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We ‘want’ them broken

Hat tip to Aristotle the Geek for this one.

”You honest men are such a problem and such a headache. But we know you’d slip sooner or later—and this is just what we wanted.”
”You seem to be pleased about it.”
”Don’t I have good reason to be?”
”But, after all, I did break one of your laws.”
”Well, what do you think they’re for?”
Dr. Ferris did not notice the sudden look on Rearden’s face, the look of a man hit by the first vision of that which he had sought to see. Dr. Ferris was past the stage of seeing; he was intent upon delivering the last blows to an animal caught in a trap.
”Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against—then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted—and you create a nation of law-breakers—and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Categories: law
  1. Mansi
    October 21, 2009 at 11:25 am

    “If men want to oppose war, it is statism that they must oppose.”

    • October 21, 2009 at 11:32 am

      Us pseudo-libertarians oppose statism on principle!

      In fact I oppose everything that I can 🙂

  2. October 21, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I do not think AR captures truths, she wants to frame issues to make them fit her perspective. This is good conspiracy theory, but I don’t buy it.
    She had an axe to grind against “collectivism”, and she’d frame it in whatever way that made it easier for her to hit it.

    • Mansi
      October 21, 2009 at 12:14 pm

      AR writes philosophical fiction => she frames the story to illustrate her philosophy.

    • October 21, 2009 at 6:55 pm

      She is like Fox news for academia 😉

      In all seriousness though, she makes a good point. How else would you do it?! She writes fiction, she has no obligation to be “real”.

  3. October 25, 2009 at 11:37 am

    We are the society and we make the law. How did we make ’em to start with and why? Surely, to suit our “then” needs and convictions. Fortunately or unfortunately, man has evolved in his conscience and his basic nature of dealing with the dynamics of the nature around us, that he no longer thinks that all of these laws need to be followed(to a certain extent) all the time. In essence, they need to be amended, then, maybe there might not be that many crimes, eh? True value of society is to keep us (who make the society) live together and function in peace and harmony. So if the need for the 21st century is to cause a minor renaissance and change the laws to suit the new needs, then be it. Why is there such an inertia to not undergo this change (for now and) for the near future? Someone high up in the “law” ladder needs to answer. The result of change would definitely lead to less ill-legal actions or “crimes”, the latter as they are perceived today, since they break the rules of today!

    • October 25, 2009 at 10:55 pm


      Don’t you think Dr. Ferris is the archetype of the “someone high up in the ‘law’ ladder”?

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