Lawfully Good vs Lawfully Evil

There’s a big difference in how activists and bureaucrats view the world. In the view of bureaucrats, anything lawful is right by definition. In contrast, activists don’t care whether something is lawful, they care whether it’s good and just. Bureaucrats generally do not understand the difference.

This distinction, and the lack of awareness of it, has caused much confusion and antagonization. It is perfectly possible to be totally in accordance with the law, and yet utterly evil. If you are a civil servant on the inside of the system, you would typically mistake “according to law” with “just”. This is simply not the case.

Us nerds who played Dungeons & Dragons in our teens remember that there was a game mechanic called alignment — more or less a person’s attitude towards law and karma. You had to place yourself on two distinct and orthogonal scales — whether you respected the law, and whether you would strive to do good or evil things. These were unrelated.

In a land where the law is evil, the people who serve the law blindly are equally evil. Lawfully evil. Let me explain this with a sequence of examples.

In Iran, it is against the law to execute virgin women. Still, women are being sentenced to death, so the Iranian administration has come up with the idea of forcibly marrying them to prison guards the night before the execution. That way, they are no longer virgins, and so, can be legally executed. Two years ago, one such prison guard stepped forward and told his story, about how the women scheduled for execution would typically resist being forcibly married and have forced sex with the prison guards — so the guards would usually administer sedatives to make the legal process of marrying them easier. Women are eligible for marriage from 9 years of age in Iran.

In nonlegalese, girls as young as nine are lawfully drugged, raped, and shot. (Iran executes in excess of 5,000 women every year.)

What is most striking about this is not the sheer horror of the evil inherent in the system, but the young prison guard’s reflection in the interview:

The marriages were lawful.

Here, it becomes painfully obvious that just because something is written into law, it is not good, just, and righteous. But many people who Believe In The Law will refuse to let this obvious counterproof knock them out of their comfort zone, and will therefore and rationalize it as Iran not being applicable, somehow being a barbaric country and not living up to modern, Western standards. I will therefore add more examples of lawfully evil from a Western democracy, Sweden, which scores top notch on democracy indexes.

Not too long ago, there were laws of forced sterilization in Sweden. Bureaucrats would visit families, and those deemed unfit for breeding would be forcibly sterilized. This was based on several decision factors, notably social and medical factors, but also lifestyle choices.

The forced sterilizations continued until 1975. Tens of thousands were forcibly sterilized against their will. Lawfully.

This is plain evil. Lawful evil.

Now, many people will react to this saying that even though evil laws may have existed here, they don’t anymore. Today, all is good. This attitude is delusional. The evil becomes apparent first in retrospect; the people exposed to the evil usually also have their voice taken from them in the figurative sense — they are not credible, so nobody will listen to them.

My final example is therefore contemporary, from lawless Somalia. A woman suffering from a rare, terminal and extremely painful disease had discovered a certain kind of salad that, as she consumed it, lessened her pains to the point where she was almost able to go about a normal life. So she was cultivating this salad for herself.

The warlords in the region had rules that nobody may grow that particular salad — it was seen as dirty. So she was taken away one night and thrown in prison for a year, in horrible pain through the entire year because of her disease for which there was no other remedy, and her rare salad was killed and burned.

This is, again, plain evil. But it was in Somalia, so it can be washed away as irrelevant. Non-democratic. Right?

Except… this was not in Somalia, but in Sweden.

The disease was multiple sclerosis, a terminal degenerative disease hitting the nervous system.

And the salad? It was cannabis sativa.

At this very last revelation, tons of people will lash out in anger and saying that what this woman did was against the law. The law “can’t make exceptions”. And in doing so, they will be gratuitously making my point for me. Because if the scenario was evil under the Somali warlords, it is just as evil in Sweden or anywhere else. Here’s my point: it does not matter that it was against the law, the government’s action is still evil. Lawful evil.

