"...it's not the training to be mean but the training to be kind that is used to keep us leashed best." ~ Black Dog Red

"In case you haven't recognized the trend: it proceeds action, dissent, speech." ~ davidly, on how wars get done

"...What sort of meager, unerotic existence must a man live to find himself moved to such ecstatic heights by the mundane sniping of a congressional budget fight. The fate of human existence does not hang in the balance. The gods are not arrayed on either side. Poseiden, earth-shaker, has regrettably set his sights on the poor fishermen of northern Japan and not on Washington, D.C. where his ire might do some good--I can think of no better spot for a little wetland reclamation project, if you know what I mean. The fight is neither revolution nor apocalypse; it is hardly even a fight. A lot of apparatchiks are moving a lot of phony numbers with more zeros than a century of soccer scores around, weaving a brittle chrysalis around a gross worm that, some time hence, will emerge, untransformed, still a worm." ~ IOZ

Jan 19, 2012

Wasted sentiments

I don't understand the outrage over laws. Laws follow power. They do not create it. Everything you need to know about a law comes down to this: can it be enforced?

If yes, then the law is clown paint. If no, an invitation to disrespect.

If the power exists to enforce the law, then the outcome is already given. If the power does not exist to enforce the wasted sentiments on a legal page, those sentiments are as wasted as any written about law.

SOPA, NDAA, AUMF, Resolution 1929 - they mean nothing. If the power exists, the law follows it. If it does not, it's about as useful as Bob Avakian's wishful thinking.


Unknown said...

Exactly right. This whole thing regarding the internet is about enforcement. Or lack of.

Richard said...

Going back to Elizabethan times at least, the law has perpetually evolved to repress resistance against the expansion of private property principles to every aspect of social life, whether at home or abroad.

That's what SOPA, NDAA, AUMF . . . all these things are about. In other words, the law exists to criminalize any alternative collective social order that threatens private property.

That's also why the invocation of the First Amendment by those involved in Occupy is, sad to say, comical, because it reflects a fundamental lack of understanding of the purpose of the US Constitution, and it's not to empower the populace.

Pied Cow said...

Bob Avakian. What a whackjob he was. I think he wanted to be America's version of "The Comrade" Enver Hoxha of Albania.

In college my pals and I used to listen to Radio Tiranna Albania on the short wave just for a dose of Hoxha's Stalinist claptrap. The woman who read the news was excellent: she had the perfect rough and monotonous voice. She was just the right backdrop for Marlboro reds and a few beers.

Then I stumbled across Avakian and his RCP nitwits. People actually followed that guy! I thought he was completely off his rocker, posing for pictures wearing a Lenin hat. What a fuckin' goof.

Today I looked up Avakian in Wikipedia to see if he's dead yet. Evidently he's not.

davidly said...

I understand the outrage because I used to be one of that kind. But I can still imagine a scenario where the law matters:
The omni-powerful Reptilian Hybrid Iron Man comes to planet Earth to protect the little people. But he is also a lawyer and his superpowers don't work when he doesn't follow the letter of the law.

yonders said...

I'll admit that a law, as the final public manifestation of whatever power already exists, can sometimes bum me out. Outrage I reserve for dickheads I know personally.

Jack Crow said...


Way I see it (and I admit I could have it backwards) is that is what follows from the ability to act. It's an imprimatur, but one which follows from the recognition that the Church already owns its own printing house and banking company.

That said, it's not cut and dried, since (as with money) faith in the law is not inconsiderable.


I agree entirely. The law is reactive. I think a sound history of law would probably demonstrate that law is not as progressive as we tell ourselves it is. It does not create conditions, so much as amplify existing ones to the benefit of those who own themselves the legislators.


Avakian is a bit of an inside joke, and there's playful malice there on my part, too. Not so long ago, upon issuing a challenge to demonstrate that the US of A had the carrying capacity for an actual and explicitly communist political party (I paraphrase) - the respondent replied with a link to Avakian's platform. I could have choked on my own suppressed laughter, as if the best example of American political socialism was an admitted, self-strangled cult of personality.


Me, also, in my own way. I used to ground work for campaigns, and against my better mercenary instincts, would occasionally find myself arguing in good faith that the passage/repeal of a law mattered.

Take marijuana...


I still think it's healthy to cultivate hatred for people never met, but as I age in greyness, I am surprised by my capacity to suspend outrage in favor of amusement.

Justin said...

I don't disagree with the overall theme (i.e., law is subject to enforcement), but I think that you may be overlooking the fact that law can mark convention, convention shapes (probable) thought, thought (of those with power) quite obviously bears on action. And I don't mean this as some hard-edged sapir-whorfian claim that power simply can't think beyond convention, rather that in contrast to power as codified in law, unconventional expressions of power require more planning, more resources, more power, so much more effort than that peon might be worth.
There may be something to the idea that the lack of conventional and ready systematic responses set out in law wrt IP copying has allowed the formation of constituencies large enough to oppose the formation of new IP law like SOPA/PIPA. (But then yesterday's megaupload indictment happens, and one ends up with thinking akin to yours...)

Justin said...

If you couldn't tell, that's not me.

Jack Crow said...

I'm not sure we're in too much disagreement, Justin.

I guess my main premise is that law follows. Without the material accumulation of stuff and staffers, a law is only wish and sentiment.

With weapons and people willing to use them, the law is only justification.

On it's own: nothing.