(UPDATE: Late in the afternoon on May 6, FoxNews reports that on the urging of Texas Governor Abbott, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to Dallas County State District Judge Eric Moyé informing him that he abused his discretion when he "unjustly jailed" Ms. Luther, and informing the judge that she immediately should be released from jail.)
It’s enlightening when an “average citizen” exhibits more knowledge and understanding about rights than an agent of the state.
And that’s precisely what happened in Texas yesterday, as salon proprietor Shelly Luther stood up against the domineering diktats of Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbot, the Dallas County government, and Fourteenth Civil District Court Judge Eric Moyé.
Judge Eric Moyé presides over the 14th Civil District Court located in Dallas County. Dallas County issued an order to Luther requiring her to close her business after she opened in defiance of the stay at home Coronavirus lockdown.
Ms. Luther defied that authoritarian command, offering her services to those who would freely choose to accept them in exchange for payment. Her employees were free to join her.
The judge did not like this.
In fact, he ordered her to apologize and to shut down, and, in exchange for those “small” admissions of defeat and “WrongThink”, he offered to drop the charges.
Prior to her statement, Judge Moyé said she must see the errors of her ways and ‘understand that the society cannot function where one’s own belief in a concept of liberty permits you to flaunt your disdain for the rulings of duly elected officials.’
He told her:
‘That you owe an apology to the elected officials who you disrespected by flagrantly ignoring, and in one case defiling, their orders you now know obviously apply to you,’ Moyé lectured. ‘That you understand that the proper way in which an ordered society to engage concerns that you might have had is to hire a lawyer and advocate for change, an exception or an amendment to laws that you find offensive.’
Which reveals numerous things about Judge Moyé, not the least of which is that he doesn’t use proper grammar or understand the meaning of “defile”. More important, he hasn’t the faintest clue about the difference between society and the state, the difference between Natural Law and statute, and the importance of free will, voluntary association, and civil disobedience – all of which are the bedrocks of the American constitutional system.
To inform His Hugeness, Judge Moyé: a politician and his diktats are not “society." The state is not “society”. Society is that assemblage of traditions and private institutions people create voluntarily, through their own free will and personal choices. As a result, they actually reflect their real preferences and show what people like and do not like, support and do not support.
This is essential to understand, and the judge does not. He seems oblivious to the fact that American constitutional law is based on this fundamental difference, a difference that is founded on the philosophical principle of Natural Law and an understanding of the dramatic separation between Natural Law and statute. Natural Law is that which is God-given, innate, the observable set of “hands-off” standards Thomas Jefferson expressed in the Declaration of Independence. It embraces the idea of Natural Rights, negative rights – meaning “mutual hands-off” the lives, property, speech, religious, and voluntary interaction of others.
The concept of Natural Rights upholds the standards of both sides of The Golden Rule, meaning, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and “DO NOT do unto others as you would NOT have them do unto you.”
Statutes are not part of “Natural Law”. They are directives from the state, and such diktats from “elected” politicians that stand in contravention of Natural Rights are, as John Locke and Thomas Jefferson said, invalid, and, as Jefferson said, people have a duty to rebel against them.
Conforming to such unjust commands, in Jefferson’s eyes, was to show disrespect to God, He who gave you your rights upon creating you.
Ms. Luther has a much better grasp on this than the judge. For she did not back down. Her response to his demand?
Judge, I would like to say that I have much respect for this court and laws, and that I have not been in this position before, and it is not someplace that I want to be, but, I have to disagree with you, sir, when you say that I’m selfish [for re-opening the salon]… because feeding my kids is not selfish.
As an observation, it should be noted that the moment she said, “but I have to disagree with you, sir,” the judge turned away from the camera through which they were communicating, and began shuffling papers.
Nothing like showing respect, there, Mr. Moyé. Total class.
And Ms. Luther continued:
I have hairstylists that are going hungry because they’d rather feed their kids. So, sir, if you think the law is more important than kids getting fed then please go ahead with your decision but I am not going to shut the salon.
At which moment the tax-funded judge found her in contempt.
(T)he judge ordered her jailed for seven days and fined $500 for every day the salon remains open. So far, the fine stands at $3,500.
Ms. Luther and her lawyer are appealing the action by the judge, and, as Breitbart notes, the judge’s action comes at just about the same time as Governor Abbot started to lift some of the salon closures in Texas.
But the source of real contempt is clear.
And the lesson is clear. Society and the state are different. Statute is not “law”, as in Natural Law, and the state always infringes on Natural Rights, because it can only exist by taking money from people. Everything it does is anti-social and feeds off free people and voluntary actions, like those of Ms. Luther, her staff, and their clients.
The Founders tried to establish a set of barriers within the US Constitution to guard against the growth of government, and they relied on those who might get into the halls of political power to know the fundamentals and be true to them.
One person in that exchange between the business lady and the judge was true to Natural Law.
And it was not the judge.