Always Has Been

In one of his customary well-reasoned comments, Longtime Reader GMC makes this statement (discussing this post):

“If citizens do not have faith that the State will hold up its end of the social contract, they will take matters into their own hands.”

Will, and should.

My only corollary to this is a reminder that in answer to all those who wail about people “taking the law into their own hands” (not the same as the above, but parallel to it), we have to note that the law has never left our hands.  The law is not the sole preserve of lawyers and judges, but of the People in general (a point that GMC likewise addresses in his comment about jury nullification).  Likewise, the enforcement of the law is deputized by the People to agents of the State — and if said agents are incapable of or unwilling to perform that responsibility, the the People have not only a right but a duty to take the enforcement back into their own hands.

The law belongs to us, We The People, not to all its priests and Sanhedrin, and even less so to its enforcers — despite all their delusions to the contrary.


  1. An interesting point in the Legal Insurrection article was the role of criminal gangs in protecting the public.

    They were not, of course, intending to protect the public, but rather were protecting their turf. To the extent they protected the public it was only to protect themselves and their immediate families and to continue to extract money from the general public.

    But the underlying point is that Mafiosi have their uses. That must be or or they would not thrive as they do. They can be a private army, but armies must be paid.

    We live in strange times when doing a deal with Tony Soprano is safer than dealing with the FBI.

  2. Well said, Kim. And if gun limitations/enforcement ever truly gets well and going, we may well find out the limits or willingness of that nullification.

    Question: Say Joe Smith, an otherwise law-abiding soul is charged with possessing an otherwise relatively normal firearm. He is in federal court, and the Government is attempting to prosecuting him for said possession. He is to be the sacrificial lamb, the object lesson for all of us rubes.

    1) How willing are Americans to nullify and acquit? Will they even be informed they have that power? See Amon Bundy, for example.
    2) If YOU are on that voir dire panel, and the question comes up as to whether you would follow the law as instructed by the Court (and you will get such an instruction), what do you say? When the question is asked during voir dire by the prosecutor – and it will be – and you say you might follow your conscience or a higher Constitutional law, you will be removed from the jury panel. If you say you will follow the law, no matter what, when you would consider nullification, and then vote to acquit – to nullify – well, you are committing perjury (though extremely unlikely to be prosecuted). What do you do?

    A significant factor of Americans’ willingness to abide by the law is the perception that the law is fair and equally applied. If the public gets to the point that they don’t believe there is one law applicable to all, they are much less likely to abide by it. And we are nearly there, if not already at the tipping point. It’s already quite clear that for those at the top of the political/privilege mountain, the law doesn’t apply. See Hillary Clinton, James Clapper, Jim Comey, Hunter BIden, etc. that’s not new; in every society, ever, those with money and connections have always been to some extent “above the law.” It’s just that in this country we make such a claim that we are not like that. If our claim that “no one is above the law” becomes broadly recognized as laughably ridiculous, well, will we abide by a law that is not seen as reasonably fair and equally applied? How long before the answer to that is that we no longer abide by the law when it does not suit us?

    Frankly, all of us, each and every one, have a line we will not cross. A law we will not obey. We may not have thought about it yet, but we all have them. For some, we are getting dangerously close to hitting that line.

    1. Re: Point #2 – “Your Honor, during voir dire I believed that I would have no problem following the law as instructed by the court. However, as deliberations progressed I came to the conclusion that the law as applied was both unconstitutional and in conflict with my conscience, and was unable to do anything other than aquit.”

      I agree that we each have our own uncrossable line – I believe I know where mine is. There are actions the state would take where the outcome for me would be the same whether I do nothing, or actively resist. Under those conditions, why not resist?

  3. “We, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union….”
    THIS is the law I will follow, and may God help the NaySayers.

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