the sun stands still at the center of the world and the earth moves” as a physical truth. However, the Church did allow him to discuss such theory as a mathematical and philosophic idea. Thus, as the necessary mathematical and physical theories developed, eventually the heliocentric theory became widely accepted as scientific “truth” at Catholic and all universities. From a lawyering perspective, this was not a bad adjudicatory process overall nor result. Much better than anyone would now get before being terminated, removed, or arrested in our supposedly more open-minded society if one even tried to open a discussion at one’s employment, in class, or in a public forum let along argue the politically incorrect stance on such topics as homosexuality, racism, sexism, or abortion.

 
How about the physics? It turns out that according to the modern general relativity physics of the last hundred years, the concept of an inertial reference frame that is necessary for either a heliocentric or geocentric model of the solar system does not exist. All we can do is establish coordinate systems for space-time in which the only requirement is that each point have a unique coordinate. So, according to modern physics, if we had a mind or computer sophisticated enough to deal with the enormous and convoluted mathematical complexities involved, we could choose and use a coordinate system with the revolving earth at the center and the sun revolving around it. Since real science accepts and practices Ockham’s Razor as heuristic technique for its conceptual choices, real physics chooses the sun as the center of its coordinate system thus greatly simplifying the math and achieving a much more pragmatic model.

 
So, let’s see what we have. A Cardinal Bellarmine condemning a person before him for ideas reached at one of the universities he supervises after a full evidentiary hearing and review that included expert witnesses to which the accused had a right to face and respond and to whom he did face and respond was persecution and “capture”. So, what is it when two secular legal scholars as representatives of one of the most powerful legal cultures in history use solely their chosen written hearsay with no opposition submitted from anyone to condemn the dead and an entire millennia old religious culture? Is this like super-persecution and super-capture? If Cardinal Bellarmine was a tool for situational influences trying to avoid the absolute truth that the earth revolves around the sun, are the two secular legal scholars who wrote the Situation tools for situational influences trying to avoid the truth that there is no absolute truth about what revolves around what in space-time?

 
Is the absolute truth that if modern jurisprudence wants to approach reasoning in the same way as science, it should also accept Ockham’s Razor as a heuristic technique and stop creating unnecessary dogma about distinctions and relationships such as “capture” simply to boast the egos of its academics and their worshipers who see in the law a means for power instead of controlling power but who do not want to call it power? It is with the hope that the answer to this last question is in the affirmative that I get into the body of this essay.

THE MYTH OF JUDGES OF PROVEN INTEGRITY

An omnipresent myth universally marketed by American legal culture is that judges are experienced, honest, impartial, and of proven integrity. To anyone with any significant experience with either a state or federal court system or in the selection either by appointment or election of judges, this myth is a joke. Somehow, it continues. Most likely it continues because most people are so frighten of getting involved in legal disputes that they do not even want to think about those involved. Once they do become involved, such people become “litigants” (or worse, criminal defendants) and thus lose credibility with the rest of society desperately trying to avoid getting involved.

Most judges start out as average human beings with one serious defect: they want to be judges. That is, they want to have a lifetime job in which they sit in judgment on the lives of their fellow human beings; cold-bloodedly view their problems; and then make their lives worse in some way so as to maintain whatever social order exists — be it the order of a North Korean dictatorship, a Russian oligarchy, or an American oligarchy. Judges maintain such status quo by the sacrifice of the individual — unless the judge is sympathetic to the individual — with all decisions required to be universal and not accepting of diversity nor individual personality or morality. There is no curing of disease, no invention, no epiphany, no theorem proven, no joy of pure analytical thought, no joy of experiment, no critical thinking to a solution, no scientific method, no glory of winning, and no agony of defeat — any type of honest emotion and good faith belief in a principle or good or evil is to be avoided (other than “law and order” that actually means just order). The only joy is in the power of playing god except for the fact that they lack the courage to do any killing themselves but have others do it for them — however, the judge cannot admit to such playing but must hide behind the smokescreen of law, pretending there is something more to their decision-making than just their arbitrary decision of what personal ethics and morals to enforce and which not to enforce. Hiding this reality of the judge’s job, American legal culture in all federal courts and in most state courts gives life tenure to average human beings with such an obvious character flaw plus grants them no accountability for their acts — forgetting power corrupts.

For example, present Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor stated in an Associated Press interview that she wanted be a judge by age 10 after watching a Perry Mason episode at which point she “realized that the judge was the most important player in that room”. What were you dreaming about at age 10? At age 10, I was just trying to survive until the next day. If I did dream, it was to become an astronaut, an explorer of the world and the universe, to cure cancer, to become a military hero, about the girl sitting next to me in class, or of having love and a happy family, or doing something great to help my fellow humans. The few times I watched Perry Mason, I sympathized with the innocent defendant being railroaded through the system by the powers — including the moron judge — miraculously saved from imprisonment or worse only by the hero Perry Mason. Ms. Sotomayor despite having a loving, extended family supporting her path not only to survive but to prosper in life instead was dreaming of being the moron judge simply because he had the most power. What a sick mentality. This sick mentality gets worse as we go up the power chain to such power fiefdoms as the Supremes. Lower court judges are actually the most fair and wise since they must work with real people in real world situations instead of living in ivory towers of power being an end in itself.

