[ExI] the law

Anton Sherwood bronto at pobox.com
Wed Aug 26 20:53:14 UTC 2020

James Donald stated an interesting criterion, which I will now misquote.
Suppose I attack you, stating my reason for doing so.  If bystanders 
feel threatened by this -- that is, if my attacking you for reason X 
gives them cause to fear that I'm likely to attack them for a similar 
reason -- I'm probably in the wrong.

Someone else (I forget who) argued that the point of formal litigation, 
at least in a stateless society (think Iceland), is to demonstrate to 
the world that, if I use force to (e.g.) seize property that you stole 
from me, I am not the aggressor and bystanders need not fear that I will 
do the same to them.

People often say, "If there were no laws, what would restrain me from 
murdering on whim?"  Perhaps others' freedom to kill you in turn.

An anecdote wants to climb out of my mental junkyard; maybe one of you 
knows some details.  In a small city (in Missouri?) there was a 
notorious bully who got away with numerous violent crimes, despite not 
having a police badge; perhaps he was related to someone in authority. 
When he was shot dead on a busy street in daylight, nobody saw who did 
it.  Either the shooter picked a moment when all the passers-by happened 
to be looking away, or they were all satisfied that the act was not a 
threat to anyone else.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Athens_(1946)

Some of my thoughts on ethics 'n' stuff:

Custom is evolutionary.

*\\*  Anton Sherwood  *\\*  www.bendwavy.org

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