“Good Morning Dave…” This was the cold voice of a machine that went insane and killed everyone in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It terrified the audience because the audience knew that the computer was now in control of the ship and they were at its mercy. The crew lost control because the machine was no longer bound by the crew’s own programming. The machine started to write its own program as it wanted and ignored the crew’s own instructions.

The classical liberal view of the law is that it was like a computer program and the government is like the computer that runs the program. This allowed the people to remain in control of the machinary of the state as long as the government executed the law precisely as the people instructed it to.

The government had to execute the law exactly as it was written in the same way a computer executes its code as it is written which made the government a dumb machine of no will of its own. It could have no will of its own other than law because if it did it would not follow the law as the people written it which would lead to the government determining what rules the people were to follow. The people would then lose control of the machinery of the state and would have any power over the formation of the rules of society. This is why the state must be a thoughless machine that simply follows the rules proscribed to it.

We are living in a ship that is ran by a program which are the laws that govern the behavior of each person in society. These laws may restrain us but as long as the people are in control of the law then the people are in control of those restraints which means that the people are in control. The crew of 2001: A Space Odyssey had a very similar arrangement in that the computer executed whatever rules that it was programmed to execute and as long as the crew could write the program the crew was in control of there own daily lives. It only got dangerous when the machine could write its own program.

This is where real life imitates art because we have allowed a system of law that ignores the rule of law itself which allows the government to establish the rules that determines how the law is to interpreted. The government’s red eye stairs at us while it adjust the program to something it decides and no matter how many times we attempt to correct the program to its original form the machinary simply ignores the corrective adjustments. We have lost control of our ship and are hearing a polite voice say ‘Good Morning American Citizen….’ Are you scared yet?

Edward Browning Bosley
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