9. Don't do anything illegal
“Illegal acts” are those which are prohibited by official rules or law. They are the product of rulers, legislative bodies and judges. They are usually written down in law codes. In a well-ordered society, these are published and made known generally. In a cloudy—and often crime-ridden—society one has to consult an attorney or be specially trained to know them all: such a society will tell one that “ignorance is no excuse for breaking the law.”
Any member of society, however, has a responsibility, whether young or old, for knowing what that society considers to be an “illegal act.” People can be asked, libraries exist where they can be looked up.
An “illegal act” is not disobedience to some casual order like “go to bed.” It is an action, which if done, can result in punishment by the courts and state—being pilloried1 by the state propaganda2 machine, fines and even imprisonment.
When one does something illegal, small or large, one is laid open to an attack by the state. It does not matter whether one is caught or not, when one does an illegal act, one has weakened one’s defenses.
Almost any worthwhile thing one is trying to accomplish often can be done in perfectly legal ways.
The “illegal” route is a dangerous and time-wasting shortcut. Imagined “advantages” in committing illegal acts usually turn out not to be worth it.
The state and government tends to be a rather unthinking machine. It exists and works on laws and codes of laws. It is geared to strike down through its channels at illegality. As such it can be an implacable3 enemy, adamant4 on the subject of “illegal acts.” The rightness and wrongness of things do not count in the face of laws and codes of laws. Only the laws count.
When you realize or discover that those about you are committing “illegal acts,” you should do what you can to discourage it. You yourself, not even a party to it, can yet suffer because of it. The firm’s accountant falsifies the books: in any resulting commotion, the firm could fail and you could lose your job. Such instances can grossly affect one’s own survival.
As a member of any group subject to laws, encourage the clear-cut publication of those laws so they can be known. Support any legal political effort to reduce, clarify and codify the laws that apply to that group. Adhere to the principle that all men are equal under law, a principle which, in its own time and place—the tyrannical5 days of aristocracy6—was one of the greatest social advances in human history and should not be lost sight of.
See that children and people become informed of what is “legal” and what is “illegal” and make it known, if by as little as a frown, that you do not approve of “illegal acts.”
Those who commit them, even when they “get away with them,” are yet weakened before the might of the state.
The way to happiness does not include the fear of being found out.
- pilloried: exposed to ridicule, public contempt, scorn or abuse.
- propaganda: spreading ideas, information or rumor to further one’s own cause and/or injure that of another, often without regard to truth; the act of putting lies in the press or on radio and TV so that when a person comes to trial he will be found guilty; the action of falsely damaging a person’s reputation so he will not be listened to. (A propagandist is a person or group that does, makes or practices propaganda.)
- implacable: not open to being quieted, soothed or pleased; remorseless; relentless.
- adamant: hard; not giving in; unyielding; something which won’t break; insistent; refusing
any other opinion; surrendering to nothing.
- tyrannical: the use of cruel, unjust and absolute power; crushing; oppressing; harsh; severe.
- aristocracy: government by a few with special privileges, ranks or positions; rule by an elite few who are above the general law; a group who by birth or position are “superior to everybody else” and who can make or apply laws to others but consider they themselves are not affected by the laws