terça-feira, 19 de outubro de 2004

The Rules By Which We Live

"(...)Moreover, many, or most, of the "laws" we follow day to day are not enforced by government at all so making similar ones a province of government is really quite pointless. These are the rules that govern our workplaces, the bylaws of our clubs and associations and subdivisions, the standards enforced by the places we shop and the places we eat, etc. Well, as I’ve already noted, these are not even laws proper but rules that any manager of private realms would set down—that of, say, a tennis court or a swimming pool.

Many of the governmental edicts, in any case, are pseudo laws, rules that are annoying mainly because government has accrued to itself the sole, monopolistic authority to impose them on us—e.g., that first class mail must in all cases cost the same no matter where it goes, next door, or 3000 miles away.

Of course many perfectly good "laws"—actually rules—do not come from government. Many of the "laws" we follow are not really laws but rules, say, of the road, of using beaches, of attending schools. The only reason government is involved is that it has usurped its role by taking over these spheres in a rightly ordered universe.

As a result of the proliferation of pseudo laws, all bonafide laws, those that really ought to be obeyed by everyone, tend to lose their credibility. When the legal order treats drug or alcohol prohibition, or affirmative action mandates, along the same lines it treats the prohibition against murder and rape—when it equivocates between these two categories of edicts by calling both of them laws—it is natural for people to begin to see them both as merely conventional, just something those in power happen to wish to prohibit or mandate, not as something that ought to be obeyed.

One virtue of the classical liberal, libertarian idea of law is that it preserves the coherent, even reverent meaning of the concept "law" and does not water it down, thereby weakening its reputation and undermining its binding force"

Tibor R. Machan

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