San Juan Mountains

San Juan Mountains
San Juan Mountains: Grenadier Range

Friday, September 23, 2016

Let Us Adopt Massachusetts Colonial Law

I have a national constitutional amendment item for your consideration.  Since elitists in most states of the Socialist Democracy of Amerika now use the constitutional amendment referendum as a means to create law that is then shoved down the throats of unsuspecting citizens, I believe it is high time to do the same thing on the national level.  The cowardly career politicians who populate the legislative branch of the federal government are unwilling to do what needs to be done to establish a legal system that is just and fair.  If we have any hope of obtaining justice in this immoral and idolatrous country it must come from the sovereign voice of the people as we establish a law system that protects individual rights and punishes the immoral perpetrators of sins and crimes.  And what better source for this almost utopian law can be found other than "The Book of the General Laws and Liberties Concerning the Inhabitants of Massachusetts," published and enacted in 1648?
I want a legal code that is simple and easy to understand.  The Book, as I shall refer to it, is only 16 pages long.  I want a legal code that describes both my freedoms (liberties) and my crimes.  The Book gives me both.  I want a legal code that is grounded in Amerikan history and that functioned with seamless efficiency for over a hundred years.  The Book gives me those two qualities.  I want a code of law that does not grant special privileges to various groups but treats everyone equally.  The Book gives me that system.  The introduction to the Book states, "If any of you meet with some law that seems not to tend to your particular benefit, you must consider that laws are made with respect to the whole people, and not to each particular person: and obedience to them must be yielded with respect to the common welfare, not to thy private advantage,..."   Sound good to you?  Then let us proceed and examine some of the particulars of the legal code we desperately need to adopt as our own.
The Book is arranged topically and in alphabetical order.  The first topic addressed is what to do with those evil and pernicious Anabaptists.  They were starting to swarm all over the colony, teaching their heretical doctrines and engaging in their apostate practices everywhere they went.  Quite wisely the law proscribes how they should be treated when it said, "It is therefore ordered by this Court & Authority thereof, that if any person or persons within this Jurisdiction shall either openly condemn or oppose the baptizing of Infants, or go about secretly to seduce others from the approbation or use thereof, or shall purposely depart the Congregation at the administration of that Ordinance; or shall deny the Ordinance of Magistrates, or their lawful right or authority to make war, or to punish the outward breaches of the first Table, and shall appear to the Court willfully and obstinately to continue therein, after due means of conviction, every such person or persons shall be sentenced to Banishment."
Did you get all that?  Anyone who denies the validity and propriety of infant baptism is to be banished. Furthermore, anyone who denies the right of the civil government to wage war must be banished.  Most importantly, anyone who denied the right and the responsibility of the civil government to enforce sanctions against violations of the First Table of the Law must be banished.  I realize in today's post-Christian society what I just wrote is indecipherable.  The "First Table of the Law" is a reference to the 10 Commandments and the Book declares that anyone guilty of violating the first four commandments shall be punished.  That means idolatry, blasphemy and Sabbath desecration will be punished by the civil sanction of banishment.  That is the way it should be, don't you think?
Shall we all admit the obvious and confess what we all know to be true?  Bakers are a notoriously sinful lot.  They are constantly trying to pass off a 22 ounce loaf of bread as a 23 ounce loaf of bread.  To prevent this act of theft the Book created a law to prevent misrepresentation of the size of a loaf of bread.  Here, in part, is what the law entails, "there shall be in every market town, and all other towns needful, one or two able persons annually chosen by each town, who shall be sworn at the next county Court. or by the next Magistrate, unto the faithful discharge of his or their office; who are hereby authorized to enter into all houses, either with a Constable or without where they shall suspect or be informed of any bread baked for sale: & also to weigh the said bread as oft as they see cause: and to seize all such as they find defective."  The bread police must instill fear in the hearts and minds of unscrupulous bakers and make sure misrepresentation of the weight of a loaf of bread never happens again.  Granting them the authority to break down the doors of all houses to gain entry and weigh the loafs of bread found within is a great idea.  No-knock bread raids can only be good for society.
I, for one, am sick and tired of burglary.  The Book deals with burglary swiftly and efficiently.  Here is what it says, "tis therefore ordered by this Court and Authority thereof that if any person shall commit Burglary by breaking up any dwelling house, or shall rob any person in the field, or high ways; such a person so offending shall for the first offence be branded on the forehead with the letter (B) If he shall offend in the same kind the second time, he shall be branded as before and also be severally whipped: and if he shall fall into the like offence the third time he shall be put to death, as being incorrigible."  I especially appreciate the three strikes and you are dead provision of this law.  Imagine how much less burglary would be taking place in your neighborhood if this law were imposed.  Plus, would it not be super-cool to see all the people walking around with an enormous B branded on their foreheads?  It is the olden days equivalent of the ankle bracelet. 