In saying but the law is the law!, these people are placing themselves in exactly the same moral spot as the Iranian prison guard quoted above.

And therefore, my point is that lawful does not imply good. They are two different concepts.

Bureaucrats, civil servants and other people who Believe In The Law think that anything lawful is axiomatically justified. Activists, on the other hand, act from the motto “do good shit, and never mind what the law says”.

This disconnect — this total disconnect — is why net activists are so distrustful of anything with the label “lawful” in the title. It is practically always used to mask something lawfully evil: if it were good, you would not need to point out that it is lawful.

A good example would be telecom companies’ departments for “governmental cooperation”, like the department for eavesdropping called Lawful Interception. It doesn’t matter whether it’s according to the law to wiretap somebody — it’s evil, and therefore wrong. Everybody has the right to safeguard their secrets.

An activist will regard anything labeled as “lawful” with a complete suspicion. Regrettably, the suspicion has all too frequently been warranted. All government authorities consider themselves good by definition. But they are also the ones sitting on the means of violent force for people who disobey them, and human nature has proven again and again that good intentions lead to evil actions as “governing” a community slips into “ruling”.

There are many attempts to regulate the net in various evil ways right now. Cutting off citizens from communication, wiretapping on their secrets, denying them the freedom of anonymous expression. Almost without an exception, they are attempts from corporations to dress “evil” in “lawful”.

To summarize:

Be suspicious of the word lawful. When used, is is often to conceal evil.

Do good shit, regardless of what the law says.

If you’re working for a lawfully evil system, you’re doing evil shit, even if it’s lawful.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Magnus

    Do you admit that it is just to obey the rulers?

    I do.

    But are the rulers always right, or could they sometimes be wrong?

    Sure they can be wrong sometimes, they are only humans.

    Then in making laws they may sometimes make it right, sometimes not?


    When they do right, they make them to their interest; when they are mistaken, contrary to their interest; you admit that?


    And the laws which they make must be obeyed, and that is just?

    Of course.

    Then justice, is not only obedience but just as well the reverse?

    What are you saying? he asked.

    I am only repeating what you are saying, I believe. But let us consider: Have we not admitted that the rulers may be mistaken about their own interest in what they command, and also that to obey them is just? Has not that been admitted?

    The above was how Plato refuted the rule of the strong 2400 years ago in The Republic, and made the argument that we cannot weasel out of personal responsibility of our actions. The excuse “but i was just following order” is not a valid argument, not even in a military hierachy at war, something that was tried at the Nuremburg trials.

    Rick, here you have two other examples. One a bit uneasy, the guards at Abu Ghreib, decent ordinary people from a small town in America suddenly doing very evil deeds. The second very uncontroversial, when the train conductor kicked out a 9 year old girl from the train, not because she did not have a ticket, she had that, but because she did not have identification papers (Yes, citizens in Sweden cannot travel by train without ID papers anymore). Both these are examples of pure evil, that grows out of submissiveness, herd mentality and lack of responsibility. Already Plato recognized these puppets as the tyrannical ones, not because they want tyranny, but because their obeying behaviour leads to it.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Plato’s legacy, his stating out loud that there is a moral responsibility that transcends the law of the land, is something we have to remind people about every single day.

  2. Mikael O. Bonnier

    Very good article.

    Legalizing cannibis as a sallad could lead to that more people get addicted to it and damaged. On the other hand I think sick people should be allowed to use it for medical purposes in reasonable amounts. It could be handled like any other potent medical drug.

    There are still forced treatments in Swedish mental hospitals. Some of these treatments can be brain damaging. I think the psychiatric staff in some cases intentionally gives people a forced treatment that is brain damaging. They do this for various motivations but the most common is probably that they need to create patients in order to keep the high number of employees within the mental hospitals. This is of course not legal but it is impossible to prove these crimes. If someone gets an objectively measurable brain damage by forced treatment the psychiatrists invent a disease that could cause similar damages and claim that the patient suffered from that.

