“Any kingdom that promises Law and Order surely has neither.”
– Lancelot, Quests for Glory
The School for Good and Evil, by Soman Chainani
When Lancelot says this, he is referring to none other than the infamous Nottingham, with its infamous sherriff, classic nemesis of Robin Hood and his Merry Men of Sherwood Forest. Of course the robbers robbed all the rich people, and kept robbing the rich people until nobody was rich, so now the area is poor. Where there is poverty, there is crime; where there is crime, there is corruption; where there is corruption, there is tyranny; and where there is tyranny, there is no Law and Order, there is only the neverending war to survive.
Such is the state of Nottingham, so-called land of Law and Order, when Lancelot makes this comment. It’s right there, in its own self-designation, yet Nottingham is plagued with poverty, crime, corruption, and tyranny, with no sign of the promised Law and Order. Nottingham is, in short, a lawless cesspool, no matter the tyrannical zeal of the sherriff who rules it. Indeed, he stands out as the great example of the lack of Law, because even though he claims to serve it, the Law does not bind him. As long as anyone is not bound by the law, most especially those who are supposed to enforce it, then Law will remain lacking.
This is particularly relevant today, I think.
Humanity has always been plagued by lawless Law, if you will. Kings, captains, sherriffs, popes, teachers, and more. In whatever office, at whatever rank, in whatever sphere, those who abuse their power have always appeared. And they have not been made to answer for it, because they are the Law, they are the Order, they are the rules, the state, the authority, the enforcement. It is a relatively rare and recent concept that the law-keepers must answer to the law they keep, that everyone, from the lowest to the highest and most especially those who enforce it, should all be held accountable by the law… that those who govern must answer to the people they govern.
“Justice for all” is still a revolutionary idea, and one which all of the unjust are united in opposing. They don’t want to be held accoutable for their crimes, after all. The entire reason they commit said crimes in the first place is on the basis of wanting to get away with it! And so they support each other in a loose conglomeration of evil, making connections, tying strings to one another, learning where the bodies are kept and keeping those bodies out of sight, thieves and gangsters keeping in with cops and politicians who keep in with big businesses and international networks of corruption that stretch across the globe. And all this while maintaining some outward facade of being sheep instead of wolves.
That last, however is rather telling.
Somehow, no matter the tyranny at hand, no matter the power they wield over other people’s lives, every one of these foul creatures must maintain, in the eyes of those they oppress, some sort of illusion of being better than they are. They must be seen not only as more powerful than any who might oppose them, but also as essential to the continued survival and well-being of their subjects. Right down to the abusive spouse or parent, maintaining that the cost of being free of them is worse than the cost of submitting to them.
Which is so much crap.
That is the single biggest lie they tell: we are not so bad, and you need us.
A kingdom that promises Law and Order is full of lies.
But a people who serve Law and Order, truly? Now, that might just get the job done, and cast all of the lawless ones from their halls of usurped power, into the dungeons where they belong.