cicero - more laws less justice (Summum ius summa iniuria)

Freedom is inevitable

Violence and coercion are signs of weakness, needed only by those who know that their arguments are not good enough to speak for themselves. Whether it applies to a government running the lives of its people, one nation interfering in the business of another or individuals trying to gain control over others, the use of force is never a good idea. However, it is also impossible to avoid using force when trying to run people’s lives. The answer is not, as we are conditioned to think, that we try to run people’s lives better, it is to not try to run people’s lives at all.

Mankind has been trying to legislate and regulate everything in hopes of achieving a harmonious society, but law and order only offer the semblance of safety and stability. Battling idiocy and malevolence with legislation will keep us busy forever, and it is unlikely that any problems will actually be solved along the way. Rules and regulations always have unforeseen, unwanted side effects because it is impossible to define and control the sheer infinite amount of daily actions and interactions of all people. Most people abide by the law because they know morally that it is the right thing to do (although by now there are so many laws that it is virtually impossible not to break any); those who want to do harm will not be swayed by the notion that their actions are illegal. Perhaps their morality is flawed, perhaps their situation is so desperate that they see no alternative but to break the law. Either way, more laws are not going to remove the root cause of the problem.

cicero - more laws less justice (Summum ius summa iniuria)Regulating life is not the answer. What we should be doing is trying to find as much common ground between all people as we can. That is done not through an endless amount of laws, measures and exceptions, but through allowing everyone to do as they please as much as we can. Freedom is the lowest common denominator shared by all human beings. There is no justification for suppressing individual freedoms, because there is no absolute right or wrong. There is no hierarchy in freedom and no one has the right to block another person’s freedom more than anyone else does. And yet the vast majority of us willingly choose to allow others to determine their path for them. It is embedded in our culture to entrust institutions with our wellbeing, believing that we need a church or government to help us interact with the world. But all churches and governments are nothing more than people telling other people how to live; and no one knows better how to be happy and productive than the individual themselves.

government benefits the wealthyInterference, like force, will lead to an equal and opposite reaction. Even when the interfering party has everyone’s best interests in mind, some will always be left dissatisfied. Trying to cure their dissatisfaction may lead to more interference, which will lead to more dissatisfaction until ultimately so many people become unhappy that society spirals out of control (in reality though, most institutions do not have our best interests in mind). Rules are meant to universally apply, but in order to be universally accepted and respected, they must be as broadly defined as possible. Every added detail will increase resistance among the people and will offer more room for interpretation and discussion. Force is necessary only when there is disagreement, but disagreement follows from every law and every rule, indeed from every action that affects a large number of people.

Every step to limit freedom is confirmation that freedom is better than oppression, if only because every ban you welcome and support is a step closer to a ban on the things that you hold dear. Peace and harmony will not come from authorities controlling our lives; they will come from the people being happy and free. The need for freedom is the one value we all share – it is absolute because it applies to all of us equally and no one has the right to more freedom than others. And it is entirely subjective because everyone can do within their own freedom whatever they want. The only limit to our personal freedom should be the freedom of all others.


  1. I have a few rebuttals to your article:
    Peace and harmony does not come from people being happy and free. People are happy and free when they live in Peace and Harmony.
    Happiness is the perspective of the individual, true, but peace and harmony are not equal to happy and free. Peace is the state of calm, and order. Peace in a society can only be found if the people are in peace, and harmony is the orderly state between one and another, between one group to another group. Freedom is not the tree to peace and harmony, but is the fruit of peace and harmony. If you want to be happy and free you need to be at peace; peace comes from living in order not in chaos. And if you want to be happy and free you need to be at harmony with each other. If each individual is absolute unto himself then that would not be inclusive but exclusive to harmony, because selfishness is the lowest common denominator shared by all human beings; not freedom. Freedom is the instinctive yearning of all human beings and represents the height of human desire.
    Accepting universals is one thing, universally accepted is another. The first implies the existence of universal, while the other claims to create universals. The former is what is called Natural Order, the latter is what is called New Order. Natural Order exists outside ourselves, and outside of the organisms in nature. All species of nature grow and exists because there is order; energy is absolute, the principles that guide energy into force are absolute, and the principles of motion are also absolute. Without these three non-physical absolutes there would be no life. These are universals.
    If you accept order and decided to live within these natural laws, the standards that natural law provides, will guide society into peace and harmony, and this is liberty, freedom from the bondage of tyrants. But if you decide to continue to make up your own order, then you are in the choir of tyrants, and peace and harmony will never be attained, no matter how much control you put on me to satisfy your own desire for freedom. My right to suppress chaos, and put to right order comes from natural law.

  2. Indeed, freedom is the instinctive yearning of all human beings, and that is all the law should need to be. With absolute individual freedom does not come the right to do as you please to anyone, but the responsibility to respect the freedoms of all others as you want them to respect yours. Perhaps mankind is not evolved enough yet to peacefully coexist on that basis, but our endless laws, regulations and restrictions are diminishing our ability to use common sense and decency. As such they are counterproductive to attaining a state of peace and harmony.

    I disagree that selfishness is the primary motivation of all, or even most, people. Self preservation is certainly our instinct, but with that instinct comes the realization that cooperation benefits us all. The question is first: what percentage of people are naturally inclined to wrong others? And, second: if that is only a small group, is it justified to restrict the freedoms of all people to “contain” the few? (Noting that regulation in reality offers little more than the semblance of safety; actual containment of wrongdoers through regulation is an illusion.) Secondly, how many people are driven to wrongdoing because they feel they were wronged by others? How many laws do we really need to know that the actions mentioned are wrong? Is what is against the law in fact always wrong? And if it is not against the law, does that then automatically mean it’s alright?

    I’m not sure I follow how natural laws are an argument against individual liberty. Equating a plea for individual freedom with tyranny is an obvious contradiction, which you no doubt deliberately employed to make a point, but regardless of that: the bottom line is that people cannot be forced into not being forced. Restrictions force people; the absence of restriction is – if anything – the neutral state. It is absolutely impossible for me to force my freedom unto you; it is only possible to force restrictions on others.

    I guess what you call order is what I call stability in my article. But, as I’ve pointed out, it is an illusion that we can regulate ourselves into “order”. To stay on the natural laws analogy: they exist in and off themselves, nobody ordered the universe into what it is. There are not volumes and volumes of text that command planets, asteroids and all organisms into certain behaviors. There are just patterns, and if you ask me that is closer to what I am suggesting than the bureaucratic delusion we are currently living in.

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