Mimesis Law
6 March 2021

On Maistre and Microwaves

Dec. 23, 2015 (Mimesis Law) — Read the following please:

All grandeur, all power, and all subordination to authority rests on the executioner: he is the horror and the bond of human association. Remove this incomprehensible agent from the world and at that very moment order gives way to chaos, thrones topple and society disappears.

Joseph de Maistre, 19th Century (1753-1821) French lawyer, diplomat & philosopher.*


Lithograph of Maistre, from a painting by Pierre Bouillon

Now read Regina F. Graham and the Associated Press, Mother who killed one-month-old baby by putting her in the microwave for five minutes sentenced to life in prison, Daily Mail (December 19, 2015).

Perhaps dead white guys have something to teach us after all.

Richard G. Kopf
Senior United States District Judge (Nebraska)

*Maistre and Edmund Burke are regarded by many as the founders of European conservatism.

6 Comments on this post.

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  • Jeff Gamso
    23 December 2015 at 10:15 am - Reply

    Is it that “order gives way to chaos, thrones topple and society disappears” because she wasn’t sentenced to die? Or is it that she killed her child because those things have already happened since California doesn’t actually execute anyone?

    Or, perhaps, it’s just that some folks do really horrific things and it’s human nature to want to lash out at them. Payback. Vengeance. And if that’s to be the basis of our “justice” system, then maybe order has already given way to chaos. and maybe it’s time for thrones to topple.

    • Richard G. Kopf
      23 December 2015 at 12:58 pm - Reply


      Could be. Sincerely, I don’t know for sure.

      All the best.


  • LawDog
    30 December 2015 at 1:21 pm - Reply

    I don’t see any nexus between the two. This sounds like a garden-variety case of post-partum depression.

    But on a lighter note, how DID the Corn get into a bowl game with only five wins?

    • Richard G. Kopf
      4 January 2016 at 4:42 pm - Reply

      Law Dog,

      Sorry for the late reply. We got into the chicken bowl because . . . . Well, damn, I’m not sure. Beat the Bruins, though!

      All the best.


  • T. Tolman
    3 January 2016 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    I have to admit, I find the connection you make in this short article to be very cryptic. Horrifying stories are everywhere. And I often have cathartic, grand responses to them, also involving potent quotes by historical figures or writers. But a bit more exposition would be welcome.

    • Richard G. Kopf
      4 January 2016 at 4:45 pm - Reply

      T. Tolman,

      I am OCD about order. I also see connections between things that other, more sane, folks don’t see. More exposition? Not on your life!

      All the best.