At the beginning of this article series, I opened with the question: Without the law what is to prevent someone from committing evil action X should they have the opportunity; and what then is the consequence?
From this question, often asked by apologists for legal ethics (those who assume that Coercive Authority, i.e. the State, is utterly necessary for human ethics to exist), two things can be assumed beyond a reasonable doubt. First, that the law is not necessary to declare moral value—indeed, that moral value must be known before the law exists (e.g. law is to prevent evil action X, an action of which its moral evil warrants the creation-intervention of law). And second, that evil has no negative consequence without law.
The idea that there is no consequence for immoral action absent law presents us with a contradiction; this contradiction is “resolved” by rejecting morality entirely, and replacing it with legality. Here is the contradiction: by asserting that there is no negative consequence for immoral action, an immoral action can no longer be defined as immoral. You see, in ethics, it is axiomatic that action and consequence are corollary, yet the law “splits” this corollary by making action a function of moral ethics and consequence a function of legal ethics. But morality and legality are two completely distinct ethical systems, each with its own very specific premises and corollaries and conclusions, and, most importantly, its own metaphysical foundation. (Morality is based upon will and choice, its metaphysics are individualist; legality is based upon authority and coercive force, its metaphysics are collectivist). They simply cannot be merged/integrated in any rational or efficacious way. So what happens is that morality by default becomes merely propagandistic conveyance for the implementation of legality, whereupon morality is discarded by the Authority (ruling class) and replaced with legality as the author and arbiter of the ethical value of both action and consequence. And this is done quite naturally, and is not necessarily consciously conceived by those arguing for the State and the Rule of Law or the ruling class. For as soon as we assume and accept that consequence must be a function of the law, then it becomes impossible to determine the ethical value of an action without also appealing to the law; and this is due to the inherent mutual exclusivity between legal ethics and moral ethics. This is the nature of ethics.
All of this being the case, in response to the question at the top of this article, we are forced to reply as follows:
Wihout law, why should we think that evil action X is in fact evil? In other words, how do we know that action X, or engaging in action X, is a bad thing?
The answer is of course that we do not; we cannot. Because by asking the question we necessarily concede that legality, not morality, is the only relevant and possible ethical system. Outside of the law, there is no ethic. Any action outside the law cannot by definition be called illegal, and thus it cannot be called unethical, and thus it cannot be called “bad”. The law, in accordance with the logical rules of ethics, is both prescriptive and proscriptive. It dictates which actions are good or bad (or said another way, it dictates the goodness or badness value of a given action) and it dicatates the consequences for actions. The law declares what you must do and what you must not (which is fundamentally oxymoronic, because one cannot do a “not”….so the law fundamentally dicates all behavior at root). And this is why law has nothing at all to do with choice and will. Human action is fundametally driven by individual will. But will is not recogniznzed by law, which by nature is coercive, not cooperative, which is why as time goes by, the law—the State, the Ruling Class—becomes more and more oppressive; it smothers humanity, it does not, and cannot, free it. The nature of the law is to dictate, not emancipate. Law rejects human choice and will, it does not provide some kind of cohesive and moral context for them. The “freeing power of democratic law” is just lie you have been told to make you more amenable to the whims of the ruling class, nothing more. You are coerced by very persuasive, euphonious, idealistic indoctrination, which is much cheaper and more profitable than state terrorism, gulags, guillotines, death squads, and gas chambers, and less messy as well. The chattel bear more service and substance if they walk willingly to their cages and pastures than if they struggle or try to run away. Though terror, gulags, guillotines, death squads, and gas chambers, or some manifestation thereof, will eventually appear no matter how ostensibly democratic a system is…and there are reasons for this, but they are a subject for another article.
Finally, I will end with this:
The law does not provide a context for the implementation of efficacious morality. Law is, according to the ethics of morality, entirely opposed to moral behavior.
In other words, the law is categorically immoral.