Tag Archives: Bastiat

Ultimate Evil?

Our youngest son, an Army Sergeant, sent us a link to the Kony2012 video about Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony that’s been viewed more than 100 million times on the Internet. This was the first we had heard of this particular video. The film was in production in November 2011 so we are not so very “out of it” not to have heard of it before now.

The premise of the Jason Russell video seems to paint Kony as an ultimate evil. The documentarian formed a friendship with an African boy who fled his village and family to live in a dormitory to escape kidnapping by this madman. He also brings in his own young son and seems to be promising to make the world a safe place for children by getting Kony arrested.

Kony did great evil in Uganda. Boys were forced to kill their own parents and mutilate others who would not support him. Evidence of these killings and mutilation are in the film. It also shows the sad conditions in the dormitory were the boy refugees live.

More than one Ugandan group claims this video should be pulled because it distorts the issues surrounding Kony. Angelina Jolie claims the real criminals are the US-backed established government of Uganda, though the video promotes continuing US support. Others call for Jolie’s execution as a traitor. It is a highly polarizing issue. We know that much for certain.

It is clear that Kony is now in hiding, no longer even in Uganda. He has 300 or fewer kidnapped child soldiers still under his influence. Ugandans who saw the film hurtled objects at the screen in protest. They say it is a picture of Uganda that is out of date and does not do justice to the victims of this evil. They claim it portrays a white man as the only one who can come to the rescue of black people.

The filmmaker protests that if anything like this ever happened in New Jersey it would be taken care of immediately, but that we are ignoring the situation in Africa. Gang initiations, intimidations and virtual abductions, in New Jersey and elsewhere, are not “being taken care of,” so this is not a valid argument. The film, however, has done a good work in raising awareness of a serious problem in Africa, even if it has done it imperfectly.

But the real point is that this is occurring all over the world in different circumstances. Girls are sold as sex slaves in Thailand. Female babies are aborted, killed and abandoned in China under a one-child per family system. Women in Muslim countries are stoned and both sexes murdered for dissent. Human beings become drug test guinea pigs in psychiatric studies when their real “sickness” or “crime” is disagreeing with their country’s government.

Kony is evil. But he is only one of many people who kidnaps, murders and pillages. Murders under communism’s leaders worldwide probably defy numbering at this point. Stalin, Pol Pot, Hugo Chavez, Ho Chi Mihn, Mao, Lenin, Marx, Khmer Rouge, and the list goes on. Why are these and contemporary murderers ignored in favor of this one evil?

As Bastiat says in his “The Law, “To understand the problem is to know the solution.” Kony was not the world’s first warlord, nor will he be the last. Many predict that as soon as he is removed, someone else will take his place. Slavery has been around for thousands of years and will still be here when we are no longer alive. The problem is that evil men use the law for plunder. This attracts more evil men to positions of power. When the law is only used for justice, not plunder, then evil men will not desire political office because they cannot profit from it.

Warlords exist because there are personal gains. When the opportunity for personal gain is cut off and justice is enforced, then the invisible children around the world will no longer be kidnapped.

The purpose of the law is to enforce justice. Kony is just one small example of a worldwide crisis of the breakdown of law and government. To agitate for the removal of a single warlord will accomplish nothing, though the warlords and others like them need to be removed. The profit motive, the rewards for perverting justice, must be removed.

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The Law by Claude Frédéric Bastiat

(originally published in French in 1850)

Over 99% of everything ever written is not worth reading. Of those higher quality works which contribute to spiritual growth, more than 99% of those are only worth reading once. A tiny number are worthy of a second or third look. The Law, a tiny book of less than 50 pages, falls into the rarest of categories. Read and reread until its principles become part of you. It should be a textbook in schools. And it is free as an e-book! Unlike a normal book review, this little more than a collection of quotes.

“The law perverted! The law- and, in its wake, all the collective forces of the nation.The law, I say, not only diverted from its proper direction, but made to pursue one entirely contrary!”

“It is not because men have made laws, that personality, liberty, and property exist. On the contrary, it is because personality, liberty, and property exist beforehand, that men make laws. What then, is law? As I have said elsewhere, it is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.”

“God has bestowed upon every one of us the right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property…”

“The law has been perverted through the influence of two very different causes – bare egotism and false philanthropy.”

“Now, labor being in itself a pain, and man being naturally inclined to avoid pain, if follows, and history proves it, that wherever plunder is less burdensome than labor, it prevails; and neither religion nor morality can, in this case, prevent it from prevailing.”

“When does plunder cease, then? When it becomes less burdensome and more dangerous than labor.”

“It would be impossible, therefore, to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this – the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.”

“The delusion of the day is to enrich all classes at the expense of each other; it is to generalize plunder under pretence of organizing it. Now, legal plunder may be exercised in an infinite multitude of ways.”

“…the true solution, so much sought after of the social problem, is contained in these simple words – LAW IS ORGANIZED JUSTICE.”

“Here I am encountering the most popular prejudice of our time. It is not considered enough that law should be just, it must be philanthropic.” “This is the fascination side of socialism.”

“The Socialists say, since the law organizes justice, why should it not organize labor, instruction, and religion? Why? Because it could not organize labor, instruction, and religion, without disorganizing justice.”

Socialists “divide mankind into two parts. Men in general, except one, form the first; the politician himself forms the second, which is by far the most important.”

“Whilst mankind tends to evil, they incline to good; whilst mankind is advancing towards darkness, they are aspiring to enlightenment; whilst mankind is drawn towards vice, they are attracted by virtue.”

As Frédéric Bastiat pointed out in his 1849 The Law, when the majority of those who make a country work are convinced the Law has been subverted to the point where there is no hope, there are only two possible choices. People will either stop working seeing that the government will take the fruits of their labors or there will be armed revolt.

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