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Jan 25 2013

Friday Freethought: “Laws spring from the instinct of self-preservation”

Lawyer cat considers ten catmandments instead

One thing one learns from reading the works of 19th century freethinkers is that the arguments of the religious haven’t changed. That being so, when theocrats like Alabama high court buffoon Roy Moore spout bullshit like “most of what we do in court comes from some Scripture or is backed by Scripture,” we don’t have to come up with a fresh argument of our own. All we have to do is heave a small sigh, take down Volume II of the complete works of the Great Agnostic, and turn the page to the following. Take it away, Robert Ingersoll:

It has been contended for many years that the Ten Commandments are the foundation of all ideas of justice and of law. Eminent jurists have bowed to popular prejudice, and deformed their works by statements to the effect that the Mosaic laws are the fountains from which sprang all ideas of right and wrong. Nothing can be more stupidly false than such assertions. Thousands of years before Moses was born, the Egyptians had a code of laws. They had laws against blasphemy, murder, adultery, larceny, perjury, laws for the collection of debts, the enforcement of contracts, the ascertainment of damages, the redemption of property pawned, and upon nearly every subject of human interest. The Egyptian code was far better than the Mosaic.

Laws spring from the instinct of self-preservation. Industry objected to supporting idleness, and laws were made against theft. Laws were made against murder, because a very large majority of the people have always objected to being murdered. All fundamental laws were born simply of the instinct of self-defence. Long before the Jewish savages assembled at the foot of Sinai, laws had been made and enforced, not only in Egypt and India, but by every tribe that ever existed.

It is impossible for human beings to exist together, without certain rules of conduct, certain ideas of the proper and improper, of the right and wrong, growing out of the relation. Certain rules must be made, and must be enforced. This implies law, trial and punishment. Whoever produces anything by weary labor, does not need a revelation from heaven to teach him that he has a right to the thing produced. Not one of the learned gentlemen who pretend that the Mosaic laws are filled with justice and intelligence, would live, for a moment, in any country where such laws were in force.

We are so very done here. Be a dear and play Justice Moore off, won’t you, Keyboard Cat?

 

2 comments

  1. 1
    rq

    Ah, Keyboard Kitty, the perfect accompaniment to old and still-incoherent arguments (not aimed at Robert Ingersoll). You rock, pianocat. So do you, Mr. Ingersoll.

  2. 2
    idonotknow

    “Not one of the learned gentlemen who pretend that the Mosaic laws are filled with justice and intelligence, would live, for a moment, in any country where such laws were in force.”

    ^this

    I often think that if we could somehow force people to live by their stated beliefs, then we would see much more sensible beliefs take hold. I don’t mind the idiocy so much as the hypocrisy.

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