The Bill of Rights is Worthless

Every “law” of “government” is a threat of violence, either commanding someone to do something, or prohibiting someone from doing something. The underlying attitude and message of the ruling class is always, “Obey, or else!” Sometimes it’s worth asking, “or else what?” Knowing the exact “penalty” the thugs of the state will try to impose on you for disobeying various decrees can help you decide when it’s worth the risk.

The parasites count on the deterrent effect that comes from the threat of punishment to control people’s behavior, at least to some extent. Without a specific “or else” part, a “law” would just be a suggestion. “You’re not allowed to do that! But if you do, we’re not going to do anything to you anyway.” What would that deter? Nothing.

And that is why the “Bill of Rights” is essentially worthless: there is no “or else” built into it. A piece of parchment says that the Feds aren’t supposed to violate various individual rights. So what? It prescribes no actual punishment for those who disobey, so why would that be a deterrent? When, for example, the CIA gets caught (again) illegally spying on Americans, in violation of the Fourth Amendment, what will happen to those responsible? Nothing. When cops commit highway robbery–literally–under the guise of “civil asset forfeiture,” in obvious violation of the “due process” clause of the Fifth Amendment, what happens to them? They get rewarded. When the Feds pass a myriad of laws interfering with things that are not under Federal jurisdiction, in violation of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, what happens to them? Nothing.

And yet so many people still revere the inherently ludicrous arrangement, and expect it to preserve freedom. It’s like having a street gang that says, “You do whatever we say, or we beat the crap out of you. However, we’re not allowed to be too sadistic towards you, and if we are, we will decide how (and whether) to punish ourselves for it.” No one should be surprised at how that turns out.

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Larken Rose is an anarchist author best known for challenging the IRS to answer questions about the federal tax liability of citizens, and being put in prison with no questions answered. He is the author of The Most Dangerous Superstition.