Under English common law, a man who was declared an outlaw had no rights. The pronouncement caput gerat lupinum – “may he wear a wolfish head” – meant he was to be treated like a wolf in the wild. They were persona non grata. Anyone could take from them and it was not theft. Anyone who found them could kill them and it would not be considered murder. It was a form of political and social death.
We are seeing this phenomenon, in which a society strips a person of their rights and membership in the community, play out today.
Except they don’t call them “outlaws.” They call them “Nazis” or “white supremacists.” But the intent, the actual meaning of those words and the purpose for using them, is the same.
I’m not going to go recount all the instances following the Charlottesville rally in which those who attended were de-platformed by a variety of companies and corporations, fired from their jobs, slapped with bogus charges by the police, or attacked by antifa scum that had no fear of repercussions by the authorities. Suffice to say, what occurred was a pronouncement that certain people, who had committed no crime nor were even accused of one, were caput lupinum.
Whatever you may want to think of those who attended the rally, they peacefully assembled with a valid permit backed by a federal court order. Yet the city government and police department illegally shut down the rally and forced the rally attendees to walk through hordes of counter-protesters, where they were attacked. Some were nearly blinded by acid thrown at their eyes.
None of this was of any consequence to any major political leader who commented on the situation. Nor did we hear much protestation from libertarians when the rally goers were doxxed and discriminated against. The fact that their constitutional rights were flagrantly violated mattered not, because they were “Nazis” and “white supremacists.” The tacit declaration is that those declared to be Nazis have no rights, and the implication for them is no different than it would be for the king of England to declare someone an “outlaw.” You can kill these people and steal their stuff. It’s ok. We the collective said so.
All this occurred in ways that would never be tolerated were it to be carried out by the Right against the Left.
For anyone who dare challenge this, I would simply point you to the women’s march that occurred during Trump’s inauguration. The women who went did not have their hotel reservations canceled, their websites shut down, and their youtube channels demonetized. Despite all the pearl-clutching and references to the Handmaiden’s Tale, these women had zero fear of violence from Trump supporters and even less trepidation about losing their jobs when they returned home. This is because their values and views are the status quo and therefore will not be declared worthy of an outlaw under our current regime.
When someone today is calling someone a Nazi, they are effectively declaring that their rights no longer exist. They are saying it is ok to kill someone, and those that do should not fear arrest or imprisonment. When these new “outlaws” are killed, the government will not condemn their murders. Instead it will condemn the murdered as “outlaws.”
This is why the word “Nazi” is thrown around so much. The absurd and pathetic attacks on the Mises Institute and Tom Woods are indicative of this.
The power to take away a person’s rights merely by speaking the right word is intoxicating, and for those who have little authority elsewhere in life, it may be the only instance where they exercise any form of control. It also means that others will submit to their commands, out of fear of being called one.
It is, in many ways, akin to the state priests I wrote about so long ago. These priests administer rights, but also take them away. In a religious sense, it is a form of excommunication, and similar to when the Popes of old would place a bounty on someone’s head.
We may very well reach a point in this country where murders are carried out openly and no repercussions occur to those who carry them out. It will be acceptable to burn people’s homes to the ground, harass their children, and violate their spouses. All it will take is someone – the right person – calling them a “Nazi,” and enough fools in their community willing to let these atrocities happen because, as we saw repeatedly throughout the 20th Century, they lacked the moral fortitude to do anything out of fear of being the next person to have the dreaded smear branded on their name, too.