Jurisprudence, and the "Punch in the Nose" test

No lawyer will tell you about the "Punch in the Nose" test, and it's importance in jurisprudence. That is because this is a test that should be applied, not one that is applied.

My premise in making these statements is simple: Power is delegated to the government by the people that live under it's rules. But in order to delegate a right, one must have the right in the first place. Sadly, under our warped system of government, the voters regularly delegate rights to the government that they do not have. And that is the most important problem facing America today.

What power does the people delegate to the government? Simply put, it is the power to do violence on their behalf. It delegates the power to kidnap and confine human beings. It delegates the power to confiscate the property of human beings. And it delegates the power to kill human beings. Usually, the threat of violence is sufficient. And that threat is what underlies and upholds all government. Note that I do not claim that this is never justified. If someone is threatening my life, my fortune, my family, I have a right to confine them to prevent them from carrying out that threat. Depending on state law, I may even have a right to kill them to prevent them from carrying out their threat. And, to clarify the title, I have a right to punch them in the nose to prevent them from carrying out their threat.

But what if I see people sitting in a bar smoking a cigarette? What if they are smoking a joint? Or shooting heroin? Or having sex and exchanging money? Or playing poker for money? Very few Americans would acquit me were I to walk up to people engaged in such activity and punch them in the nose. And if I have no right to punch them in the nose, it follows that I have no right to take their freedom, to take their property, or to take their lives to prevent these activities. Lacking these rights, there would be no justification should I hire someone to engage in these activities for me. Not even if that person wears blue. Not even if they carry a badge. Not even if I have an enormous number of co-conspirators. Right and wrong are right and wrong, regardless of the number of actors, or the uniforms they wear.

Please don't take this as an indictment of our police officers. Nearly all of the police officers I have known have been fine and dedicated professionals, who due to their professionalism must enforce the law regardless of their personal feelings. They are required to punch people in the nose, even while their fellow citizens are enjoined from doing so, for trivial violations of outdated codes of conduct. It is that requirement which is wrong, and which must be abolished in order to establish prudence in American jurisprudence. The police are victims of a legal system gone horribly wrong. They cannot set the system right. Only we, the voters, can possibly do that.

So next time you are asked to vote for some law, try to consider the principal of the "Punch in the Nose" test, and whether the right the government wishes you to delegate is yours in the first place. Given the number of deaths that result from raids on the wrong address, the lives that are ruined because the owners of those lives decided to live them in a way that violates somebody else's conception of how life should be lived, the police officers killed fighting impossible battles to enforce laws that should never have existed, the nose you save may be your own.

That's my opinion ... But I could be wrong.

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