    1. Stoopid

      I never took any kind of drug, but I know a lot of people who did. And a lot of them said that the only reason they took anything stronger than weed, was because of a sudden drop in supply. They couldn’t get what they were using until then, so they tried something else.

      By getting that stuff legally available in pharmacies, that kind of supply manipulation would not be happening. So weed would not be a gateway drug, they say it is.

      btw I don’t see any reason why alcohol is any better than weed. More people die from drunk drivers, then from high ones. Yet it’s legal.

      I think people who do stupid thing while high should be punished, same as the people who do stupid things while drunk. Don’t punish them just because they are high, or drunk…

    2. Yes Minister

      Note that cannabis is not addictive, it can be a habit but a there a major difference between addictive and habit.

  3. MiaM

    Sterilization in Sweden is unfortunitely not completely abandoned yet, see law 1972:119

    Yesterday the christ democratic party voted for keeping the law 🙁

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      [comment has been edited for emotion.]

      The current problem should not be confused with the forced sterilization laws we had up until 1976. They have absolutely nothing in common.

      What we had was a mechanism whereby mothers were dragged out of their homes and sterilized for having a poor living standard.

      That is nothing at all like an archaic remnant where the government places requirements on people choosing to undergo a sex change, which you refer to. That archaic remnant is still wrong, but equating the two (even by using the same term) does an immense and gross injustice to the tens of thousands of people that were forcibly sterilized.

      1. Peter

        “The current problem should not be confused with the forced sterilization laws we had up until 1976. They have absolutely nothing in common.”

        Except you know, the forced sterilization.

        “What we had was a mechanism whereby mothers were dragged out of their homes and sterilized for having a poor living standard.”

        What we have now is a mechanism whereby people is sterilized for needing a often life-saving treatment.

        “That is nothing at all like an archaic remnant where the government places requirements on people choosing to undergo a sex change, which you refer to.”

        Choosing as in “choosing to cure one’s cancer”. Yeah, what a choice that is!
        If you can “choose” to be born with the wrong gender, you clearly can “choose” to have “a poor living standard”.

        “That archaic remnant is still wrong, but equating the two (even by using the same term) does an immense and gross injustice to the tens of thousands of people that were forcibly sterilized.”

        The same term is used because it is the same practice. People are sterilized, forcibly, for undergoing a treatment they need(!).
        Just think about the words. Forced. Sterilization. That is sterilization (check) when not wanted (check).

        Not calling it by its right name does an immense and gross injustice to the tens of thousands of people that is even today being sterilized. And to add insult to injury calling it a “choice”.


        1. Vitalik Buterin

          I agree. The idea that you can’t call bad things what they are because that would somehow be an insult to the victims of a 1000x worse version of the crime is, in my opinion, a ridiculous one. It’s like a murderer complaining “what do you mean you’re going to throw me in jail for a significant portion of my life? I did nothing! Look what Hitler did!”.

        2. konstantinos

          although I don’t follow Swedish law enough to have confidence, I would say that both of you have points. I agree that a requirement to sterilize oneself if you would like to perform some alteration on your body can and probably should be called forced sterilization. However I believe that is irrelevant, and Rick’s objection is, I believe, valid. Just because we can use the same term to describe two things doesn’t mean that they are equivalent in the context of a discussion. They may be totally different in significance or even just enough different that it is misleading or insulting to describe them simultaneously with the same words. In this case, I was misled by MiaM’s comment into thinking that indeed Swedish authorities sterilize people by actual physical force, instead of what I surmise actually happens which is that they restrict people’s choices via threat of force. Both can be called “forceful”, however they are different in many ways. In essence it boils down to the issue of control of ones body. In one case all control is lost, and one becomes an object. In the other case the person is still in control, albeit a victim of (threatened) violence. That is a difference not only of degree but also a fundamental distinction between a person who is placed outside the law and one who is still has most of his rights intact. And that is what I think Falkvinge’s analysis misses, that “lawful” is not unrelated to good (like in DnD), but they intersect at a point, which point might be called peace.