Have you ever read or even heard of any judge, in the present or in history, leaving their judgeship because of stress, worry, guilt, overwork, in rebellion, or as a matter of principle? Neither have I. In fact, especially at the federal level, judges have to be carried out in their senile old age while desperately trying to hand-on to their job of being a demigod. The federal system is full of “senior” judges past the suggested retirement age of 70. The idea of becoming part of humanity that is judged instead of those doing the judging is their greatest fear.

There are no merit or competency tests or requirements for being a judge. The only test, regardless of whether a judge is elected or appointed, is a political one. They are usually former government prosecutors or big firm attorneys who spent their whole professional career following orders, not making waves, and taking whatever politically correct position they believed was necessary to get them the needed political credentials for appointment to a lifetime umbilical cord of a government job. They are supposed to be the best and the brightest of an adversarial legal system in which the best attorneys are supposed to take the greatest risks defending the unpopular and powerless of society such as did Attorneys Atticus Finch of “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and Abraham Lincoln — neither of which could ever be appointed to a judgeship but instead would most likely be disbarred in our modern legal culture for their antics. Instead, as attorneys, most judges were the bottom of the barrel in terms of adversarial and analytical skills and courage — their only skill was politics but they even lacked the courage to run for political office.

This myth is present in all legal systems even going back to the sophisticated legal system of the Roman Empire. In fact, it is this myth that is the greatest weakness in the monopoly of violence that is the law and is usually the one way that it can be beaten. Eventually, as the status quo empowered by judges gets further and further out-of-step with technological and material progress, those charged with executing the judgments of judges get tired of their incompetence and stop executing the judgments. Since judges are incapable of doing their own dirty work, this is when things finally start to change. Judges and the “rule of law” consistent with their dishonest nature take credit from our Honored Dead for historical progress that led to the abolishment of slavery, of Jim Crow laws, of forced segregation, of denial of equal rights to women and minorities, of destruction of unions and the imprisonment of their members, and of almost all injustices that in their time were legal and enforced by judges. In reality, judges have throughout history always been on the wrong side of history and were on the wrong side of these listed now abrogated laws. Violence or some type of civil or military revolution has always been required to get judges on the right side of history.
This reality is still true despite judges’ present claims, again, that they are on the right side of history. These present claims by them and their worshipers hint at more than just character flaws to the presence perhaps of insane delusion. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. — Albert Einstein. For a more detailed analysis of this myth, please see two of our sponsoring books The Law Illusion and Between the World and Us .

THE MYTH OF LAW AS PROTECTING THE POWERLESS FROM THE POWERFUL

Once the powers that led the American Revolutionaries succeeded and created our Nation, they had a problem: they were no longer the outcaste criminal minority operating solely by their arbitrary decisions restricted only by pragmatic concerns for winning the revolution through the principle of might-makes-right and thus violating the “rule of law”. They were now the law-abiding majority. Upon becoming the law, they immediately began to market not only the first false myth just contemplated of the Nation being founded upon the rule of law but the second false myth of law: it protects the powerless from the powerful.

 
The clearest way to contemplate the second myth and see through it to its heart of darkness is by contemplating the often used philosophical analogy of imagining humans in the state of nature or humanity’s primitive state defined as: the hypothetical conditions of what the lives of people were like before societies came into existence. However, since this blog and related blogs are not for academia but for workers spending their lives in the daily struggles of life, do not conduct this contemplation as it usually has been done by philosophers varying from Plato to Robert Nozick in which the result of the contemplation is pretty much predetermined by upper class philosophy. Contemplate our state of nature in its purely working sense by starting with you and adding individuals one by one to a real world of struggle for survival in a universe that at best is indifferent to our existence but usually is actively trying to kill us.

 
So, there you are, trying to survive with nature trying to kill you. What law and legal system do you have? Pretty much nothing other than the rule that whatever works for you to survive or to give meaning to your life ought to be done until it stops working.

 
Now add another person, someone who is overall either more powerful in their ability to survive life or less powerful in their ability to survive the struggle for life. Now what legal system do you have? Assuming the more powerful is not a complete and total asshole, pretty much nothing changes except for those instances when there is not enough of something for both of you to share equally or there is disagreement as to what needs or must be done. What is the law at that point? Unless the more powerful person is some type of Christian martyr that by definition would mean that person is not the most powerful person in terms of their ability to survive in life, the new law is: whatever works for survival or to give meaning to the lives of the most powerful person will be done until it stops working for them.

