Good laws, bad laws??? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Crime and prevention thereof. Loopholes, grey areas and the letter of the law.
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#13672973
petrkolesnikov wrote:
our further work would be about legislation mostly. Opposing bad laws, proposing good ones. Helping the country to avoid big mistakes, fine tuning the laws...


If a good law is decided by law [the people] and so too of bad law, then is the law [are the people] that decides the distinction, themselves good, bad or neutral, impartial or partial?
Or does the cart get put before the horse when it is reasoned incorectly, that a person who defines a law as good and acts in compliance of that law is themselves a good person? (which is to say, that a person who acts upon a self belief is taken as proof that the belief is true).
#13866869
That depends on whether you believe that a law can be either "good" or "bad". In Law there are two schools of thought relating to this issue, the first is Natural Law and the other is Legal Positivism. I would recommend reading H.L.A Hart's The Concept of Law, as well as John Austin's The Province of Jurisprudence Determined. Both were Positivists who, in a nutshell, believe that if a rule is valid (i.e. the source of law is one that forms 'legitimate' rules in a legal system, or is from the 'sovereign') then it is a proper law, regardless of its ethical or moral implications or consequences. Whether they agree with it is, to them, irrelevant because a law is a law. An obvious example would be human rights. Should they exist, and are they "good" laws? Are there any laws that 'aught' to exist or not exist, or do all laws exist independent of morality?

For natural lawyers, rules draw their foundation from the distinction of what is innately right and wrong. To them a law cannot be a law if it is, as Coke LJ said in Bonham's Case, "against common right and reason, or repugnant, or impossible to be performed" Coke said that where that happens, "the common law [should] control it, and adjudge such an Act to be void." For natural Law, I would recommend Coke's judgement in Dr Bonham's Case, as well as his other writings on the subject, and Henry De Bracton's On the Laws and Customs of England. A good way to illustrate this point would be to question whether the law governing single yellow, 'No Waiting' lines on a road is a 'good' law, or is it an impartial rule governing how we drive, with no moral impact?

As far as I believe, there is no natural law, and no rules based on what 'aught' to be. Parliament legislates according to necessity, and creates positivist Acts; the common law decides whether it is a law that should exist, and creates a Natural Law framework to constrain parliament's whim. In this way, both schools of thought play their part to control the whim of Parliament in the name of the Public good.
By Kman
#13866880
An evil law is no law at all, I have no qualms about breaking the laws that I find morally repugnant such as running a red light when it is 100% safe, the only thing that limits me doing so is my risk of being punished by the crooks in government and whether I can actually check for police in the immediate area.

Just because the gangsters running a certain territory says something is wrong does not make it so.

Edit: Oh yeah and OP's post is very hard to understand, you need to clarify it I think.
By Baff
#13867655
I only abide by the laws I agree with, unless I am in danger of punishment.

The safeguard to decide which law is a good one and which is a bad is trial by a jury of your peers.
If they feel the law was unjust too, then even if you are clearly guilty of it, they can still acquit you.
#13868791
A law is neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically evil. The law is the law. One can have "good" and "bad" laws in the sense of their effectiveness on paper, their implementation, etc, but that is completely divorced from the problem of good and evil.
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By Eran
#13874651
I challenge anybody to give a strong case for the moral duty to obey the arbitrary dictates of a legislator (Formal Law).

Unless you are a complete moral relativist, most people would admit that some laws (perhaps the Fugitive Slave Law or Nuremberg Laws) ought to be broken. Once that is recognized, we move away from the pure positivist approach and agree that laws should be considered on their merit, not just their form.

Some (formal) laws clearly prohibit activities (like murder and rape) that should be prohibited. But then those activities ought to be prohibited regardless of whether they are against state law or not. Other laws prohibit activities that harm nobody. I would argue that it is enforcing such laws (e.g. laws against consumption of Marijuana by adults) that is wrong.

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