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What Is A Good Law?? Options
gentlegiant
#1 Posted : Wednesday, March 05, 2014 8:11:15 PM
Rank: Advanced Member


Joined: 8/1/2011
Posts: 190
Somewhere long ago, I read of a curse the Chinese used on those they didn't like. It was, "May you live in interesting times." With all the turmoil in our economy, partisanship in our government, and divisions in our society, it seems we have been living that Chinese curse for the past several years.

I have studied our society and its history to try understanding the reasons for our current turbulence. I don't place all of the blame on our current leaders. They generally function within the law, and that law came from the authority we gave them or allowed them to take. It is essential for us to understand what we did and why we did it, in order to find the best path through these interesting times.

Recently, I read something on this subject that really opened my eyes. It was written by a Frenchman, Frederick Bastiat, in the mid-1800s and is amazingly relevant today. The title is simply, "The Law." I cannot give you the full text of the book here, but I will give you part of what I learned from it. I think you will find it very enlightening.

"The Law" says that free people have a natural right to defend themselves, their liberty and their property. Only by defending all three can they remain free. Good law is when they organize among themselves to defend those rights. Good law can use force, but the force used must be no more than what a free person can use to defend those rights individually. If a free individual cannot use force against the person, liberty or property of another, then the law should not be allowed to do so. Otherwise, it becomes bad law.

This struck me as profoundly logical and true.



Measuring our current society by this standard reveals many problems to me. I believe most authorities we gave our leaders, and most laws they created for us, were based on good intentions. But I think today we suffer from a mountain of unintended consequences. Did we give authority to government that we didn't have for ourselves? Do we restrain individual rights for the greater good? Do we punish individuals for their own good? Do we protect government authority more than individual rights? Is that why we are in these interesting times?

What do you think?
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