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You don't coerce or injure others. Why can politicians do it?

What is a law?

Most people think a law is anything passed by a legislative body. If true, then how could the Nuremberg Trials rule that Nazi “laws” were illegal? It’s helpful to understand…

  • Legislation is not the same thing as law
  • Legislation is only law if it conforms to universal morality
  • Universal morality is any standard about which everyone agrees

For instance, everyone agrees that fraud, stealing, assault, and murder are immoral. We know this because…

Even people who commit these acts don’t want others to do these things to them.

And that’s about it in terms of moral principles with which all humans agree. Thus…

Only prohibitions against fraud and initiated force can qualify as laws.

Now you can see how the Nuremberg Trials could rightfully find Nazi laws illegal. And hopefully you can understand why libertarians consider most statist legislation to be unlawful.

You will both think and express yourself better if you never use the word “law” to describe anything other than statutes against acts of fraud or initiated force. Sadly…

Judged by this standard, most legislation is not actually lawful. Most legislation initiates force. Politicians impose one group’s personal preferences on everyone else, using threats of violence. That is not law. It is not justice. It is criminal behavior. So use better words to describe such enactments. Call them…

  • Unlawful acts
  • Criminal dictates
  • Statutes
  • Mere legislation

Or, if you simply must use the word law when referring to immoral legislation, put the word in scare quotes, “law.”

By Perry Willis & Jim Babka

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