Perverted Law Causes Conflict

…that’s from Bastiat, The Law.

High Court Case Looms Large for Drugmakers – that’s from the Washington Post:

Diana Levine went to a medical clinic with a severe migraine headache. She wound up with gangrene and an amputated forearm, the victim of a rare side effect from a popular anti-nausea drug.

She sued and a jury in Vermont told those Pharma guys to give her $7.4 million. End of story? Not so fast:

The argument was the latest in an intensifying national debate over “preemption,” a doctrine under which companies can be shielded under federal law from state lawsuits. Business groups strongly favor preemption, while state regulators fear it hurts consumers.

National debate, huh. Half of the nation demands that companies are shielded from state lawsuits – is that what the good people at Washington Post tell me? I guess so.

Anyway, Frederic Bastiat was a funny Frenchman. Apropos those perverted laws he writes:

Is there any need to offer proof that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord; that it tends to destroy society itself? If such proof is needed, look at the United States. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property. As a consequence of this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order rests on a firmer foundation.

Written in 1850, a few years before the civil war. Though he does point out that slavery is a bit of a problem. Slavery and tariffs, everything else is perfect.


  1. Posted November 5, 2008 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    Yo not everyone has a Socialism addled brain with which to deduce whatever commie troll punchline that you are trying to infer .

  2. Posted November 5, 2008 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Why, there is no punchline.

    Perverted law causes conflict, that’s trivial.

    The way they use their “federal preemption” doctrine here to block perfectly good lawsuits appears to be a perfect example of it.

    And also I find it interesting that Bastiat, Marx of classical liberalism, perceives 1850’s US of A as the model for the rest of humanity and slavery as serious a problem as the tariffs.

    That’s all.

  3. Posted November 7, 2008 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    thought provoking

    Every time someone mentions Marx I think of Rosseau “Man is born free; and everywhere he is in chains” The Communist Manifesto is nothing more than an argument for submitting yourself to those chains from the beginning of a government. At least liberal thinking requires that society degrades to that point, and always by the People’s own hand. To me it’s the difference between self-determination and slavery. The difference between having good law perverted and starting out with perverted law.
    either way,
    Ski’s Law: If the government is big and centralized, you better believe that law is perverted.

    try my new metaphor, like a they are two separate dances.
    In Bastiat’s dance there is no set choreography. And if you have the
    inclination, you can add your part to it. This has the benefit
    that the best dancers are singled out. Their dances are imitated and
    they are followed
    and because of them all kinds of new dances are created and shared
    by everyone. It’s a very natural arrangement . And the end of this dance is rainbows.

    But Marx’s dance is totally different. This dance has a strict choreography
    (printed in a little red book incidentally). Not only that, but everybody is required to take part in this dance, in fact it is considered your duty to everybody else. But because of the strict regimen of the red book, making up new dances is considered selfish and the really good dancers mess up the regimen of the dance. this is poo.

    And obviously at some point both dances should consist of lots of the old ultraviolence

  4. Posted November 7, 2008 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Rousseau wrote:

    THE first man who, having enclosed a piece of ground, bethought himself of saying This is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. From how many crimes, wars and murders, from how many horrors and misfortunes might not any one have saved mankind, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, “Beware of listening to this impostor; you are undone if you once forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.” But there is great probability that things had then already come to such a pitch, that they could no longer continue as they were; for the idea of property depends on many prior ideas, which could only be acquired successively, and cannot have been formed all at once in the human mind. Mankind must have made very considerable progress, and acquired considerable knowledge and industry which they must also have transmitted and increased from age to age, before they arrived at this last point of the state of nature.

    …emphasis mine.

    So, yeah, one way or the other “everybody is required to take part in this dance” as you say. But it’s not because of Marx or crazy people who call themselves ‘communists’, it’s because, as Rousseau puts it, things can no longer continue as they are; because of “very considerable progress, and acquired considerable knowledge and industry”.

    Either you are (what you call) a ‘slave’, or you live alone on an island and the island is somehow missing from the maps.

  5. Posted November 7, 2008 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    you live alone on an island and the island is somehow missing from the maps.

    Yea I wish.

    I sort of meant the dance as a metaphor for production, not being part of society.
    But I most definitely am a ‘slave’. Does or does not almost half of what I make (income) get taken by the State? I don’t know about you but being compelled to give 50% to pay for wars of profit and socialist “bailouts” is anything but free.

    My point is that it’s a matter of degrees. A choice between a democratic system of taxation that is eventually going to become hard to bear and that of starting off the game by saying everything belongs to the State.

  6. Posted November 8, 2008 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I don’t pay taxes, and your taxes pay my salary. So, according to your model I am your slavemaster. Hello there.

    And yet most of the time I feel like a slave, having to get up in the morning, go to work, do all those stupid things my boss tells me to do. Go figure. In fact, I have to go work tomorrow, Saturday, and for no extra pay or comptime. Well, I might be able to get some comptime, I don’t know, but I probably won’t ask for it.

    You see, someone has got to do it, the stuff I do; and yet what I do can’t be sold.

    Hey, that’s the civil society thing Rousseau is talking about. And it looks like it’s going to be more and more like this; more specialization of labor, more complexity, interdependence, less individualism.

    I don’t think it’s necessarily so terrible if they take 50% or even 80% – as long as you get as much as it’s worth – or , hopefully, more than it’s worth – in return.

  7. Posted November 10, 2008 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Well master, I’m curious what do you do? I don’t believe it possible for there to be something that needs done that can’t be sold.

    And I see know reason that more interdependence (which I am for) means less individualism.

  8. Posted November 10, 2008 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Well, without getting into my particular situation, there are, of course, plenty of things that have to be done and can’t be sold. Just off the top my head – take snow removal, for example. Individuals will pay you to plow their driveways but they won’t pay you to plow the street. You could, of course, attempt to collect toll from every car and pedestrian using the street, but who is going to pay the toll collector? You could ask the residents for voluntary payments, but then you’ll have a problem with the free riders and the scheme is likely to fall apart eventually.

    Again, individualism works well on an island, or maybe even in a small town, but with things getting more and more integrated and complicated, collective efforts make more and more sense. Of course these efforts have to be reasonable, honest, and well-organized, but that’s a different issue.

  9. Posted November 10, 2008 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    You can sell it, just not to individuals. It’s the government, problem solved a long time ago. (and they obviously pay you, i don’t see the problem)

    The whole system of working together / individualism you put together is false. If what you say is true, then why do most people not even know more than a few of their neighbors? I think what you are calling inter-dependence is more like plain old dependence.

  10. Posted November 11, 2008 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    You were complaining that the state takes 50% of your income and you called is ‘slavery’, so I was trying to explain how it may (theoretically) make perfect sense for you to give the state a big chunk of your income.

    If you understand it, why were you complaining?

  11. Posted November 11, 2008 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t complaints?

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