Warren Meyer calls attention to a court case having to do with California’s inability to get along in the global energy market — and so requires judges to sanction people with guns and jails to help California "compete."
But that’s just another day in the "Land of the Free" and not what I wanted to write about. Warren complains:
I don’t think there is anything more depressing to a good
anarcho-capitalist like myself than seeing the government rule that a
price negotiated at arms length by the free will of consenting, and in
this case well-informed adults enjoys "no presumption of legality." If
not, then what does? Is that where we are heading, to a world where no
voluntary actions enjoy a presumption of legality?
Well, as a Princeton grad and Harvard MBA, I’m certain Warren knows the answer to that question himself. But just to belabor the point, that is the whole point of law. The law holds context and asserts authority in every action and in every single moment of every person’s life. When you are sleeping, you are presumed innocent, just as when you are charged with a crime. In other words: you are always in some "legal status" or the other.
It’s the same thing for human action. What is not explicitly legal or illegal is "presumed legal" or, as was pointed out by these judges, not presumed legal, which covers all possible bases — not only for present and future actions, but anything ever done in the past.
That people don’t understand that we live under the general totality of political law, and always have, is beyond me. It’s just becoming bolder and more explicit in America. And for the moment, at least, breathing, eating, sleeping, bodily functions…are all "presumed legal." Isn’t that nice? Aren’t you glad? Thankful?
There’s another way to look at this. You have often heard the question: "is the glass half empty, or half full?" I’ve never in my life looked at it precisely in that way. When I first seriously pondered the question, which essentially goes to a person’s existential or meta-outlook, I objected to the arbitrary constraint of the glass (metaphorically speaking, of course). In the same way, when people nit-pick back & forth about how something or other is legal, illegal, presumed or not presumed whatever, and to what degrees and exceptions, ad infinitum, all I see is the arbitrary constraint of the law.
Thank you very much. I’ll stick with right and wrong, realizing that a good bit of existence and your life and mine isn’t either. It simply is, there for you to gain and keep values in pursuit of your own happiness.
You do realize, don’t you, that for some people and their particular values, values the gaining and keeping of which harm no one, that these people’s pursuit of happiness "enjoys" no "presumption of legality?"