A review of Richard J. Maybury’s book “Whatever Happened to Justice?”
For economics this year, much of my curriculum has been reading Uncle Eric books. Mr. Maybury, aka Uncle Eric, presents a view of economics and history that is contrary to our modern Keynesian thinking. In the form of letters to his nephew, Chris, Uncle Eric explains the intricacies of economics in a very simple and clear way.
One of his books is called “Whatever Happened to Justice?” In it, Uncle Eric examines the difference between common law and political law, and how this effects the way “justice” is carried out in our legal systems. Below is the essay I wrote for school after reading the book:
“If it’s not logical, it’s not law,” Richard J. Maybury, alias Uncle Eric, writes in his book Whatever Happened to Justice? In his book, Uncle Eric writes letters to his nephew, explaining the issues of history, law, and economics. Uncle Eric focuses mostly on two kinds of law: common and political. However, unlike their names suggest, common law is the lesser known of these two.
Common law is law that develops through precedents in case law. It has two fundamental rules: Do all you have agreed to do, and Do not encroach on other persons or their property. When someone breaks these rules, their duty is to repay the victim by restoring whatever it was they harmed. The laws of Common Law exist regardless of laws set up by the government, because they use objective truth of Higher Law. Although there are punishments for breaking the rules of Common Law, the main reason that common law works is because of character and honor. As well as the objective truth of Higher Law, common law is also founded on a set of moral principles. These are principles that one must choose to follow – and many in the 18 and 1900’s did choose to, as they emigrated to America. Americans have been known as some of the most law-abiding people in the world because they choose to be. Sadly, this idea of Law being and objective truth changed as Political Law became more popular.
When governed by Political Law, a country becomes unstable. Instead of laws developing off of objective truth, laws are decided by subjective opinion. The only requirement in making a law is that the majority agrees with it and the force to create and enforce the law is there. Those who hold power are the ones who decide the laws, because according to Political law, rights come from the government. Thus, when one has the power, one can take away or give rights. One day the government may say that the speed limit in an area is 60 miles per hour. But perhaps the next day, they decide that it should only be 40. Because of this, there is no stability in a country where Political Law rules. Laws are quickly and easily made. This leads to many, often frivolous, laws. For example, in the state of Arkansas, the Arkansas river is not allowed to rise above the Main Street Bridge. In Kentucky, it is illegal to carry an ice cream cone in your pocket. We have no need of such laws, and instead of bringing order to the country, they only bring confusion. To start a small business, there are 600,000 laws one must look through. This restricts – encroaches – on people’s desires to start their own businesses.
Uncle Eric makes a point of reminding his nephew that if “it’s not logical, it’s not law.” Many laws are not logical, nor are they necessary. This is all because of political law, and how simple it is to make laws. However, Common Law is not perfect either. No legislative system will be in a fallen world, because the people who make the laws will always be sinners. There will always be lawbreakers and disputes. Nevertheless, with the help of God, governments would function much more smoothly if everyone strove to follow the two simple rules of Common Law: “Do all you have agreed to do,” and “Do not encroach on other persons or their property.”
I encourage you to read “Whatever Happened to Justice?” along with Mr. Maybury’s other books, which may be found through the link posted above. We read most of “Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused?” aloud as a family, and driving to and from the conference center at SoS I read much of “Uncle Eric Talks about Personal, Career, and Financial Security” to daddy. Mr. Maybury’s books on WWI and WWII examine pieces of evidence ignored by most, and proves how looking at economics can change one’s view of wars.