LAWS WERE MADE TO BE BROKEN
he concept of "rights" is literally devoid of
On the one hand, they have been interpreted as
some unalterable, inviolable properties of
being human, or of being a social being.
On the other hand, "rights" have always been
subject to violation, alteration, reversal by
common agreement of enough people.
an we discover what they really are, if anything?
It may be taken as axiomatic that all actions
are possible for an individual. The evidence
for this is in the meaning of the words: all
actions, except impossible ones, are therefore
It may also be taken as axiomatic that all
rules or laws are essentially arbitrary. The
evidence for this is in the fact that all
rules or laws may be changed.
Putting these together it appears that an
individual has the ability to do anything
from those things which concern himself to those
which concern other people. Such circumscription
as may be imposed by the society may introduce
unfavorable consequences over which he has no
control, but can not change the inherent possibilities
of his actions, and are therefore only essentially
arbitrary pseudo-limitations from outside the person
they are neither basic nor fundamental. I conclude
then that a person has the "right'f to do anything
Am I arguing for criminality, for immorality?
No, for I assert that concomitantly a person
has the responsibility to place limitations on
his own actions. These can be the only true
limitations, coming from within him.
What does such responsibility entail? It includes
recognition of the direct consequences of the
actions one takes, the effects and results on
people and things; inclusion of those direct consequences
as determinative factors in his decisions about actions;
and willingness to accept those consequences.
It may include: recognition of the indirect consequences
resulting to a person from the essentially arbitrary rules
which may exist concerning the action; and inclusion of
those indirect consequences as determinative factors in
And I suggest further: Laws were made to be
broken. If man possessed an infallible jUdgment
a superior conscience, we might trust his laws
but he has not evolved to this yet, and so our laws
and rules should be recognized only as approximate
guides to actions, as cumulative human evaluations
of actions, manifested however only in the indirect
consequences which they specify. Laws can never
include all possibilities; they may guide us, but
should not enslave us.
There are fundamental laws for human actions
perhaps; the Golden Rule may be an approximation.
It puts together in the same statement the two
principal impulses in man's behavior: selfishness
and altruism, apparently opposite, but equated in
the rule. It places the evaluation of the direct
consequences of one's actions in a light which
makes it most possible to make them a determinative
factor in one's decisions.
(originally published under the name of John Fitz)