 
Now a third person joins our dynamic duo in the state of nature. At this point matters start to get tricky.  In situations of scarcity or dispute, the most powerful person could in theory and in practice keep full control of the weaker person in the two-person state of nature by tying the weaker up at night and once releasing the other during the day never letting the other out of sight. However, this gets harder to do when the more powerful has two weaker persons to control. In bad times, the stronger can still keep the weaker tied up at night but never letting either of the weaker out of sight during the day gets harder. If the weaker conspire, they could figure out a way to give the stronger the proverbial and most likely physical stab in the back when necessary for survival. The situation is still might-makes-right but the might could now be established by the weaker majority combining together to beat what would be the stronger minority in the absence of the weakers’ conspiracy. At this point, the powerful with their superior will to power survival instincts naturally come up with the concept of “rule by law” and then “rule of law” as a means to remain the powerful: i.e., the weaker should not conspire to stab me in the back because this is illegal (as well as unethical; as we will contemplate later, the concepts of law and ethics for social purposes are essentially the same with the former simply being the latter plus a monopoly on violence to enforce whatever the ethics may be). In order to convince the weaker of the need to give up their potential for joining and killing the powerful, the second myth starts: law is for your own good to protect you the weaker from the powerful — conveniently ignoring the fact that the powerful given the need and opportunity would stab the weaker in the back and kill them regardless of the illegality of such an act.

 
As we add more individuals to this state of nature to make bigger and more complex societies, this minority/majority problem gets worse, but the law becomes a much easier and a more efficient solution to this problem once it is given a monopoly on violence while also becoming more convoluted with verbiage both to foster the myths under discussion and to act as a smokescreen hiding their falsity. There will always be a minority of powers-that-be — or the “High” as Orwell calls them in his 1984 — who will have through fate, destiny, luck, or whatever you what to call God’s hate of the poor a superior might-makes-right will-to-power meaning in their lives. There will always be a majority of the powerless or less powerful — or “Middle” and “Low” from 1984 — who could make meaningless the High’s will to power if they organized, conspired, or combined enough of their will to power. Why God so hates the poor that he would make such a three-part division a necessary part of reality is a contemplation beyond this blog but is contemplated in sandpebblespodcast.com.

 
“The rule of law” comes into existence at that point of social creation or progression from the state of nature in which the minority powerful is concerned about being overpowered by the majority of less power or powerless through shear force of numbers. The law is created to abrogate “might makes right”, but not in the sense of abrogating “might makes right”; it abrogates the might-makes-right of the powerless in order to protect the might-makes-right of the powerful. Law is created to protect the powerless from the powerful but not in the sense of protecting the powerless from the powerful; law is created to prevent the power of the majority powerless through unity from overpowering the power of the minority powerful.

 
Before I go further in this contemplation, I must emphasize that I am not saying that this pragmatic purpose of the law to protect the minority powerful was always a bad thing; I am simply saying that it is a false myth to claim the opposite as being a basic premise or principle of law. As contemplated on the associated blog of www.betweenworldandus.com, in its comparison of racism versus classism, unfortunately the division of human society into social economic classes is a part of reality unavoidably necessary to win the struggle between humanity and the universe trying to kill humanity. Thus, unlike racism, we will always have social economic classes and classism and there will always be a necessity to protect the powerful from the powerless by means of social economic classes maintained by the majesty of the law. Pragmatically, the myth that the law protects the powerless from the powerful perhaps was needed through most of human history as a smokescreen to keep the Middle and Low in their place. As recently as a hundred years ago, 80% of the world population was illiterate and obviously had no internet access for information and the technological revolution was barely beginning. The world is now 80% literate and rising with internet access for information at 60% at rising and we are fully into a Technological Society. At this point, the myth does more harm than good by treating workers as illiterate fools that clearly they are now not. The time has come to let the wage slaves know they are slaves and honestly control them as millennia of human societies and law did with chattel slavery whose true nature was never hidden from the chattel slaves. Such truth is necessary for humanity to move into its next stage of history whatever that may be. I will hopefully contemplate the effects of these myths in our technological society in a later essay.

 
Seeing how the true nature of this second myth played and plays out in human history can be done easily by any reader of this essay by picking up a real history book written by real historians (not polemics by popular historians such as Howard Zinn or Doris Kearns Goodwin) and reading the facts from the perspective of the principle contemplated here: law serves not the false myth of protecting the powerless but to prevent the power of the majority powerless through unity from overpowering the power of the minority powerful. You will immediately see that it pragmatically works to explain the past and to predict the future. In doing this, do not get thrown off by appearances such as seemingly pure altruistic laws as those protecting the handicapped, children, or similar powerless. The law is not a unconditional lover; it always by necessity acts in accordance with its true nature and thus even when appearing to enforce seemingly purely altruistic law; as with a bad lover relationship, it does so solely for ulterior motives and will use its ephemeral altruism against you or expect something from you in return at a later time or at other place. The law giveth and the law taketh. If you want unconditional love, get a dog.

THE MYTH OF A FOUNDATION UPON THE “RULE OF LAW”

This is the omnipresent cry of all socially accepted members of United States legal culture (and of most modern nations’ legal systems): our Nation is founded upon “the rule of law”. This is the predominant myth in United States legal culture: the United States was founded upon the “rule of law”. By “rule of law” is meant the principle that law should govern a nation as opposed to governance by the arbitrary decisions of individuals. This is the law’s strongest marketing myth yet the easiest to see through its deception to the truth once one bothers contemplating it in the context of history.

