The Obsolescence of Legality

in Anarchismlast year (edited)

The internet as we know it was born in 1991 when the CERN software by Tim Berners-Lee was first released to other research institutions and then the general public. Over the past three decades, as people took these ideas and built new things online, the obsolescence of the legal infrastructure already in place around the world was laid bare. Patents, copyrights, licenses, monetary regulation, corporate structure, and more has been undermined by this tool of global interconnectedness, and governments have no clue how to respond.

Lawmakers gotta make laws, though, so they try nonetheless. As technology expands by leaps and bounds, lobbyists and legislators plod through their bureaucratic processes trying to dictate how their subjects will be allowed to use these new tools. By the time laws are published, the world of tech has advanced several steps ahead of where legislation was targeted, but these laws must be enforced regardless.

The music and film recording industry were content with the old system. Corporate fat cats decided what people would see and hear. They decided what prices would be. They dictated terms for radio, television, and physical media. But then Napster and Limewire disrupted their system and overturned the applecart. Some bands have embraced the decentralized opportunities of modern streaming services and crowdfunding to cut out the corporate middleman, but the inertia of perceived normality carries the big names along as they try to get ahead of this runaway train of freedom.

Cryptocurrency can blend with existing online marketplaces to almost completely usurp national currencies in online exchange. Central banks fear this challenge to their regional monopolies, though, and they demand legislation to regulate progress into oblivion. Now various blockchains are being declared "securities" while use of privacycoins are condemned as inherent proof of criminal intent. The busybodies demand access to everything, after all.

Of course, all of this is old news to the gun community. Governments have been trying to control firearm freedom by redefining and regulating everything they can since the 1930s. The crime wave brought on by prohibition and then the Great Depression was blamed on firearm technology, not government failure, and the National Firearms Act of 1934 was the first in a long train of arbitrary mandates that turned innocent people into "criminals" by mere legislative fiat.

Alcohol prohibition was another example of busybody control freaks trying to decide how society should function, although it wasn't nearly the same kind of corporate pandering later laws would become. Drug prohibition was pushed almost as soon as alcohol prohibition ended, and many industrial benefits are alleged as hemp was pushed out of the market just as petroleum was starting to make progress with synthetic fibers, the drug industry was starting to synthesize all manner of medications, and law enforcement goons were in need of busy work. Now we have the highest incarceration rate in the world in the "land of the free."

Laws are justified as protecting us from ourselves, and any abuse is claimed to be accidental and incidental. However, real crimes are easy to define, and our tradition of jury trials was intended to handle special circumstances though common sense. Life, liberty, and property define the sphere of individual authority and the point of trespass. Murder, assault, battery, theft, rape, and other blatant crimes do not require thousands of pages of legislation. They can be addressed in plain language with little effort, even if lawyers get involved. However, special interests, Karens, and personal prejudice all drive participants in the political system to grab more and more power all the time, and each overreach is a trespass against us.

Legality does not define morality. Legality has no concern about reason. Legality is a threat of violence against any who dissent or disobey. Any argument using legality as a premise is fundamentally broken. This doesn't mean legality won't be used to justify abuse, though, so be careful with your subversion, but subvert at every opportunity nonetheless if freedom means anything to you.