Comment: still here

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In reply to comment: I think the legitimacy of laws (see in situ)

still here

I guess this has just been here "speaking for itself" with no response. Let's look at what Bill3 has to say here.

> I think the legitimacy of laws derives from the fact that
> the enforcing body or group is the only source of justice
> in the first place.

Really? You're going to say that? OK.

By that reasoning, the demands of the mafia are perfectly legitimate.

Luigi comes to Mr. Cheng's Chinese Restaurant and says: Mr. Cheng, we have a new law. You need to give us 30% of whatever people pay you for your Chinese food. If you don't do it, the members of my enforcing body are going to show up here and break your legs and burn down your restaurant.

Mr. Cheng looks around, and as far as he can see, Luigi and his group are the only enforcing body in sight. They are there in the first place, i.e., they are there first. Therefore, according to Bill3 (currently Mencken's supposed ghost) this is all completely legitimate, and Mr. Cheng should just submit to Luigi's authority.

Anticipated response from Bill3: But I said the enforcing body or group was a source of *justice*.

Ah yes, but you didn't say what "justice" means. Therefore, that part of what you are saying turns out to be just empty rhetoric. In point of fact, "justice" under this scenario of "whichever group is enforcing in the first place" is whatever the enforcing group says it is. In this case, justice is simply the hope that Luigi and his thugs don't show up and break Cheng's legs and burn his restaurant.

And this provides a very accurate description of how your governmental systems work in practice.

Is it really worth going into more details? I think the basic assertion given up front sort of says it all. The laws are legitimate because they are mandated by the group that is there in the first place.

Actually, one should perhaps mention the technical point that groups don't enforce anything. It is an individual (in this case Luigi) who delivers the mandate, and it will be certain individuals who enforce the justice as well, i.e., break Cheng's legs and burn his restaurant. So that part just doesn't make any real sense, but we know what Bill3 means.

It really just speaks for itself. I guess that's why no one responded. I'm sorry that I'm sort of a silly simple person and decided that it needed a little elaboration, after sleeping on it.

I could even go on to the next sentence:

> On your own, you have only your own force or might,
> or what you can hire.

That seems to be quite obvious. That is my situation now, and it's not so bad. I don't have any desire to have more force or might than that. Why should I? Even that much might be far too much force and might if I had control of enough resources and I decided to misuse them, i.e., use them immorally. In that case, the fewer resources and the weaker I am, the better it would be.

In view of these facts, it is clear that I should work to make sure there is no accumulation of resources in the hands of people with evil intent. In fact, wouldn't we all do well to work to that end?

How does such an aspiration and responsibility square with the following proposal?

Proposal: We should designate a certain group (Luigi and his thugs for example) to be *legitimate rulers*.

Better yet, if some people claim there is such a group of legitimate rulers (even if we never decided to designate them as such or even if they are claiming it for themselves), then we should agree and follow all their laws.

Does that sound like a good idea?

How does it relate to our responsibility to prevent the accumulation of resources in the hands of people with evil intent?

Do we have any examples?