 
Neither the United States nor any modern industrial or technological nation — including any of the major nation state players in the modern world such as Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, and so forth with the possible exception of Japan’s Meiji Restoration or of satellite nations such as Canada that are castaways from the major players — were founded upon the rule of law. The United States was founded by religious fanatics seeking freedom from all secular law and by criminal revolutionaries motivated by desires for individual freedom exempt from all law and by various forms of a master morality will to power varying from avarice, anarchy, and bootlegging to piracy, sex, tax evasion, and wagering. By “criminals”, I am not referring to the fact that many were slave owners because owning slaves was legal under the rule of law at our founding as it was for all systems of law throughout history until a couple of centuries ago when slavery’s rule of law was abrogated by armed civil revolution. The revolutionaries of our American Revolution in relation to Britain and Europe had more in common with present day Somali pirates than with any enlightened believers in “rule of law”. (In the same way that the British of the 16th Century in relation to Europe had more in common with present day Somali pirates than with any enlightened believers in “rule of law”.) They were a minority who by violence intended to force and did force their minority views and rebellion against established British law upon the Loyalist majority not by any rule of law but through violent tactics and atrocities against Loyalist civilians and their property that would be called terrorism and war crimes in our present world. A detailed chronological history of how a violent criminal minority was able to start and win our American revolution can be seen at www.redcoat.me.uk/Rev-War.htm . In short, the fanatical minority criminal revolutionaries of the American Revolution in trying to give meaning and power to their individual lives used the atrocious, illegal, and deceptive tactics of all revolutionaries in history without consideration or respect to any concepts of “rule of law” other than “might makes right”.

 
The difference is that our revolutionaries because of their unique place in time and space were successful in revolting against the established rule of law. This success has more to do with physical geography and the availability of new industry and technology than of any inherent good in the revolutionaries: luck, destiny, fate, or whatever you want to call it. See www.redcoat.me.uk/Rev-War.htm .

 

The worse and best aspect of the founding of the United States is that such rebellion against the rule of law is what had to occur to make us the first country in history in association with the dawn of the Industrial Age and now the Technological Age to be founded not upon principles of “rule of law” through kings, queens, emperors, military leaders, senators, representatives, judges, or other demagogues but upon principles claiming the individual not the individual’s community is the measure of all things. As such a country, we have been for more than two hundred years a beacon of hope to all humanity still living under the natural and ancient “rule of law” that individuals to survive in a universe at best indifferent to our existence must surrender their individual needs and goals to the needs and goals of the whole to survive. Revolutionaries of the American Revolution said, “F___k the whole” and spit in the face of the indifference of the universe and its “rule of law” to explore, discover, and conquer their universe in a struggle, perhaps never ending, to make their own individual heaven on earth.

 
As a result of their success in founding a nation through might with no respect for any rule of law, our revolutionary rebels were then faced with the issue of how to rule their new nation. This leads me to the second false myth about the rule of law: the rule of law protects the powerless from the powerful

FALSE MARKETING MYTHS OF LAW AND JURISPRUDENCE / INTRODUCTION

Though legal culture in the United States calls itself a profession, it is really a for-profit religion having a monopoly on violence to produce one product: you. Its business goal is to tell you what you ought to be and what you ought to be doing to produce a “you” in its image. The secular religion of law uses well marketed false myths to stay in business: 1) the United States was founded upon the rule of law; 2) the rule of law protects the powerless from the powerful; 3) judges are experienced, honest, impartial, and of proven integrity; and 4) there is a difference between law and the ethics and morality of judges.

 
I will cover each of these myths in separate essays. As I have written elsewhere, in trying to contemplate and write about the general principles that govern such issues as law, it is not my goal to create an idiocracy by oversimplifying the problems of creating a workable social system for adjudicating disputes so as to avoid private violence and internal conflict among individuals or groups that would disrupt the viability of United States society or of any society. However, our modern technological world is so very complicated that it is easy to forget the basic premises of human thought that have made us successful so far in beating the natural world’s will to kill us and wipe our societies from the universe. For example, mathematics is incredibly complicated, yet all of its incredibly convoluted rationally challenging complexity begins with one operation: addition. If you do not understand that 2 + 2 = 4, all of mathematics is worthless farce. To freely operate in a free and open society, one must accept that “freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two makes four. If that is granted, all else follows” — Orwell’s 1984. Modern legal culture loves generating law libraries of verbiage to hide that 2 + 2 = 4. One of its methods for denying us this freedom is through the false marketing myths that I will be contemplating. To be free in an open society, these myths must be seen as false and rejected. We can then go on to a more subtle contemplation of the nature of the concept of justice in a modern technological society.

 
The false myths that I intend to contemplate are universal to all legal cultures but are most powerful and thus have the most adverse effects in United States culture because the United States is so powerful and successful. As with all past societies and especially empires, as they achieve more power and greater success, the few who possess most of that power and success start to generate smokescreens that hide the foundation bases upon which the power and success were built resulting in their being ignored and the foundation allowed to crumble thus eventually crumbling down the society and empire built upon them.

