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Frederic Bastiat

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"When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in a society, over the course of time they create for themselves a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it."
--
Economic sophisms, 2nd series (1848), ch. 1 Physiology of plunder ("Sophismes économiques", 2?me série (1848), chap. 1 "Physiologie de la spoliation").

 
Frederic Bastiat

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The messages of the prophets are essentially indictments of Israel for breach of covenant. They preserved some memory of the old traditions, but were not so naive as to think that the literal demands of the old law would be adequate in their own times. There is no condemnation of the stratification of society as such, rather a condemnation of the injustice and extortion which was done by the powerful. To take a specific example, the old law knew as security for a loan only the pledge (Exod. 22:26). In a simple economy, loans were evidently of an amount which would usually be adequately secured by giving to the creditor some property to hold until the loan was repaid. In case of default, the debtor's property simply reverted to the creditor. No other form of security is presupposed in the Covenant Code, and it is specifically forbidden that an Israelite be a "creditor" to one of his fellows. Already in the reign of Saul the situation had changed, Those who gathered about David as outlaws included those who had "creditors" (I Sam. 22:2), and who therefore had to flee. Under the old pledge system of security there would be no possible occasion for flight from the community in case of default. A totally different legal doctrine had come into practice whereby the person of the debtor was security for a loan. Upon default the creditor could seize him (or his family) as a slave, possibly without any legal action at all. The only alternative to slavery would have been flight. This doctrine is identical to that of Babylonian law, and no doubt of the Canaanites as well. It is in the law of the monarchy that Canaanite influence is doubtless to be posited, but it is a legal tradition in total contradiction to the customs and morality of early Israel. Amos protested violently against the way the legal doctrine was practiced, as did most of the prophets (Am. 2:6; Hos. 12:8-9; Mic. 2:1-2). The later lawcodes illustrate beautifully the way in which the early traditions, and the needs of business were brought into harmony. The older pledge system was simply inadequate for a commercial economy; and if the person of the debtor was to be protected, so also must the rights of the creditor to some security for his loan to be guaranteed. Therefore, Deuteronomy and the Holiness Code (Lv. 17-26) accept the doctrine of bodily liability, but place restrictions upon the powers of the creditor over the defaulting debtor. In the Holiness Code he is not to be treated as a slave, nor given the legal status of a slave, but rather to be as a hired laborer.

 
George E. Mendenhall
 

My social conscience is fairly limited in a lot of ways; there's not much I'm angry about that doesn't affect me quite directly. But the prison system- not particularly capital punishment- but the penal system as it is, and the whole apparatus of judgement, people deciding on other people's fates... that does irritate, and upset me quite a lot. What angers me about the system goes beyond the unreliability of "proof"... it's that the way criminals are dealt with has nothing to do with rehabilitation and readjusting people who've stepped outside society's norms. The same goes for mental institutions and so forth. But it's also the very idea of someone being judged "criminal" or "insane" because they're unable to fit into what a corrupt society considers "social" or "sociable".

 
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"Life" in this "society" being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of "society" being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and eliminate the male sex.

 
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The Pythagoreans called the monad "intellect" because they thought that intellect was akin to the One; for among the virtues, they likened the monad to moral wisdom; for what is correct is one. And they called it "being," "cause of truth," "simple," "paradigm," "order," "concord," "what is equal among the greater and the lesser," "the mean between intensity and slackness," "moderation in plurality," "the instant now in time," and moreover they call it "ship," "chariot," "friend," "life," "happiness."

 
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Men banded together in a criminal conspiracy, business aggregations that prey upon the public while serving it, political machines held together by the interest of plunder, are included. If it is said that such organizations are not societies because they do not meet the ideal requirements of the notion of society, the answer, in part, is that the conception of society is made so "ideal" as to be of no use, having no reference to facts; and in part, that each of these organizations, no matter how opposed to the interests of other groups, has something of the praiseworthy qualities of "Society" which hold it together.

 
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