John Biggs Jr.John Biggs Jr., (1895-1979) former Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (1945-65)

John Biggs Jr. Quote

“Let us revise our views and work from the premise that all laws should be for the welfare of society as a whole and not directed at the punishment of sins.”

John Biggs Jr.John Biggs Jr.
~ John Biggs Jr.

Ratings and Comments

  • Reply
Anon    12/23/08

This kind of thinking is one of the causes that brings down a free nation. Socialism preached from government on high.

Bob Densic, Rossford, Ohio

Quite possibly the worst quote on "Liberty" I have ever heard. Seriously people do you THINK about these things before you post them? Laws are not about welfare of society, nor should the intent of government be so. Laws are precisely to punish those who sin against society. Good Lord people - if you don't get this you have no business calling yourself "Liberty Tree". You are on double-secret probation with me. One more worthless anti-liberty quote out of you and I'm gone. No sense wasting time with people who don't understand liberty!

Bryan Morton, Stuart, Florida

Thanks Bob! "...laws should be for the welfare of society as a whole..." sounds double plus ungood to me, too. Laws should only exist in as far as they protect the equal, reactive defense of each individual's negative rights to life, liberty and property.

Mike, Norwalk

aah yes, the collectivist thought, replete with its processes and procedures in eliminating the Constitution with its founding principles. Bob, you missed the point. The point is: the judge knew what he was doing when he made the evil doer a theocracy punishing sins, diverting the argument away from a nation who's jurisprudence was based on natural law (you spend more than you have = bankrupt; take that which is not yours = theft, jump of a cliff = fall, etc.). Once eliminating the true state of affairs, the judge can establish the argument's parameters. It is much easier to beat up on the new enemy, socialism becoming more palatable and defendable. Truth can not be part of the argument on either side, only alluded to, to justify the new despotism. Once the truth has been eliminated, the concept of substantive freedom removed from consciousness, the re-defining of legalisms has been applied to new despotic standards, a new foe is firmly put into place so real liberty is not part of the argument, that which was (truth, freedom, liberty, etc.) is no more.

jim k
  • Reply
jim k    12/23/08

I don't see this as a quote to promote "welfare" as we think of welfare today. Even our Constitution has the term "to promote the general welfare". Of course our politicians use this as an excuse to dole out money to every non working person they can dig up. There is a law against running red traffic lights which are definitely for the welfare of some one entering the light on green.

Anonymous, Reston, VA US

Gee, all the guy said was that laws ought to be about how to address things that actually affect others, and not about victimless acts... given that laws are artifacts of society, it should not be unreasonable for them to be addressing making society better. Some times I think half the folks here can't read... all that most seemed to see in the above quote were the two words "welfare" and "sin"... stop, slow down, read all of the words and the breadth of their meaning.

Dick, Fort Worth

The least one could do is learn the definition of welfare. Reston said it best.

E Archer, NYC

I don't get the thumbs-downers today. Government is essentially evil and corrupt -- the last thing you want is for laws to be created for punishing unbelievers who hurt no one. Mike, what about all the victimless-crimes rhetoric?

  • Reply
RBESRQ    12/26/08

Wow! I'm with you Archer - laws should be based on our welfare not those that commit crimes.

  • Reply
Anonymous    3/12/09

Idealistic and visionary... I like it and agree with it. (Also, this quote clearly isn't about socialism or the welfare system- it's about the betterment of society in general, not checks sent in the mail).

Mike, Norwalk

Archer, I'll try and take it apart for you. "Let us revise our views and work from the premise that all laws should be for the welfare of society" The judge's use of the term law here is as if he is a god that can create law. "LAW" is neither for the welfare or detriment of society. "LAW" simply defines that which 'IS'. The closer man's tools (codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc.) are to define that which 'IS' (not the welfare or detriment of society) the more free the individual sovereign will be. To use a code, statute, etc. to compel welfare has been a justification to inflict with despotism, tyranny and all else that is unjust. "as a whole and not directed at the punishment of sins." The punishment of sins falls within a religious domain of justice, not law ! Victimless crimes are promoted as the "welfare of society" not a sin / violation. "to promote the general welfare" clause means the general welfare of the federal government, not We The People.

Mike, Norwalk

Working from the premise that all laws should be for the welfare of society as a whole has given us the nanny state's Obamacare, The Patriot Act, the war on drugs, continual war in foreign lands and ad infinitum despotic slave masters. I have been in court where the judge freely admitted an aggrieved party had been wronged but the judgement was against the injured for the benefit of society. Socialism's religionists 'welfare of society' is a far different perception than mine and anti-law in its application.

Mike, Norwalk

Robert (RBESRQ) WHAT ? ? ? You said there should be no definition of theft, murder or slavery and, your carnal god law makers should be your nanny ? ? ?

watchman 13, USA

Appointed by F.D.R. in 1937. Mike you hit the nail on the head. More history of when crops were nationalized would help. How about direct tax on income, the stopping of barter between farmers and retail distribution.

E Archer, NYC

Mike, I don't see how any of that addresses the point that 'laws should not be directed at the punishment of sins.' As you have said, man cannot create laws, only rules. But obviously, it has not stopped men from making 'laws' and punishing the 'law breakers.'