A SYSTEM OF EMPATHY: REBUTTAL TO AN EXISTENTIALIST THEORY OF JUSTICE

An existentialist theory of justice would be a contradiction and a betrayal of existentialist philosophy. In the present and most likely future of technological society in which even Christianity is surrendering the individual to the needs of the will to power of the few, existentialism is the last philosophy founded upon the power of the individual as morally superior to the indifference of the universe. Existentialism recognizes and must continue to recognize that there is no justice in life nor in the next life, if any, and there is no justice in or out of court. Justice as with ethics and any system of normative principles is a means created by the powers of any given system of power to maintain the status quo of that system of power. Taking “justice” as a serious ontological reality or creating an existentialist “justice” would be just another system of power to maintain the status quo of power. Rather, existentialists who have decided to act as social agents for change must seek an alternate ontological reality. This alternative must involve struggle not peaceful acceptance, but struggle with empathy for all involved in the struggle of power with the indifference of the universe.

 
Existentialism in both its secular and religious form is an attempt to avoid nihilism: an attempt that always fails. In the end of its logic, existentialist reasoning must accept nihilism. Such acceptance does not deny truth. Nihilism denies meaning in life not truth. As soon as some nihilist states there is no absolute truth in life they have contradicted themselves and established that there is absolute truth. At a minimum, there is the absolute truth that I exist and therefore I think and I want more than to exist.

 
Nihilist truth is pragmatic. Once I reject suicide and decide to give meaning to the universe, I must choose an ontology and morality necessary to achieve that meaning. If what I choose works to achieve my result, they are true. If they fail, they are to be rejected or revised or I can go back to contemplating suicide. Regardless of how I proceed, by necessity existentialism involves struggle not peaceful coexistence with what is not “I”. The universe does not care about my existence, it is its own existence. Unless I am one of the few beloved by God and thus made a god alongside of Him or I become a god myself as a being content with my own existence as an end in itself and thus do not ask existentialist questions nor need its reasoning, I will always be one of the poor hated by God and thus always involved in a struggle with His meaningless universe. This struggle with a meaningless universe includes all, including others, who may be out there. There is nothing one can do to make the struggle with the universe any less painful. It is what it is, and in the end it will always win the war regardless of how many battles we fight and win.

 
The struggle with the others who may be or seem to be out is a different situation. Rationally, existentialism has the benefit of avoiding solipsism: there must be others ontologicaly existing out there because I cannot will what I want. It is in the struggle of my will to achieve power over my life and my will’s constant inability and outward failure to do so that proves I am not alone in the universe. There is something out there, it may just be God but it is out there. If it is just God, He is taking so many forms to make my life miserable that He might as well be a multitude of others and pragmatically I must accept such an ontology to survive. Assuming that I am alone would only lead to being a god. Unless that is my destiny, I cannot make that assumption and must deal with the others out there struggling with me or against me in my will to power.

 
Unless I am destined to be a god, pragmatically empathy is the only option for an existentialist to create a system of social normative principles. If I am destined to be my own god, justice is the choice to make to enable and to enforce my will to power. Justice consists of the desire to sit in judgment of others’ will to power; determine how it is interfering with my will to power; and then to force them to conform their will to my will to power. If I am powerful enough, I can do this on my own. In the modern technological society, such justice requires the joint effort of an Orwellian Inner and Outer Party working together. Justice does not care about the ultimate struggle between the individual and the universe. Its concerns are only with the present. That is why no system of justice has ever been nor will it ever be on the right side of history.

 
Empathy is the ability to understand the nature of the struggle with the universe; the others’ struggle within that ultimate struggle; and to force myself to limit my will to power to the minimum necessary so that I and the others’ struggle will not hinder either of us in our ultimate struggle with the indifference of the universe. Unlike justice that inherently wants and creates the power to enforce its will to power, empathy is a matter of luck. Just as the existentialist struggle to give meaning to the universe is a solitary struggle, empathy is a solitary struggle.

 
The substantive question for an existentialist who wants to be an intentionally and knowing actor in the stage of social change is: can systems of empathy be created to replace systems of justice? There are significant generalities and details to be worked out in any such replacement. First of all, the concept of justice as a virtue must be eliminated; it must be seen as a meaningless concept in technological society. In terms of general principles, such a result is difficult enough to achieve for Christian communities that in substance are the only modern technological communities who expect justice only in another life and accept love and mercy as the only obtainable virtues in this life. However, for all practical purposes, it is impossible to achieve for fake religions such as Islam and for Old Testament religions such as Judaism in which justice is seen as a virtue achievable on earth. In terms of details, a system of empathy would require judges who are appointed as “judges” based on pragmatic merit as existentialists and their intelligence and empathetic abilities; who are appointed only for limited terms so that they are not corrupted by power; and are greatly limited their power to act affirmatively on anything. This is impossible in all modern technological societies in which judges are secular religious appointed to be fanatically loyal to the justice called “rule of law” and the delusions associated with such secular religion.

THE ‘RULE OF LAW’ DELUSION

Maintaining the “rule of law” is always pontificated by  the powerful as a necessary good of both Western and Eastern Civilization as a means to protect the weak from the powerful, and “rule of law” is almost always used by the powerful interchangeably with “system of justice”. Historically, there is no reason for such pontificating nor with such synonymous use of these terms. What should be pontificated upon is the “rule of power” and the means to control it — including controlling the power of the law. The rule of law is only concerned with maintaining a given social status quo. It is the rule of power that changes the status of quo. In terms of pragmatics, a “system of injustice” is as much a rule of law as a system of justice, in practice they are the same: justice and injustice are two sides of the same coin and both necessarily serve to maintain the powerful few in power over the many. Rather than protecting the weak from the strong, the rule of law and its social system of norms called “justice” serve to protect the few strong from the many weak who in combination, if allowed, would overcome and kill the few in power resulting in chaos, anarchy, and the creation of a new powers-that-be. This is the nature of reality that is accepted by the rule of power but not by the delusional rule of law called justice.

