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Moshe Feiglin: Don’t Obey Law Too Well.

“When I was a Knesset Member, said Moshe Feiglin, “I had Ralph Waldo Emerson’s famous quote up on my wall: “Good men must not obey the laws too well.”

“The legislation binge with which the Knesset is tainted produces many laws that are motivated by populism,” Feiglin posited.  “They definitely belong to the category of laws that good people should not be obeying too well. I have written many times in the past that a small criminal works against the law, a medium criminal circumvents the law and a major criminal commits his crime by means of the law. Clearly, the history of major crime backs up that assertion,” Feiglin continued.

Feiglin said that there are laws that it is best not to obey too well because they are simply stupid. “Refusal to obey the law must be public and the person must be willing to pay the price of his/her objection. This is not anarchy, but the complete opposite: It is responsibility,” said Feiglin.

“Non-violent civil disobedience is the tool invented by democracy in order to fight anarchy. Anarchy creates the tyranny of the majority though stupid, populist legislation – in the best case – and criminal in the worst,” Feiglin continued.

Feiglin noted that a good example is the Books Law, or its Orwellian name “ The law to protect authors and literature”.

Some leftist MKs were  joined by some rightist MKs in order to force the publishing houses to stop selling books on sale for 4 for 100 NIS. Their intentions were undoubtedly good (Marx also never thought that his method would cause millions to die of starvation). After all, beginning authors are paid next to nothing for their work, while the publishing houses rake in the profits. So what is wrong with the law? Why not take from the rich to give to the poor? What can be simpler than that? The law passed by an almost absolute majority.

Now, a year later, it is actually the beginning authors who are crying for help. Book sales have dropped dramatically. Beginning authors are not getting more money. They are simply not in the game. Those terrible tycoons are still making money from translated works and well-known authors. Why should they take a risk with an unknown author when they can no longer encourage sales with special deals? In addition, the small boutique publishing houses cannot survive if they cannot sell at a discount.

Feiglin quoted Rotem Sela, a boutique publisher who breaks the new law by continuing to sell new authors at a discount said in a television interview yesterday: “All I am asking is for the government to take its iron boot off my throat.”

“His suggestion would help Israel immeasurably,” Feiglin concluded.

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