  4. Nick Taylor

    @Mikael O. Bonnier

    “Legalizing cannibis as a sallad could lead to that more people get addicted to it and damaged.”


    Evidence? Because if there’s no evidence, why is there a law?

    Drugs have been decriminalised in Portugal for 10 years now – treated as a medical rather than a criminal problem, and the number of addictions has halved:

    Now. The global prison population is about 10 million. We don’t know for sure how many of these are because of drugs… but at least a 1 million (about 50%) in the US is, so it’s a fair bet it’s in the millions.

    “Legalizing cannibis as a sallad could lead to that more people get addicted to it and damaged.”

    We have millions of people in prison for something that shouldn’t even be a crime – we should be going to fucking war over this. We should be putting the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for this in prison for crimes against humanity.

    Forget about theory and what “could” happen – concentrate on what DOES happen. opment.

  5. Mumfi.

    People that do drugs are of no use to anyone. Until we manage to offer citizen salaries, and cheep drugs on pharmacies, we should not make it legal. Why? Because addicts are a captive audience and are deprived of their free will. You can take almost any price from them and make them do almost anything. Do we want substances that in practice make consumer to slaves for their suppliers? I don’t I consider that evil. Now, having the supplier be the state instead of criminal networks, as in Portugal mentioned above, may be marginally better. Still, you have the whole “no free will” issue…

    And besides. We had the whole salad-girl debate a couple of years ago. I called the relevant authorities and concluded there are several different THC preparations that could legally be given to patient suffering from MS, for free.

    1. Fredrik

      I’m surprised that there are so many bureaucrats without free will writing here. There are thousands of legal drugs. Most of them are not addictive. Others are addictive and still legal on prescription. I don’t consider that evil.

    2. Elmo

      Emphasis again on COULD. Have these preparations been given to MS patients, and more importantly, would they have given them to THIS patient?

    3. Jean-Pierre Rupp

      And who are you to tell me if I have the right to surrender voluntarily my free will to some substance?

      I know so many people who consume drugs and are otherwise average citizens with jobs and families, that I think all that “loss of free will” argument is empty. What the war on drugs proposes is a war on individual freedom.

      Government should not never use law to impose moral standards. That’s why I see that governments are inherently prone to evilness.

    4. Rikard

      “People that do drugs are of no use to anyone.”
      So people like Louis Armstrong, Carl Sagan, Charles Dickens, Thomas Edison, Sigmund Freud, Steve Jobs, Abraham Lincoln, Charlie Parker, Jean-Paul Sartre, Percy Shelly… (and so forth and so on) are/were of no use to anyone. And take anybody else for that matter, 99% of which probably has the ocational drink every once in a while.

    5. Sassinak

      Forget Cannabis, Prozac is the way to go !! The Doctor controls your consumption, so YOU are not responsible; isn’t that great? AND your employer-granted medical care covers it !!! AND it’s addictive too, also !!!

      Anyone read “Brave New World” ?

  6. Lennart Lindgård

    We have three reasonable ways to go, when it comes to drugs.
    You could ban ALL drugs, including pills, alcohol and tobacco, saying they are not good for you. This is, of course, not feaseable.
    Or you could sell ALL drugs in a controlled way, in a pharmacy or similar, possibly demanding a recipie from your doctor for heavy drugs.
    Or you could sell ALL drugs free, whithout control.
    I’d say the controlled selling wound be the best. But we really should treat all drugs in the same manner.

  7. Björn Persson

    I’m reminded of this passage from The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov:

    [Elijah Baley said,] “Last evening in our discussion of the so-called murder, this alleged robot claimed that he had been converted into a detective by the installation of a new drive into his positronic circuits. A drive, if you please, for justice.”

