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The Violence of Laws (1900)

Now available thanks to DFW ALL at DFW Alliance of the Libertarian Left:

What is legislation? And what enables people to make laws?

According to science, legislation is the expression of the will of the whole people; but as those who break the laws, or who wish to break them, and only refrain from fear of being punished, are always more numerous than those who wish to carry out the code, it is evident that legislation can certainly not be considered as the expression of the will of the whole people.

For instance, there are laws about not injuring telegraph posts, about showing respect to certain people, about each man performing military service or serving as a juryman, about not taking certain goods beyond a certain boundary, or about not using land considered the property of some one else, about not making money tokens; not using articles which are considered to be the property of others, and about many other matters.

All these laws and many others are extremely complex, and may have been passed from the most diverse motives, but not one of them expresses the will of the whole people. There is but one general characteristic of all these laws, namely, that if any man does not fulfill them, those who have made them will send armed men, and the armed men will beat, deprive of freedom, or even kill the man who does not fulfill the law.

If a man does not wish to give as taxes such part of the produce of his labour as is demanded of him, armed men will come and take from him what is demanded, and if he resists he will be beaten, deprived of freedom, and sometimes even killed. The same will happen to a man who begins to make use of land considered to be the property of another. The same will ...

Read the whole thing at DFW Alliance of the Libertarian Left.

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