Law and legal issues appear every day in the news, movies, sitcoms, and comedy shows. It is an important part of our daily life, so what is it?
Law, the discipline and profession concerned with the customs, practices, and rules of conduct of a community that are recognized as binding by the community. Britannica.com:
‘Law is a system of rules that a society or government develops in order to deal with crime, business agreements, and social relationships’. Collins Dictionary
‘In the U.S. law refers to any rule that, if broken, subjects a party to criminal punishment or civil liability’. https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com
The first two definitions concentrate on rules to support social interaction whereas the US law concentrates on the consequences of breaking laws.
We can combine these into the following Clever law definition:
If society believes that certain rights or procedures should be in place, lawmakers act to bring about a rule to reinforce society’s needs and to achieve orderly administration of that society. For any breach the law there will be will be personal or financial consequences. MakeMeClever.com
Why Is Law Important?
Most people, businesses, corporations, and governments follow the law. If they did not then society and its processes would not be able to function. For example, laws regarding the sales of goods are there to protect the consumer, and without them, most transactions would not take place:
Would you give someone you have never seen before your money and hope they send you the product you have only seen a picture of?
No, you wouldn’t! But because of the safety and confidence laws provide us with, hundreds of thousands of people do that every day when buying on the internet; booking a flight; a birthday cake or ordering flowers.
Without laws, there would be no controls regarding pollution or protecting the environment. There would be no health and safety regulations. Roads would be in chaos. There would be more crimes as there would be no punishment for those who broke the law.
This suggests that without laws to control and regulate us, society would fall into chaos and that people are basically ‘lawless’ and would steal from someone as soon as they are given a chance. This is known as Positive Law, which prescribes what is right or wrong and people have to abide by the prescriptions, which are enforced by institutions such as the police and judiciary. Legaldictionary.net
Unfortunately, there is evidence of increasing lawlessness. There are stabbings, murders, riots, and a general malaise toward the laws that are there to protect us. But not everyone in society is lawless. Many people rely on their internal understanding of what is right and wrong and use their self-governance to set them apart from the lawless. This is known as Natural Law where humans have the free will to choose whether they feel something is right or wrong.
The Dangers Of Law
Global freedom faces a dire threat. Around the world, the enemies of liberal democracy—a form of self-government in which human rights are recognized and every individual is entitled to equal treatment under law—are accelerating their attacks. Freedomhouse.org
Not following the law is becoming more common and may even be encouraged in some settings. This lawlessness feeds into the hands of those who believe that we must be controlled to save us from inevitable collapse. The mass media encourages this by promoting fear and reliance on law providers for protection. This leads to an increase in laws that are promoted to protect us but, in the end, only serve to restrict us and lead to the rise of Authoritarianism.
Stanford University – Understanding-global-rise-authoritarianism (External Link)
Law Teacher.net – Introduction to Legal Positivism (External Link)
Corporate Finance Institute – Natural Law (External Link)
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