Here goes my first ever lawschool assignment. Was set at unpublished for a while, but now I figured, fuck it. This is my blog.
What even is law? What is it supposed to do? Can we really say we need it, based on those grounds?
Law can be called a depiction of ideals of a particular society, or a tool to ensure the uniformity of those ideals, at least in action. Ideals can not be uniform by design, so that requires the presence of an external tool to enforce that and maintain order. If anyone goes against the law, or the collective ideals, he/she may be punished, fined or reprimanded in some other way. That way, generations upon generations can learn to follow almost the same set of rules and regulations, after its original makers are long gone – something that wouldn’t be possible to achieve otherwise.
Even when it has to bring about change, it can do that quasi-statically, thus providing for better stability and protecting the people from themselves. Societies that have been tested as reliable for long enough are less likely to fall than those which aren’t – therefore, revolutions work in small parts, and the favourable parts of old laws would be kept in on their individual merit to the new social conscience, rather than them being discarded as a whole.
Everyone may, by the virtue of equality in law, also be subjected to the same rules. That ensures that everyone may have some rights guaranteed by those who govern them, and in case of democracy, are in turn governed by them. That brings up another question – what does it really mean for someone to govern someone else? Does it refer to being able to make your opinion count for someone? Having the power to punish him if he disobeys? Can anyone ever really have the right to punish someone else? What would a right even be? If a lion kills another, does it have the right to eat it? If a human kills another, does he have the right as well?
Rights, are like the products of gambles having been gone on since time immemorial. Law has to see to it that they never fall below an acceptable threshold, which is defined and interpreted by whoever is in power, in the limits of that power. That is necessary to promote a basic dignity among the people, and bring about a greater happiness than would be without it. At least according to how the particular law interprets it.
Does that mean we need law? The reasoning that it protects values is circular – the law itself stands defenseless if the values are removed. It is the combination of law and values that protects itself. In other words, the circle of law and values has to be made complete, and thus we need a law for proper functioning of society.