What is a legitimate state? If you’ve been with this blog for the last couple of years, you’ll probably have encountered that question in a variety of forms. [stderr] It’s not as simple as it seems.
When you get properly tangled up in this question, you wind up with an answer that almost always has something to do with the consent of the governed (making the state an emergent property of public consensus) or the successful implementation of a body of just laws.
None of that ought to inspire worship of the laws. They’re just a bunch of words on paper, and they ought to be periodically re-examined to see if they still represent the collective bargaining of The People. That’s the contractarian view of state legitimacy: we see the laws as an emergent capture of the popular will, re-framed and constrained so that certain things are not definable as accepted under the popular will. In the US, for example, we cannot (under the constitution’s 14th amendment) have a law that treats muslims unfairly. Ha, ha, ha, hee, hee hee, sorry, I try to keep a straight face but it’s hard.
Here’s a weird thing about America: the country’s founding principles are libertarian/anarchist, in spite of the fact that they are mostly bullshit. In principle the laws are constrained by checks and balances – i.e.: if someone passed a bad law, the legal system itself would be used to dissect and negate the law. A cynic (do we have any of those in the room?) would recognize all of that as a scam intended to get the public to sit down and shut up long enough for the screwing to occur. But a less fortunate or less thoughtful person might have grown up under such relentless propaganda that they actually fall for that line of reasoning. That’s how we get armies of people on Facebook and elsewhere saying things like “those immigrants were breaking the law!” thereby according the law entirely too much deference: it’s just an emergent property of the popular will, right? It’s not something handed down on clay tablets written by Cecil B. DeMille. The law is changeable; that is implicit in the fundamentalists’ attempts to re-write the nation’s abortion laws. Have you noticed that their fellow ‘conservatives’ aren’t telling them, “hey, it’s the law so suck it up, buttercup, and stop complaining”? It’s built into the notion of the laws that they have no particular moral value* – just work to change them back, and do it fairly without anyone’s thumb on the scales of democratic enquiry.
Never mind that the American christians have had their thumb on the scales that established US law, all along. I find it oddly amusing that many Americans today are literally foaming at the mouth about “Sharia Law” when many of the things that islamic law stipulates are right in line with traditional christian jurisprudence and values like homophobia, misogyny, slavery, judicial murder, etc. I hope nobody tells the poor deluded christians that the muslims are their natural allies against atheism and rationality; they might make an effective political alliance.
In the meantime, if we could sit back and enjoy the spectacle, it would be almost funny. The authoritarian wing of American politics has been forced to drop the pretense that they actually have any sort of moral justification, at all, and they’re having to deal with the moral relativism inherent in their own position. Wait, what? Oh, let me amuse you: they didn’t realize that the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” just re-opened all of the deep rifts that led to the reformation and the 30 years, 100 years wars, and countless crusades and pogroms. It’s saying that the individual can claim their personal conscience supercedes the laws, if their interpretation of their faith is different from the law, and the judge has to help work it out. By the way, that is also sharia law, but let’s give credit where it’s due, to that old nihilist Martin Luther.
It would almost be funny, if it weren’t so serious. In the meantime, let’s all make sure we tag them as heavily as possible with the moral nihilism that they are engaging in – let’s point out that they have ceded pretending to hold any moral high ground at all and have resorted to the most earthly, corrupt, political chicanery and wheeling-dealing. After all, if you believed that god hated abortion, why didn’t you sit back and let him rig the election for you? Instead, you tried to rig the election, yourselves and were a bunch of ham-fisted amateurs. Enjoy your felony convictions, those of you who get them! Oh, and they broke the law – which, you know, justifies bringing the weight of the state down on them in the fullest, most cruel possible way.
There’s one great big law-breaker whose family deserves to be broken up and scattered, but they’re all protected by submachinegun-toting secret service agents.** So instead let me ask oh-so-seriously why these guys haven’t been arrested yet, and their families deported: [alternet]
Colorado sheriffs say they’ll go to jail rather than enforce controversial ‘red flag’ gun control law
Jail? Fuck it. Throw them over the wall to Mexico. They like cops that won’t obey the law.
Wait, what’s that you say, “no, they don’t”? Shoot. Put ’em on a plane to Russia; they’ll get their belly full of authoritarianism there. But. rather obviously, they don’t like the laws of the US and are prepared to disobey them. So sad. Fire them. Maybe the Secret Service is hiring.
We’ll break it down in more detail below, but the basic idea is that this law, effective Jan. 1, 2020, will allow law enforcement, family members, and roommates to appeal for an individual’s firearms to temporarily be removed, for their own protection and general public safety. CNN reports that fourteen other states (plus D.C.) have passed similar legislation
Wait, what?! The Colorado cops have stated, publicly, that they will prefer for one of their buddies to encounter a possible deranged person and get killed, rather than enforce the law? I am sure that all the ‘conservatives’ who masturbate whenever someone reminds them of how authoritarian Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, will support the governor just firing all the cops. They can hire migrants.
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams disagrees so much with a gun bill making its way through the Colorado legislature that he’s willing to go to jail rather than enforce it.
“It’s a matter of doing what’s right,” he said.
Today, roughly half of the counties in the state are calling themselves “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” (Yes, really.) As reported by CNN, sheriffs across the state have declared that they'[d rather go to jail than enforce this new legislation. Their argument is they believe it is unconstitutional.
That’s not “moral relativism” that’s moral irrelevancy. Call me, Colorado, I have a fix for your problem. You need better cops.
* Good thing, too, or we’d have to watch people trying to morally justify the US’ vast history of legislation that looks pretty damn immoral across the chasm of a remarkably short time-interval.
** Wait until those praetorians turn on you, as praetorians always do.
Does anyone want to bet against me that those “second amendment sanctuaries” are predominantly white areas?