Monday 10 November 2014

What is Law? - in the modern secular Leftist state?

The Law in modern secular Western democracies is a good example of 'not even trying'.

It used be be assumed that 1. Laws should be moral; 2. Laws should be coherent.

If Laws are moral and coherent then it is Good to obey them (while acknowledging that Law is not the highest morality, and being both partial and systematic Laws sometimes are not moral and coherent - hence the need for God, Judges, and mercy).

But it is about fifty years since The West abandoned this religious concept of Law; and the real Law began to unravel. Now The Law is not even trying to be moral and coherent.

Now, Laws are not moral, because there is no morality - morality is contextual and contingent hence unreal; and Laws are not coherent, because coherence is not acknowledged as necessary, nor even as Good.

Now Laws are just Laws, and they are not based on anything solid, they are not a consensus, they can change open-endedly, the contradict each other, we are all doing illegal things every moment of every day, disobedience to many laws is openly advocated and praised... yet in some situations some people are supposed to obey some Laws... Or Else.

This is the situation- The Law is not trying to be moral nor is it trying to be coherent; and this situation is justified on the basis that there is no morality and no requirement for coherence; so fundamentally what is now called Law is a fake, that is only related to real Law at the level of evolving social institutions.


Note: The situation of living under a fake system of Law is generally unnoticed because people do not discriminate between a real but imperfect system of Law- which has the correct and necessary ideals and aspirations but fails to execute them perfectly is has flaws and corruptions; and, on the other hand, a fundamentally fake or pseudo-system of Law, which cannot be described as corrupt or flawed because it lack any concept of purity or perfection. Between these, there is all the difference in the world.


anon5 said...

The distinction F.A. Hayek makes between law and legislation may be useful for thinking about this more. Briefly, law is an emergent/organic order (a cosmos in his terminology) and reflects the values of the people. In this sense, law is customary. Legislation is that artificial written stuff (a taxis -human-imposed order). Legislation begins as an attempt to clarify the inherent uncertainties of law (like the mercy you mention). It ends, apparently, by utterly subsuming the law. And so, we are a people with far more legislation and far less law (more disorder, collapse of social trust etc.).

Luqman said...

There is also the way the law is enforced: Anarcho-Tyranny. The average citizen suffers under layers of bureaucracy and is threatened for problematic expression. Excessive policing of minor (or no) transgression, tyrannical behaviour. At the same time, actual crime; violent rapes, muders and robberies go deliberately underreported, entirely covered up or when finally punished the punishment is so light so as to cast mockery on the word. Anarchy.

JP said...

The purpose of law (and politics) today is to transfer wealth from the politically unconnected to the politically connected. Among the reasons laws constantly change and contradict each other is that who is politically connected changes over time, and different politically connected groups seek to tilt the legal playing field in their favor.

Bruce Charlton said...

@JP - Well, that is what it does - but I would only count it as a purpose if it is an explicit aim, evaluation criterion, and organizing principle.

Anonymous said...

The law today in the west is the expression of what I call "the Good", which is an amorphous thing, but may be thought of as all that is politically correct. The Good is not anything specific, but is mostly what good people want. Leftism is very antinomian- if you are a good person, whatever you want is good, and if you are a bad person, whatever you want is bad, even if is exactly the same as what a good person wants. "Good" people roughly are white leftists and non-whites.

JP said...

Like many other organizations, the Law has been infiltrated, subverted, and destroyed from the inside. Thus you can still find examples of the original aims, evaluation criteria, and organizing principles of the law on the books. Yet it is not hard to find examples of Leftist aims, evaluation criteria, and organizing principles either. All of them involve the transfer of wealth from the politically unconnected to the politically connected, usually for some ostensibly "good" purpose.