Private Law - Clearly Unworkable
By Al Cronkrite The Covenant News ~ August 18, 2005
Robert P. Murphy, a professor at Hillsdale College, a Libertarian and a scholar at the Mises Institute has written an interesting monograph on "The Possibility of Private Law".
Murphy suggests that in an anarchic social order competition among various judges would result in those whose decisions produced "judicious" results being the most sought after. He dismisses the need for a uniform set of laws with a perfunctory "So what?", and., in what one must assume is a multi-cultural social order, would allow orthodox Jews to have a rabbi apply Mosaic Law while atheistic Libertarians would get to select their venue. In Mr. Murphy's paradise, somehow, no one appears to be forced to obey any law and only those laws that gain acceptance are ultimately enforceable. He writes that "He (the Judge) wants future customers to bring cases before him and they will be more likely to do so if his prior rulings are based on some type of judicial principles and are consistent with 'reasonable rulings' made by other judges."
I do not want to dismiss this monograph flippantly since Murphy has rightly underscored the horrendous condition of our judiciary and is on the right track in proposing an alternative system. However, I am always astounded at the naivety otherwise bright persons can demonstrate when they attempt to support an ardently held but untenable position.
The system being proposed would be a derivative of the much resisted situational ethics once popular but now seldom touted. Intrinsic in Murphy's argument is that free markets are a messianic panacea and that those who participate in them are righteous enough to produce justice and peace. Both assumptions are popular in these aberrant times but are dangerously erroneous and utopian.
What is astounding is that Murphy claims toward the end of the piece to be a Christian and cites his adamant belief in "natural law".
The dictionary defines natural law as "rules of conduct supposedly inherent in the relations between human beings and discoverable by reason; law based upon man's innate moral sense". However, the practical definition of natural law is less than specific and Murphy does not define his beliefs.
First, it would be hard to sustain a Biblical argument that the Christian God is anarchic or would consider the compatibility of such a philosophy. It would be considerably easier to determine a certain tyrannical element in His character. He is God and He demands pre-eminence and obedience.
For those of us who have apprehended the revelation that human judgment is hopelessly flawed, the idea that creatures floating in the deity of a Laissez Faire void could create a viable social structure is an incomprehensible concept. The inevitable result of human freedom devoid of an overarching legal structure is a Darwinian survival of the fittest that ultimately ends in tyranny. This is the single most salient fact of history.
C-Span recently ran a presentation by Stephen Walker promoting his book entitled "Shockwave: Countdown to Hiroshima". Those who propose allowing humanists to form their estimation of good government should take time to consider the depravity of some of the best minds of the mid-Twentieth Century. Walker related the existence of a committee formed to determine the target for the newly created atomic bomb. The committee members picked Hiroshima because it had been mostly untouched by previous conventional bombings and offered a virgin target for the mass annihilation of thousands of innocent civilian Japanese. Also, it is located between two mountains which the committee members felt would intensify the blast. One of the procedures discussed but not used was to attach a siren to the bomb so that those under it would look up and be permanently blinded by the initial flash.
Purveyors of abstract terror seldom experience the results of their depravity.
Free traders speak of the benefits to society of free trade but they do not live in the homes of workers forced from high paying jobs to those that produce only subsistence. They don't experience the loss of their homes, the divorces, the hungry children, the hat-in-hand job searches, and the stress involved in bringing about their utopian plans. They have a result in mind and are pragmatic enough to believe that the suffering of other human beings warrants it. While serving as Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration Madeline Albright stated that, the death of half a million Iraqi children warranted (Democracy?) whatever our goal is in that desecrated nation.
I have come to believe along with the Anarchists that creation of human government is a project worthy of Dr. Frankenstein. However, the conclusion I come to is quite different from that of the Libertarian Anarchists.
As I compare the legal structure that has developed here in America, it seems there was a concerted effort to incorporate laws that violated those of the initial Settlers. The church and the government seem to have gone seriously astray usurping God's throne and committed awful atrocities.
Churches give the Ten Commandments vague lip service but seldom serious practice. Government has long since forgotten God preferring the devilish deceptions of humanism.
Recently, Jack Alvis using the Ten Commandments sent me an interesting comparison between God's Law and Man's law.
1. Thou shalt have no other God's before me.
1. Thou shalt have all gods before the living triune God.
2 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image
2. Thou shalt make and worship any graven image of your choice
3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Thou shalt not respect the name of God.
4. Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.
4. Profane the Sabbath day to make unholy.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
5. Dishonor thy father and thy mother. Teach this in public schools and on
6. Thou shalt not murder.
6. Thou shalt murder and it is mandatory to protect the murderers of
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt indulge in any kind of sexual perversion that your heart
8. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt steal by taxation, public condemnation, shady business
practices and any other "legal" means.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt lie as long as you can get away with it and know what the
meaning of is is.
10. Thou shalt not covet.
10. Thou shalt covet all that you consider better than what you
Further, God's legal system involves the death penalty and retribution. Instead of following His wise mandates, we have installed man-made laws that involve a tortured, hellish imprisonment for the lower class and pristine living at taxpayer expense for the wealthy.
No, as history has so abundantly recorded man is born with an avaricious, dishonest, conniving nature. His ability to determine peaceful, righteous behavior is as distorted as his opinion that he is able to do so. That which man considers heroic is most often vile and his heroes evil men. God's legal provisions for His creation are a vital necessity to a free and orderly social order.