August 28, 2007

Horse 799 - Law - What Is It Good For?

Laws, Rules & Regulations are all in essence one and the same. At their most basic level they define what should be or what ought to be normal behaviour for an entity. In general, laws are positive "is" statements backed up with a threat of a penalty for abnormal or corrupted behaviour.

In a legal sense, laws and rules are divided into primary rules (rules of conduct) and secondary rules (rules addressed to officials to administer primary rules). Secondary rules are divided into rules of adjudication (to resolve legal disputes), rules of change (allowing laws to be varied) and the rule of recognition (allowing laws to be identified as valid). All of which are aimed at regulating behaviour of both the people under it and the judges and interpreters.

The big question that then needs to be asked is why bother to regulate behaviour? What is the point? Laws exist because the behaviour trying to be corrected and stopped is either chaotic, unhelpful or damaging to the individual or entity or society at large. The sad fact of the matter is that if left to their own devices, every entity arrives at its own set of behaviours - sometimes with dire and grave consequences.

I happen to remember this from my Introduction to Law class and taken directly from Paul's letter to the Galatians:
But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Any legal student will tell you that the ultimate goal of any law, even secular, is wrapped up within these words. It contains one very interesting word - justified. When anything including text, soldiers, facts are justified, it means that they are brought to line up. Co-incidentally a ruler also does the same thing.

Likewise the inverse of this (and what Paul expressly wrote) is that where the conduct and behaviour is already good and proper, the law by inference does not actually need to exist because the law only points out where a transgression has occured.

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