The Book specifies all of the offenses that shall be punished by death.  They include:  being a witch, blasphemy, murder, bestiality, homosexuality, adultery, kidnapping and being a rebellious youth.  Who can disagree with those capital offenses?  You might notice that the list is strangely coincident with the list of capital offenses found in the Bible.  God of the Bible haters and their ilk will despise the laws found in the Book, as will evangelical Christians, but it will be too late for them if we can get the constitutional amendment passed.  Witches are a growing problem in our land.  The swift and efficient execution of the death penalty for all convicted witches would go a long way towards reducing the problem.  If you don't agree with me, just think of the children!
For our economy to grow it is very important we have incentives for people to work.  Economic growth is vital for the public welfare and idleness is the devil's workshop you know.  To that end the Book had a couple of laws to ensure that people worked hard and created wealth.  Much like video games have come to dominate the lives of all of today's twenty-something males, forcing them into days of seclusion in their parent's basements, so the game of shuffle-board did the same thing to the citizens of Massachusetts colony.  Change the word shuffle-board to video games and I think this law will work wonderfully:  "That no person shall henceforth use the said game of Shuffleboard in any such house, nor in any other house used as common for such purpose, upon pain for every Keeper of such house to forfeit for every such offence twenty shillings: and for every person playing at the said game in any such house, to forfeit for every such offence five shillings."  Hit the lazy people in the pocketbook and see how long it takes for them to find gainful employment, that is my motto.
We all know how men are prone to excess when it comes to drink.  The good citizens of Massachusetts were well aware of that common problem and created this wonderful series of laws to regulate the consumption of things that were actually legal to consume:  "Forasmuch as there is a necessary use of houses of common entertainment in every Commonwealth, and of such as retail wine, beer and victuals; yet because there are so many abuses of that lawful liberty, both by persons entertaining and persons entertained, there is also need of strict Laws and Rules to regulate such an employment: It is therefore ordered by this Court and Authority thereof;...That no person or persons shall at any time under any pretence or color whatsoever undertake to be a common Victual, Keeper of a Cooks shop or house for common entertainment, Taverner, or public seller of wine, ale, beer or strong water, nor shall any sell wine privately in his house or out of doors by a less quantity or under a quarter cask: without approbation of the selected Townsmen and License of the Shire Court where they dwell: upon pain of forfeiture of five pounds for every such offence, or imprisonment at pleasure of the Court, where satisfaction cannot be had....Neither shall any such licensed person aforesaid suffer any to be drunken, or drink excessively [that is] above half a pint of wine for one person at one time; or to continue tippling above the space of half an hour, or at unreasonable times, or after nine of the clock at night in, or about any of their houses on penalty of five shillings for every such offence."  Hummm....those laws sound strangely familiar to today's laws, don't they?  No selling booze without a license, limits on how much a person can drink, specification of the particular hours when a person is permitted to drink.....this all sounds very modern.  I guess the Puritans were well ahead of their time.
Prior to 1648 the colony had laws against the use of tobacco.  At some point in time those laws were repealed but the stigma against tobacco continued.  Rather than an outright prohibition on tobacco the colony decided that, "no man shall take any tobacco within twenty poles of any house, or so near as may endanger the same, or near any Barn, corn, or haycock as may occasion the firing thereof, upon pain of ten shillings for every such offence, besides full recompense of all damages done by means thereof. Nor shall any take tobacco in any Inn or common Victualinghouse, except in a private room there, so as neither the Master of the said house nor any other Guests there shall take offence thereat, which if any doe, then such person shall forthwith forbear, upon pain of two shillings sixpence for every such offence."  Did you catch that one?  It was okay to smoke in a public house unless one of the guests took offense.  If someone did take offense the smoker owed the offended party two shillings.  Golly, I can't imagine how that law would have created any perverse incentives, can you?
I guess I have given you enough examples from the law of Massachusetts colony.  Are you ready to vote for it?  Strangely, as I have written today's post I have slowly changed my opinion about the Book.  I thought, at first, since it paid homage to the God of the Bible it might be good for all of us to be subject to it.  But the more I read the specific laws the more I realized the good folks of Massachusetts, although they were Reformed Christians, enjoyed meddling in the lives of their fellow citizens just as much as folks do today.   Indeed, the laws related to drinking and smoking are almost identical.  I guess it is just human nature to spend inordinate amounts of time minding the business of others.  That drives me to one, and only one, conclusion.  I am going to abandon the Book and become an advocate for Theonomy.  (If you don't know what that is, look it up.)

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