It should go without saying that no person has any right to dictate to another how he should act in the privacy of his own home, no matter how distasteful that conduct might seem to busybodies.
It should go without saying that violence against those who haven’t and won’t commit violence themselves is a crime against humanity.
It should go without saying that all people are created equally free and independent, with certain inherent rights, of which they cannot deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring and possessing property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety, and that whenever government perverts its powers to the destruction of such rights, it has waived its claim to legitimacy and has itself committed a crime.
It should go without saying that no person’s religious faith entitles him to control the lives of others.
It should go without saying that government officials cannot be trusted to police our private moral behavior, and that their efforts to do so have, over the course of long, bloody, miserable centuries, invariably led to persecution, censorship, and terror.
It should go without saying that in the United States of America, in the year 2013—a nation that purports to defend the standards of civilization against rising tides of darkness worldwide—a nation that has struggled to rise above its past crimes of slavery and racism, of bigotry, sexism, and persecution—that has at its heart a greater claim to be absolved of those crimes than any other nation ever has—a nation that has it in its power to begin the world over again—a nation that has, and ought to deserve, its reputation as a refuge for persecuted humanity—a nation that promises equal justice and liberty to all mankind—
—it should go without saying that such things as this should be regarded as a moral and political atrocity; that the officials responsible deserve the swiftest legal, constitutional, and political penalties available; and that citizens should speak out in one voice to condemn it and take all necessary steps to ensure it never happens again.
It should go without saying. It should not go unsaid.
My erstwhile sparring partner, Will Baude, blogging at Volokh,posts an exchange between a father and a son that he says "well encapsulates" the Hart/Fuller debate, or at least Hart's side. I know this is supposed to be jocular, but I don't think it's fair to Fuller, and therefore, I don't think it's funny. A more accurate version, with the child standing for Fuller and the father for Hart, would be:
William: Daddy, why didn’t we have lunch today?
Henry: We did have lunch, William. Remember we had that chicken?
William: But it was chicken and waffles, we ate it at 5 in the morning, with coffee, and just after waking up.
Henry: But it’s still lunch.
This version is much fairer to Fuller's (correct) position. Also, I would submit that children, with their well-known desire for fairness, have much more of a sense for natural justice than for positivism. Rare is the child who's satisfied that the rule is the rule "because I say so."
The Alabama Law Review has published my article "Love And Solipsism: Law And Arbitrary Rule in Aeschylus, Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Anouilh." You can read it online here. I also have extra off-prints coming to me, so if you'd like one, drop me a note.
In this article, I examine the difference between lawful rule and arbitrary rule as portrayed in the works of these famous dramatists, most notably in the Oresteia, which depicts the origin of lawful rule, and Richard III, which shows its collapse. In the Oresteia, the forces of vengeance and brutality are compelled to submit to the rule of words and persuasion; in Richard III, by contrast, the villain corrupts the world of words, denying the reality of justice and conscience, and attempting to substitute his mere will for the judgment of reason. This is ultimately futile, so Richard is eventually defeated, but his efforts demonstrate how the tyrant is a kind of solipsist, who tries to make the world obey his commands. This theme is reflected in several other of Shakespeare's works. In short, lawful rule is like love, a willing participation in a genuine union; while tyranny is like rape: compelling the victim to mimic the acts of love. But the tyrant cannot eventually succeed because the difference between rape and love, or between lawful rule and tyranny, is not some socially constructed myth. It is the product of the inalienability of the individual personality.
Meanwhile, in the Antigones of Sophocles and Anouilh, we see how the civil disobedient is the lone spokesman (or rather, spokeswoman) for reality, who refuses to participate in the ruler's preferred fiction. Yet Anouilh's version of the myth, informed by the rise of totalitarianism, reflects a very different notion of the possibility of vindicating justice.