Richard J. Maybury portrait



Excerpted from
Chaostan: The Full Story


The Two Laws

By Richard J. Maybury

For all the thousands of years until the American Revolution, our ancestors lived just barely above the base-line of human existence. Destitution was the normal condition since Adam and Eve. The past two centuries — a mere eyeblink in the vast span of history — have been a spectacular exception.

The Two Laws in 17 Words

The Two Laws

In 17 Words, these are the two fundamental laws taught by all religions. The first is the basis of contract law. The second, the basis of tort law and some criminal law.

These laws are essential for an advanced society. The first gives rise to trade and specialization of labor. The second creates peace, security and goodwill.

When these laws are violated, the result is damage to someone. Good intentions do not prevent harm, nor do euphemisms. When stealing is called a tax, it remains stealing and it is every bit as destructive.

Widespread violation of the laws by anyone, including a government, causes damage until the civilization collapses and the survivors, if any, must start over, as in Europe's Dark Ages.

I do not exaggerate when I say that at least once a week I give thanks that I was born when and where I was — in America after 1776.

Why did the American Revolution have this wonderful effect?

The answer is the story of Chaostan.1
It begins, as almost everything in today's political world begins, in ancient Rome.

After Roman civilization... Western Europe fell apart around 500 AD, that area was taken over by hundreds of independent cutthroats called feudal lords. Each set up his own little kingdom of a square mile or so, with a castle at the center. The people on this tiny estate were the lord's property, his serfs, to be taxed, regulated and killed as he saw fit. This was the Dark Ages, a time of starvation, endless war, ignorance and bottomless misery.

The Roman legal system had died along with the Empire, so Europe had no law. Two people embroiled in a dispute had to work it out on their own. The feudal lord seldom paid much attention, he didn't care as long as the taxes kept rolling in.

When a dispute occurred, often there was bloodshed. In an effort to avoid this, participants in disputes would increasingly call on neutral third parties to hear both sides of their stories and make decisions.

The most trusted person was a clergyman

Usually the most trusted person in a community was a clergyman, and some clergymen made careers of hearing disputes and making judgments. They became judges.

Being clergymen, these judges' decisions in each case were based on religious principles such as "Thou shalt not steal," and "Thou shalt not kill."

Decisions were preserved in writing as precedents for later decisions. This collection of precedents became a body of "case law" (law derived from actual cases).

One problem. Often people were from different religions. Which principles should a judge apply?

Using the principles all religions hold in common

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Judges hit on the idea of using the principles all religions hold in common. There are two: (1) Do all you have agreed to do. This became the basis of contract law. (2) Do not encroach on other persons or their property. This became the basis of tort law and some criminal law.

These two laws taught by every religion were held to be common to all persons and they became the foundation of the body of precedents called Common Law. All this is fully explained in my Uncle Eric book Whatever Happened To Justice?

Governments hated the two fundamental laws

Another problem. Governments hated the two fundamental laws. They wanted the privilege of breaking agreements, stealing, killing and doing whatever else they pleased.

Right from the beginning there was conflict between governments and Common Law judges, and these judges were under extreme pressure to make exceptions for public officials. This is the meaning of the so-called divine right of kings. Governments declared that, although they were as human as everyone else, God had given them the special right to violate the two fundamental laws.

The divine right of the majority

The modern version of the divine right of kings is what I call the divine right of the majority. In democracies, it is held that the government can do anything it pleases if the majority or their representatives vote for it.

Thanks to the divine right of kings, the heavy taxes, regulations and wars kept the people in crushing poverty.

In England a huge underground economy sprang up to escape the taxes and regulations.

Finally, after 1492, shipbuilding advanced enough for people to cross the ocean to America to escape their governments, and thousands did. England's underground economy was transplanted to America where it flourished. Virtually every adult was engaged in smuggling or tax evasion of one sort or another.

The Early Americans hated government's political law…

...but in regard to Common Law were probably some of the most law abiding people ever to walk the earth. They were not perfect but they had, after all, risked their lives crossing the ocean to live under the principles of this law. These principles came not from a legislature of crooked politicians but from their religions.

Became the wealthiest population on earth

By 1765, enjoying very little taxation or regulation, Americans had become the wealthiest population on earth.

Government officials in England decided to tap into this wealth. They sent tax collectors.

The tax collectors were tarred and feathered.

They sent troops to protect the tax collectors.

At Lexington and Concord in 1775, the troops arrived to confiscate the American colonists' guns. The colonists decided to fight.

Then in 1776, the colonists overthrew their government and, in their Declaration of Independence said, "All men are created equal." No special privileges, everyone obeys the fundamental laws.

Based on The 17 Words

After the 1776 revolution, the American founders set up a new government with a Constitution and Bill of Rights based on the two essential laws.

The size and power of this government was severely limited and its ability to steal ("tax") was reduced almost to zero. Until the 20th century, the tiny US government was supported only by import taxes and taxes on liquor and tobacco, there was no income tax.

America became a haven for flight capital as people all over the world began investing their savings here. With this mountain of capital to work with, new businesses sprang up like mushrooms, and inventors such as Robert Fulton and Eli Whitney were able to acquire funds to develop a vast array of new machines to make life better. This is where we get the term "American ingenuity." When he died in 1931, Thomas Edison had more than a thousand patents.

This mountain of capital also enabled industrialists to produce and sell these new items at prices everyone could afford, while paying the world's highest wages.

The freest, most prosperous land ever known

America still had a lot of flaws, the worst being slavery and the genocide of the Indians. But it was the freest, most prosperous land ever known. The Old World remained so wretchedly poor that archaeological evidence from American slave dwellings shows that Europe's heavily taxed and regulated middle class did not live as well as America's slaves.

The rest of the world saw America's great wealth and liberty, and wanted it for themselves. In the 1800s, millions came here, and millions more stayed at home and fought to limit their governments.

The principles of the 1776 revolution did not remain confined to the U.S., they began to spread around the globe. The nations where they were adopted came to be known as the Free World. These nations are also the richest. Liberty is the source of prosperity.

      . . .

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Chaostan — The Full Story
How the Two Fundamental Laws were lost and
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1  Chaostan: The Full Story, first published in 1996, is available Free to all new subscribers. This 6-page comprehensive documemnt explains the origin of the Two Laws (expressed in just 17 Words) and is a necessary introduction to Richard Maybury's geopolitical model, which is studied in the Pentagon and CIA.