According to common law (which has been usurped by commercial/civil/admiralty law), one brought a case before a judge and jury when actual injury has been wrought upon another. It was not a 'crime' to ingest something that might hurt you or to grow your own crops on your own land or collect rain water or build something that produced energy out of garbage. But today, you can be charged with a criminal offense if you do any of these things without 'permission'. The purpose of 'law' (little 'l' law -- the statutes that humans put together to right the wrongs committed against one another) was to first of all defend the natural rights of man and to provide a means of redress. And if you are truly Christian, you are supposed to forgive your neighbors' sins, not play God and dish out punishment. I find that most Christians are not. In fact, they delighted in the punishing and torturing of sinners and heretics -- this is the Christian heritage (but certainly not exclusively Christian as Muslims and Jews have been no less cruel).

And as you have said, Mike, real Law (like gravity and economics) does not need enforcement nor punishment as the Law is self-fulfilling -- save no nuts for the winter and starve, jump off a cliff and land hard. That is Karma for you. When you are defending yourself against a murdering thief, you are not defending yourself against sin, you are defending your life, liberty, and property and that of your family and neighbors -- sin has nothing to do with it. Combining sin with crime is dangerous stuff because then crime can be defined as anything that the religionists say it is. If you defend the punishing of sins, then you are defending Sharia Law and other systems of 'law' where religion and law are one and the same.

The puritanical streak still runs high in America even among secularists. We still have a long way to go before embodying the true Christian ideal. Until then, let God be God.

E Archer, NYC

Mike, I do agree with your argument against 'making laws' for the welfare of society -- I am against the making of ANY laws for the same reason. ;-) I was addressing the 'punishment of sins' bit. I suppose the 'welfare of society' bit is general enough to be abused. For me the welfare of society is the protection of Liberty for everyone, not the licensing of privileges by statute.

Mike, Norwalk

Archer, your first statement was very good. I guess I wasn't clear. If it were measurable, I think that passing laws against sin is as, if not more reprehensible than passing laws for the welfare of society.

Tog, Carno

Please change the font back to what it was. They come through almost unreadable for my older eyes.

Mike, Norwalk

Now that laws are past for the welfare of society as a whole (an ever expanding dole, raw milk is gone, home gardens are under federal authority, the police state's confiscations and dogma enforcement are ever increasing, etc., etc., etc.) punishment for sins is the next natural step (by way of example; bakers, ministers of conflicting religions, along with all others acting on differing beliefs are punished if they will not participate in the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land's religious ordinances and newly created rights by the god/government/church).

warrdoc, Elk Grove,Ca

I agree with Mike, and I have one more reference for you all,
the gurus of climate change want to punish those who, in office or who has public influence, that dare challenge or disagree with their findings on global climate change

Ronw13, Yachats Or

Yes at first, the separation of church from state, assured the removal of what might be privately interpreted as sin. It, sin, being the transgression of the law. Biblical dietary laws to begin with created the greatest void, and gulf between Christian believers. Some dance, drink, smoke and play cards, drink coffee and eat pork ex. Moderation is the mode of operation when set at liberty. The middle wall of partition taken out of the way, affords liberty for all. There will always be cackling from the back row, but should never be allowed to dictate rule. Denominational separation clouds the issues with private interpretation and doubt. To be freed from a guilty conscience imposed by some for the sake of control of others, is to realize what Liberty is all about. Some wish to remain in chains, and are only happy when enslaving others with their guilt ridden conscience. Sad !! The climate change rhetoric is the dupe of socialism instilling a guilty conscience upon the gullible, who unknowing of the cyclical nature of occurrence.

Jim k, Austin

Ronw13, what on earth are you talking about. Can you ever speak in plain English ?

Ronw13, Yachats Or

Sorry Jim, I can go on. There is always a point where conflict starts. Our form of moderating Liberty is not based on private interpretation of moral behavior, but rather the upholding course of wholesome life. All other points of view, considering life style, Natural laws ordained by a nondenominational God dictate outcome. Our Liberty is designed to let the God of Nature have His Way. What an experiment !! One God for All. He must be the guy, for we got the power. Semper FI

Ronw13, Yachats Or

Jury prudence based on Natural law. " Subtle and elusive boundary ". For we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery !!

E Archer, NYC

Mike I do understand the very good point you are making. American jurisprudence has been corrupted by the elimination of the common law, or more accurately, by the merging of common law and commercial law equating a legal fiction with a real person and thus subjecting the common man to commercial regulation.

Something to consider, government does not make 'common laws.' -- a crime is an intentionally malicious act that violates another's life, liberty, or property. When the government makes some act 'illegal' it does so under the interstate commerce jurisdiction -- it cannot dictate ANY regulations to the common man on his own property who is violating no one's rights. A family farm is not a commercial enterprise, nor is it inter-state. It all starts with the property owner's right to provide for himself and his family from the fruits of his labors on his own land -- the government has NO right to any of his produce (and the same goes for his neighbors).

This is what forms towns, then counties, then States. The the States can join a confederacy like the USA or the UN -- but the UN does not then become their ruler. The same is true of Washington DC and the federal government.

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

Fairly rational sentiment, we as mature adults are not here to punish but to correct the course of events and understanding for the purpose of allowing life to simply succeed.


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