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.

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