 
Philosophers of law are always crying about the horrendous state of existence in which humanity would be absence “the rule of law” consisting of constant random and arbitrary violence absence  — that is if humanity were still ruled by the law of the jungle in which the strongest rule by force over the weakest. They seem to ignore that the law of the jungle is as much a rule of law as their version of it in which the law holds a monopoly on violence. Without doubt, historically, the primitive state of humanity was and would be a violent one in the absence of an organized system of so-called justice to control personal vendetta and retribution for all actual or perceived injustices among humans. The recent book “War in Human Civilization” by Azar Gat accurately delineates how Thomas Hobbes’ view of the primitive state of humanity was much more accurate than the Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s view of it. Of course this crying comes from philosophers of law — including Hobbes and Rousseau — who are all either members of the ruling class of their society or its house servants. What these house servants ignore or fail to state is that a system of injustice working as a rule of law will serve the same purpose. The inmates of a modern maximum security prison in the United States live in society maintained by the rule of law in which random and arbitrary violence is more absent than in any rule of law community outside of prison. The same could be said of the rule of law in North Korea or in any efficiently operated military dictatorship — or even of the military. Any efficiently run rule of law will eliminate the constant random and arbitrary violence of our primitive state: either a system of justice or injustice. No honest review of history or the workings of social struggles would support a view that “the rule of law” is intended to defend the weak from the strong, but rather the intent is to protect the few strong from the many weak whose power in a conglomeration would be greater than those few.

 
Anyone not among nor working for the powers-that-be who contemplates the reality of social interactions between the strong and the weak whether in a primitive state or in any state would realize that the individual who wants to live and survive in life wants power, wants to be strong, and will grab power over the weak when given the chance. I am not saying this as if it were an evil, it is the reality of life. Even if a group of humans loves each other, cooperate, and get along in peace as most seem to preach they want, nature will not cooperate with this goal. Eventually there will occur a natural occurrence such as disease, famine, cold, heat, flooding, or some other “Act of God” that will force a peaceful community of humans into a battle against nature to survive. In this battle, the strong will survive, the weak will not. By ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ I am not referring to physically strong or weak nor any popular conception of evolution — which has nothing to do with the scientific concept of evolution operating essentially as a statistical spreadsheet for sense experience of those who survive and those who do not. Who are the strong and the weak in any given situation is dependent on the situation. The defining characteristics of those who will survive in any given struggle for power over nature will be those with the strongest will to power over it and all parts of it, including their fellow and sister humans, plus being lucky. Sometimes this will to power will be physical, other times mental, others social, and so forth, depending on the nature of the struggle for power.

 
Living in a modern technological society, we have lost sight of the misery and struggle over nature by our ancestors that has gotten us here and that is hidden by technology though the struggle against nature is the motivating force of all life, human or not. The individual is faced with a few existential truths about life that must be accepted to live: “I exist”; “there is something out there that is not I”; and “I need power over that something to live.” If anyone reading this wants to contemplate this reality, I suggest Sand Pebbles Podcast.

 
When these individual existential realities become social, we have social classes and class struggles that also are not evils: they are a necessary part of reality. There is no basis in reality to hope for a Marxist end to social classes and class struggle: they are the substance and essence of reality. For some reason, God hates the poor and weak and wants to keep them poor and weak. The poor and weak must struggle to overcome this reality; they can only do so when they unite enough to overcome it; but despite any material progress they are doomed to fall back into being the poor and weak. This is the rule of power. If anyone reading this wants to contemplate this reality, again I suggest Sand Pebbles Podcast and Between World and Us. As summarized by George Orwell in is book 1984:

Throughout recorded time, and probably since the end of the Neolithic Age, there have been three kinds of people in the world, the High, the Middle, and the Low. They have been subdivided in many ways, they have borne countless different names, and their relative numbers, as well as their attitude towards one another, have varied from age to age: but the essential structure of society has never altered. Even after enormous upheavals and seemingly irrevocable changes, the same pattern has always reasserted itself, just as a gyroscope will always return to equilibrium, however far it is pushed one way or the other.

 

This is the reality accepted by the rule of power. This is the reality ignored by the delusion, a delusion perhaps intentionally created, of the rule of law. The law is just another means by those in power to stay in power. Slavery, forced colonialism, forced imperialism, apartheid, and all evils of which those worshiping the rule of law complain were all legal in their day. It is delusional to maintain that the evil powers of the rule of law can or must be corrected not by simply removing the evil powers but by giving the rule of law new and different powers that will eventually become just as evil as those powers eliminated. The power of the rule of law will on its own try to expand and magnify and will expand and magnify as needed to keep the powers-that-be in power. To maintain and grow as a civilization, non-lawyers, honorable lawyers not part of the law’s 1984 Outer Party, and those not part of any given system of justice/injustice must acknowledge and be guided by the rule of power to fight and minimize as much as possible the law’s expansion and magnification in any form: Jim Crow laws are as evil as civil rights laws; legally enforced integration is as bad as legally enforced segregation; and so forth. Social bonding; communities of cooperative individuals; and creating empathetic communities of diverse individuals but not communities of different colors, races, and sexes who think and act the same and hate all who think differently require the absence of the rule of law as a secular religion not its presence. From the Roman plebes to the present working classes, it is only their knowledge of the rule of power and their acting upon it that creates civilization.