    “I’ll vouch for that,” said Fastolfe. “It was done to him three days ago under my own supervision.”

    “A drive for justice? Justice, Dr. Fastolfe, is an abstraction. Only a human being can use the term.”

    “If you define ‘justice’ in such a way that it is an abstraction, if you say that it is the rendering of each man his due, that it is adhering to the right, or anything of the sort, I grant you your argument, Mr. Baley. A human understanding of abstractions cannot be built into a positronic brain in the present state of our knowledge.”

    “You admit that, then—as an expert in robotics?”

    “Certainly. The question is, what did R. Daneel mean by using the term ‘justice’?”

    “From the context of our conversation, he meant what you and I and any human being would mean, but what no robot could mean.”

    “Why don’t you ask him, Mr. Baley, to define the term?”

    Baley felt a certain loss of confidence. He turned to R. Daneel. “Well?”

    “Yes, Elijah?”

    “What is your definition of justice?”

    “Justice, Elijah, is that which exists when all the laws are enforced.”

    Fastolfe nodded. “A good definition, Mr. Baley, for a robot. The desire to see all laws enforced has been built into R. Daneel, now. Justice is a very concrete term to him since it is based on law enforcement, which is in turn based upon the existence of specific and definite laws. There is nothing abstract about it. A human being can recognize the fact that, on the basis of an abstract moral code, some laws may be bad ones and their enforcement unjust. What do you say, R. Daneel?”

    “An unjust law,” said R. Daneel evenly, “is a contradiction in terms.”

    “To a robot it is, Mr. Baley. So you see, you mustn’t confuse your justice and R. Daneel’s.”

    So, are we governed by robots to whom an unjust law is a contradiction in terms?

    1. FrankNorman

      In the context of the story, R.Daneel’s drive to see “laws enforced” would still have been subordinate to the First Law: “A robot may not harm a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to suffer harm”.
      Which leads to questions like: Could a robot detective help in arresting someone for a crime that was a death-penalty offense?
      In Asimov’s novels the only way to get around that is to redefine the robot’s concept of a human being, so that not all people counted as “human”.

  8. Ilja

    The key thing here, i think, is that some people don’t think too much about what law is. They believe that law is passed onto us like a decree from god, or an almighty ruler, or at least someone who knows better than we do. One must realize that laws should reflect the morals of a society as a whole, and those morals should stem from us, the people. To turn it the other way around and let a small elite, whether it be dictators, religious leaders, political pundits, self-righteous bureaucrats, or mindless celebrities, dictate what we should consider right and just, is the way of oppression.

    By the way; that “rare salad” isn’t so rare after all. It turns out it grows like weed.

    1. John Annon

      Do you live in a democracy? Good news – the laws *do* reflect your moral values, and they do stem from you. You elect representatives, and in doing so you are endorsing them to make decisions on your behalf with regard to the passage of laws.

      Laws may be made by a small elite, but you picked the members of the small elite, and said (effectively) “I am picking you to make the laws for our society”, and it’s implicit in that that you agree to be bound by those laws.

      I agree that some people don’t think too much about what law is, and I think you’re one of those people.

      You seem to believe that law is passed onto us like a decree from god, or an almighty ruler, without any input from us, and without us being in any way responsible for the laws. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

      1. Stoopid

        All your political parties are financed by elite, and tell them which laws to pass. Only parties which get that financing, have enough means to make public presence strong enough to get elected. That is pretty much the same in any democratic country today.

        That means that any party that gets elected is required to obey those who financed them. And they make laws that benefit them, not us.

        In my country, only two parties are strong enough to get elected, both of them have the same politics, only difference is in their name. Both of them are puppets of rich corporations and other, more powerful countries.

        So until the power of making laws is handed directly in the hands of the public, I do not feel in any way responsible for all those stupid laws my government is making, because I can’t change them. My only option is to obey those laws I thing are just, and not get caught disobeying those I think are retarded.

