Flabbergasting Balderdash

Richard J. Maybury’s book Whatever Happened to Justice? looks normal on the surface, indeed, well into the book. Whatever Happened to Justice? is a book written for highschoolers for them to learn about different forms of power, law, justice and some economics. He starts his book discussing the different kinds of law: common law and political law. But as you continue to read, you will find yourself reading some of the most peculiar and absurd thoughts.

In chapter 26 Maybury discusses political law, in other words, right and wrong as defined by the whims of politicians. When things get really bumpy is when Maybury starts hypothesizing about the origins of the lust for political power that lawmakers seem to posses. He digs his own pit very well:

My own theory is that political power has and addictive drug-like effect on humans because of our biological ancestry. Visit a history museum and you will see skeletons of huge animals that are extinct now but roamed the earth only a few thousand year ago. The mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers are awesome.

Surviving in that world, armed only with spears and clubs, must have been a mighty challenge. Our ancestors had to have some kind of edge, some kind of biochemical booster that enabled a 150-pound man to attack and kill his 2,000-pound adversaries.

I believe it is this booster that is triggered when political power is used. A politician feels the ‘rush’ that our primitive ancestors felt when they went up against the mammoth. He gets charged up and eventually becomes addicted to this high.” -Richard J. Maybury Whatever Happened to Justice? (Bluestocking Press, 2004) Pp. 144-145.

Directly after this, Maybury starts asking ridiculous questions like: “When a child ties a tin can to a dog’s tail, is this an early manifestation of political power? Does the child get the same sort of ‘rush?'”

He quotes no experts, shows no data, it’s just Mr. Maybury throwing around guesses. He tries to give his ideas more credibility by quoting studies that say illegal drugs, like cocaine, cause you to breathe faster, gives you higher heart rates and decreases your ethical standards. Maybury then attempts to draw a link between illegal drugs and political power, but this is done without credibility, it’s Mr. Maybury guessing again.

When you’re charging thousands and thousands of lawmakers with being addicted to the “rush” like cocaine, data would be nice. I can understand where Maybury comes from, I know that political power can be, has been, and will be adversely abused. But this does not mean that we can trace it back to mammoths.

Maybury has more outlandish ideas when it comes to the origins of government. He claims in chapter 30 (citing a grand total of two people) that government started with the Barbarians (because, you know, government didn’t exist until we had Barbarians…) Maybury says that the Barbarians would raid towns, take what they needed and then leave. After doing this for years and years, the Barbarians — being the lethargic people they are — decided raiding towns was too much work. So, to solve that problem, the theory goes, the Barbarians decided to take a building in the middle of town and force people to pay them money (taxes), and would punish the people if they did not pay.

This explanation resembles a Mafia-like “protection payments.” The interesting thing is that Maybury is a strong believer in the founding fathers, and that fact coupled with what he says about governmental origins makes me wonder: So then why would the founding fathers set up a government at all if it was just some half-baked, totalitarian idea made up by some lazy Barbarians? Maybury’s answer to this question in chapter 32 is: “[T]hey had no choice. Most people thought the government was necessary. If the Founder’s didn’t set one up, someone else would.” This explanation is inadequate to say the least. If the founders didn’t want government, they wanted anarchy. And the easiest way to establish and anarchy (or do you really establish and anarchy?) is not to set up a government in the first place.

Maybury tries to fend off criticism by denying that he believes in conspiracies. And in the process of denying conspiracies, he conspires on what conspirators are all about. “I do believe conspiracies exist and the conspirators are trying to steer events in directions favorable to them…Eliminate all the conspirators without eliminating these gigantic governments they are trying to control and two weeks later we’d just have a whole new crop of conspirators trying to gain control of the governments.” (P. 154, emphasis added.) Sounds like a conspiracy to me. What I have told you here are only a few of the eccentric ideas Maybury presents in his book.

Whatever Happened to Justice? Whatever happened to decent books?

-Ben

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One comment

  1. Greg Rehmke · · Reply

    Interesting thoughts on this book. Richard Maybury’s “Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?” has been so popular, that the various sequel books were published. They have lots of interesting ideas, but are not so well documented.

    Maybury’s discusses the “conquest theory of government” but doesn’t reference scholars and historical research. But the basic idea is that the Norman Conquest being the reality of early English govt. is not so unusual. Mancur Olsen argues that roving bandits sometime decide to become stationary bandits.

    The U.S. is different in that the government was established, though after a civil war, with a Convention, and votes to confirm by representative state assemblies. Not many, or any, government in England, Africa, Latin America, or Asia were originally established by this means.

    –Greg Rehmke

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