AN EXISTENTIALIST THEORY OF JUSTICE

Existentialist thought as a philosophy has primarily served substantively and practically as a personal philosophy dealing with the meaninglessness of life and the moral decision of suicide. When it tries to deal with social or ethical concepts beyond the needs of an individual, it becomes primarily a means for French dudes to get laid and makes little sense either in theory or in practice. Such result is predictable given its premises and conclusions that all is meaningless and that all social and ethical concepts are equal in the end. Don Juan, the Actor, and the Conqueror are all equally moral individuals when all is meaningless. However, I do not believe that this is a necessary result of Existentialist thought. This is the necessary result and truth when one faces the choice of suicide, however, once one has made the choice to live and to reject suicide, this choice makes possible an Existentialist theory of social ethics or justice that must be systematically studied. It is not necessarily true that Existentialist thought must accept the Conqueror whose strength is his will to conquer as morally or ethically equal to those whose strength is their will not to conquer. An Existentialist theory of Justice is possible.

Once one chooses to live, the second unavoidable realization after ‘I think therefore I am’ is that ‘I think therefore I need power to continue thinking.’ Living requires power. Though life may be gifted to us at conception without our choice, one who wants to live must get the power to continue staying alive from the moment the choice to continue living is made. The individual born rich or an ascetic surviving on small needs may not need to acquire further or much power to live but regardless of how little power one needs to acquire, living does not occur naturally. If we let Nature or Natural Law have its way, both the individual and any society of individuals would die of ‘natural causes’ quickly and most likely painfully and miserably. I refer to this need as ‘power’ or in the classical sense the ‘Will to Power’ because such choice of words best describes the various forms of work and effort in which human life engages in order to survive. This is true of all life. Animals and plants spend their whole existence hunting each other as food to get the power to live. The human need for power in life goes beyond just food: humans want the power to control their lives and thus eventually, once one starts interacting with at least one other individual to form a society, the power to control the lives of other humans (whether real or imagined). Thus, having survived the absurd reality that life is meaningless, the Absurd Man must now face the absurd reality that life is meaningless and unjust. Not only will one never naturally get what one needs to live, survive, and to have some fun and passion in life, but one’s attempts to live, survive, and have some fun will unavoidably be conflicting with and most likely will be threatening to someone else’s attempts and need to do the same.

Furthermore,the need for power and the ability to satisfy the need for power are never in balance. A poor man who is lazy and uneducated and a captive of his vices will most likely always remain poor both materially and in spirit. However, a rich man who is lazy, ignorant, and a captive of his vices will become, with a little bit of luck, a President of the United States and rich in all things. Though hard work may get the poor out from poverty, the cost of such success will be either destroying their spirit by such hard work or the selling of their spirit to the needs of the rich. Either way the poor have lost and sold themselves to those rich in power. The only way a poor man can keep his virtues is to remain poor and surrender hope for a better material life. In short, there is no justice in life; this is not a contingent fact but a necessary fact of life. As the Good Book says,the race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way to bet.

As with suicide, in standard Existentialism there are two ways for the Absurd Man to respond.

One can respond with the ‘Leap of Faith’ prescribed by the first Existentialist, Soren Kierkegaard: if there is no justice in this life, believe there is justice in the next. Secular existentialists are too quick to reject this option and such quickness shows an irrational bias and prejudice that should not be present in a philosopher. Religion has faced and dealt with the injustice of life for millennia; there is no justification to reject such experienced thought outright without at least understanding or at least trying to understand its complexities and subtleties. The Christian answer is very brilliant, powerful, and has served the Western World successfully and pragmatically for two thousand years now and is best summarized in the Parable of the Workers’ in the Vineyard. This simple yet intense and profound parable dismisses injustice in life because love exists between God and Man. It in no way attempts to hide the true nature of God as the ultimate Power that can do as It pleases with nature and the humans It created. It shows ‘justice’ to be a human concept; an all-powerful Being who created nature can do whatever It wants with it. Trying to attach the term unjust to such a Being as God that in essence defines the Natural Order or Divine Order of existence is meaningless and exhibits only the arrogance and stupidity of humanity.

God is defined as the reason there is something instead of nothing. Christianity offers us union with such power through God’s manifesting itself by becoming human in the Person of Jesus Christ. This is quite an amazing conceptual structure and thought. It turns the arbitrary power of God from being the source of injustice into the negation of the concept. The reward for such a Leap is incredible and it is very tempting to jump if one views it objectively. If faced with a beautiful woman who may be a bitch, a man is still very attracted to her and wants to fornicate with her as long as her beauty lasts regardless of the bitch factor. With God, you know the beauty will never fade and the union will always be  great, so why not put up with the bitch factor especially when by doing so you are essentially becoming One with all of nature and humanity and thus ending all the conflict that is the source of injustice? Christianity has even developed the concept of the Holy Spirit to act essentially as a marriage counselor between God as a Man and God as the supreme Deity the Father.