      2. Scary Devil Monastery

        It’s quite true that we, as citizens, are responsible for electing eladers who may or may not represent our best interests.

        However…Plato’s argument still holds true. If we demand from our leaders that they reduce crime, for instance and they then do so by, say, in effect abolishing or circumventing certain civil rights implicitly understood to be inviolable in our constitutional laws then it’s entirely up to us to see to it that such bad laws are amended or abolished.

        Where the bad laws being passed meet disapproval from large minorities of the citizenry, “civil disobedience” has always been the weapon of choice in order to expedite that process. Noncommercial filesharing of copyrighted material would be the current big trend there.

        No, laws aren’t handed down from higher powers. They are written by bureaucrats whose motivation and cost-benefit analysis when formulating the law will rarely be the same as those of the citizens who “commission” it.

        Which is why Martin Luther King Jr. had to stand up and say what many civil rights activists in the past have said – that it is the duty of all citizens to oppose and disobey bad laws in the same measure that they respect and uphold good ones.

        The key term here is that there is a social contract which governs the relationship between citizen and state. USA and Germany both have a constitutional court which attempts to resolve where that contract has been violated. In Sweden we are sorely lacking any such institution capable of overturning shoddy legislation.

      3. Sassinak

        Haha! You still believe you vote for real! You made a funny !!

      4. asdf

        Ok, I scratched my vote. Now I can go tell the so called “representatives” to go fuck themselves, am I right?

  9. Legal ≠ Bueno « Xeno-Genesis

    […] este brillante artículo Falkvinge expone que legal no necesariamente significa bueno, de hecho en incontables ocasiones […]

  10. Putte

    The medical-pharma industrial complex in one of the worst regulatory captures of our time. Regulators and doctors are bribed paid puppets of the pharma industry. Lethal side effects of pharma drugs are covered up by corrupt “scientific studies”. Many articles in medical journals are written by a PhD at PR firm paid by Big Pharma, and the pretended famous professor who is the “author” of the article just got paid to add his name and reputation to get the article published (google for: medical ghostwriting).

    At the same time, regulators in EU (and elsewhere) do everything they can to ban and block natural substances such as vitamins, mineral and herbal medicines. Why? Because natural substances have positive health effects but almost no pharma-style side effects. They could be powerful competitors to the ridiculous patent drugs peddled by Big Pharma.

    (But I have read in the newspaper that all vitamins are bullshit. Do U still believe in mainstream media? These smear articles are only corporate PR-spin dressed up as science by the corrupt medical establishment. The medical databases are actually full of 1000s of articles proving the healing effects of natural substances. )

    1. asdf

      Still, just because some cure is “natural”, you shouldn’t be less careful with it than you would be with a pharmaceutical cure.

  11. Name (required)

    Notions of right and wrong, good and bad, are entirely subjective terms.

    Replace the words ‘right/rights’ with ‘ability/abilities’ and re-read.

    It’s all but a control mechanism devised by humans.

    Interception, lawful or not, may only be regarded as good or bad according to your own relative perspective on the matter.

    Demonstrably, you do not have the ability to safeguard your secrets if an authority has intercepted your communications.

    Is it bad for a government (group of people) to have organised a system whereby power is accrued to them and then used to defend their elevated status? You may well consider this act as being ‘wrong’ and ‘bad’ from your perspective as you find yourself in a vulnerable position, but from their perspective this is surely a favourable outcome.

    A person will often profess to be acting for the good of the many, but most do so only as a servant to a more powerful subconscious desire for an elevated status in the game.

    If you ever get confused, look at nature.

    It’s all a power play.

    There are no rules.

    1. asdf

      Yes, humans are animals. But animals aren’t humans.

      If you want to look at nature, infant animals born with terrible diseases or disabilities have the slimmest chance of surviving. Whereas us humans are able to care so much better of our infants that we have been subjugating natural selection.

      So please, don’t go around trying to explain human affairs as if we’re things bound by the natural order like the lowliest of animals.

  12. Iamme

    “In nonlegalese, girls as young as nine are lawfully drugged, raped, and shot. (Iran executes in excess of 5,000 women every year.)

    Do you have any references for this or are you just making things up as you type.
    And no, The Jerusalem Post is not a reliable source for information about Iran.

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  15. Macropathy vs. The Swarm | TorrentFreak

    […] write a lot more on this specific topic in my article Lawful Good, Lawful Evil where I elaborate on the fact that the book of laws and the act of good do not coincide, and that […]

  16. P2PTalk » Macropathy vs. The Swarm

    […] write a lot more on this specific topic in my article Lawful Good, Lawful Evil where I elaborate on the fact that the book of laws and the act of good do not coincide, and that […]

  17. anne cargill

    Speek no evil and do not work for evil!

  18. Macropathy vs. The Swarm | quack's Shared Items

    […] write a lot more on this specific topic in my article Lawful Good, Lawful Evil where I elaborate on the fact that the book of laws and the act of good do not coincide, and that […]

  19. Anton Sherwood

    Language tip: in American English, at least, a single herb is not a “salad”. (I can’t speak with certainty for other branches of English.)

    1. Soylent

      In Swedish salad and lettuce are called almost the same thing, sallad and sallat respectively. E.g. Iceburg lettuce is “isbergssallat” and potato salad is “potatissallad”.

  20. […] if it’s lawful, and done by law enforcement, it’s still evil and still unacceptable. Lawful doesn’t mean good or even acceptable. Again, imagine if Iran had interfered with trade or the exchange of ideas […]

  21. asdf

    Lol, how many times have I heard “but how can you be lawful AND evil at the same time?!!??!?! DOSENT MAEK SENSSSSSSSSSSADADSHDFSAKJ!!!!!”

  22. Stoertebeker

    As it is impossible to divide good from bad you should also divide the topic of good for whom. Is everything good for an individual equivalent to be good for your society?

  23. Daniel

    the primary fault of this article’s writer is that “activism” is NOT about “doing good shit and nevermind what the law says”, activism is, “nevermind what the law says, do shit I think is right”, coupled with “right” or “good” not always equating the same thing, contrary to the author’s point of view, in addition to both of these often separate concepts being a matter of debate.

    In short, Law exists to simplify what people cannot agree on. It can be flawed, but to that end, so can concepts of Right, Wrong, Good and Evil.

  24. joe

    While I agree with your argument, I have to say I find the ‘5000 women executed in Iran every year’ more than a little hard to swallow. Iran certainly has its problems, but such statistics lack credibility, especially considering the constant stream of anti-Iranian propaganda we are exposed to on a daily basis.

  25. HarryT

    I note all your Lawful Evil examples are of overseas countries. The most sinister forms of Lawful Evil exist in Western societies as we are conditioned to believe Western societies are just, compassionate and noble.

    Examples of lawful evil behaviour in Western society:
    – The adversarial legal system which values legal procedure (so called “procedural fairness”) over the truth. That’s why defence lawyers rip shreds off rape victims giving evidence, even though they feel sorry for these women, because the law requires them to blindly try to get their client acquitted irrespective of whether their client is guilty or innocent. Once the law ceases to have “the truth” as its primary objective, it disconnects itself completely from the concept of “justice” and devolves into a money-driven game of win or lose. The law is literally a game and people only care about winning at all costs, the truth be damned.

    – Selfishness and greed. You see this a lot in the corporate world. People ruthlessly using and abusing other people in order to get ahead. But it’s all perfectly acceptable behaviour because these people are using corporate policy (i.e. “the law”) to instil fear and dread into people, even if those people are competent at their jobs and haven’t screwed up. It’s all about control and power and furthering your own personal objectives whilst claiming to a noble humble servant of the corporation. Hence lawful evil: using the law to achieve evil/selfish ends.

  26. soha

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