Of course, the Absurd Man would protest that such a critique misses the point: accepting injustice as answer to the question of justice is the same as accepting suicide as the answer to the question of meaningless. This would be a correct critique if one were still debating the issue of meaningless and suicide. Once one accepts life, such a critique is no longer sound nor valid.

The other option is to go the opposite way and reject nature and the God Who created it. By rejecting such, I do not meet substituting it with another god as usually occurs. I mean nihilism and I mean it as a good. The Absurd Man instead of seeking the power to live by constantly seeking power should achieve such power by constantly fighting all others’ seeking of power without heightening the battle for power. We must remember that in this critique we are no longer dealing with morality or with just one individual’s battle with meaningless and suicide; when thinking of social concepts such as justice and ethics, there is always at least one other person out there trying to get or to share in the same power and thus inevitably trying to defeat us or to conflict with us in our Will to Power. Even if we were to reduce ourselves to the bare essentials of life living in a village of two people with all the resources in the world, unless we die of boredom there will come a time of conflict when the other will want to take power from us or power over us. When that moment comes, the options are either to choose to be a conqueror and fight over such power or to run away, in the end these options are the same because neither change the nature of life and the choices are morally equal.

However, I submit that the Absurd Man has a third option: he can spit in the face of destiny and fight not the conqueror but the fact that the conqueror holds such power. He can in defeat spit in his conqueror’s face. In the latter situation, the Conqueror, Don Juan, and the Actor are not equals. The first cannot but relish, seek, and enjoy power over others. Though the latter also enjoy such power, their enjoyment does not necessarily come from taking power away from others but in multiplying, magnifying, and sharing it. Of course, the latter’s means to power will in the end be defeated by a new or another conqueror just as in the end God will defeat all of us, but that is not the point. Having chosen life, the Absurd Man to exist as a social being must choose the path to power that is unnatural with the same passion that he chooses life. When finally beaten by the bitch factor in a beautiful woman, the Absurd Man will see it and recognize it and reject the whole beauty as unjust. In doing so, though one passion is being lost, a greater passion is gained by the knowledge that one has at least for the moment beaten the unjust nature of life. In this situation for example, the Don Juan who continues to seek dominating power over his woman is no longer ethically equal to the Actor but ethically worse because he does accept and uses the other as a source of power for him. This type of analysis can continue with the Actor and with all others.  I submit it is this power analysis that can be used to discern just and good individuals and acts from unjust and evil individuals and acts in an Existentialist world and in any supposed system of justice and law in it.

Obviously, there is a need to work out the details of such an Existentialist theory of Justice; however, it must first be recognized that such is possible.

THE REFUGEE by Philson Ong

I sit at a bench in the park. The sun is setting, staining the sky with beautiful red and gold. It is autumn and the leaves fall to the ground at the slightest wind. They are as colorful as the sky. I sit there admiring the view. Then I notice him. An aged man walks in my direction. He wears a black silk-lined coat and has black hair. He carries an ebony case, but his most distinguished feature is his eyes. They are the blackest I have ever seen, yet as dark as they are, they seem to have a glow about them. I think he is a European refugee, very wealthy, having to escape his country from conflict. The refugee sits next to me and views the sunset.

The silence is broken by him. In a deep, slightly accented voice he says, “I like music.”
Slightly startled by this question, I regain my composure and respond, “What kind?”
“This.” He waves his hands and cane indicating the scenery.
Finally I ask him, “You’re not from the US are you?”
“No, I am a displaced person.”
“I am sorry. Would you like to tell me about it?”
“I would be wasting your time.”
“Not at all, I have nowhere to be.”

With a sigh he begins to tell his story. “These days it is a familiar story. A leader so blinded by his own glory that he can no longer see his blunders. He developed delusions of greatness and posed as the final judge over everything from birth to death and therefore created seeds of his own destruction. It was inevitable under the circumstances.” Rage boils inside me. No man should have that much power. I see his views so vividly; I would have gladly fought this man, were I in his country. “The revolt didn’t succeed?” “No, it proved too weak, too early. It was crushed. Then came the purge. Nearly all of us died. I organized that opposition. I still think it was justified but I dare not go back.”

I try to comfort him. “You are in a free country now. You can call the president anything you want and nothing will happen.” He continues, “I am not welcome here either. No man can truly be free unless he is beyond his enemy’s reach. When one’s foe gains control of every channel of propaganda, uses them exclusively to present his case and suppress the mind and damns the truth as if it were lies, there is no hope for me.”

The sun has set and the moon is full. It shines in such a way as if it were focusing on him. He stands up and he seems enormous, almost as towering as the trees from my sitting position. He seems not of the world as the moon lights his face. He walks away, his coat in the night breeze resembling billowing wings. As he walks away, I ask his name.

He turns back and looks deep in my eyes, “my name,” he says softly, “is Lucifer.” He disappears into the darkness.