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#Actualsunandshadow

Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:27 PM

It's like you didn't even read the part about the positive uses of law. Just because I think something is inherently wrong doesn't mean it doesn't have a good use.
 
Further, in smaller communities this isn't an issue. Nobody is going to be able to go around being a complete asshole in a lawless society because somebody else will make them regret it. Even if nobody else can, the community can do it. Even the vile, wicked murderers in the lawless old west would never ride into town and start killing people, at least not without a lot of help, because they'd have a lifespan of about ten minutes if they did and the risk clearly could never be worth whatever reward they could pull from it. (Unless they were trying to die, and law couldn't stop that. Actually, law might encourage it.)

I did not reference your stuff about the positive uses of law because I was trying to construct a different argument.  I'm a utilitarian, so for me, by definition, the society with the highest average standard of living is the best.  I wanted to demonstrate that law raises the average standard of living, thus law a lack of law is inherently immoral.
 
But I think you're quite wrong that in small communities no one would be able to go around acting like a complete asshole.  In a small group of people one is always going to be the most powerful, whether they get that power by being intimidating, ruthless, physically strong, persuasive, or what.  Whether you are talking about the chief or the best hunter of some isolated tribe, or the owner of a feudal estate or slave plantation, history is full of people who got away with all kinds of horrifying things including murder, rape, enslavement, forcible castration, and torture.  There are also many historical examples that people will cooperate to oppress others, defending each other against anyone who might want to stop them from doing so.

All that aside, from a more technical point of view it is just much easier to use a story to show that a specific type of government or law is bad than to try to show that all law is morally wrong even though it can have good effects. Any concept that abstract and non-straightforward is difficult to illustrate with a story. (By non-straightforward I mean that you can't just show all law causing bad effects, since you agree it can cause good ones.)

#1sunandshadow

Posted 06 June 2013 - 09:22 PM

I am female, just for clarification.

 

As far as law goes, I don't think it's possible to get an unbiased concept of how law works by looking only at the way it works in the current time.  If you look further back in the history of our species, law existed in a lot more variety.  There are many more theoretical possibilities.  The fact that currently it is difficult to move to a different country with different laws is coincidental, not fundamental.  The degree to which lawmakers and law enforcers are separate from those living under the law is also variable.

 

I think the essence of law is this: people are social animals.  People are not inherently good or kind, nor are they inherently evil or cruel.  What they are is impulsive and self-centered (not meant in a negative way).  One can only see out of one's own eyes, experience one's own sensations and emotions; we theorize that other people are more or less the same as us, but it's natural to consider others' pain and problems as less real than our own because we can't feel them.  Whether toddlers or adults, humans have both sympathetic and sadistic impulses, as well as a desire to have all the good things we see others have, a desire to be recognized as special or better than others, a desire to make others do what we think they ought to do, and a desire not to be forced to do anything by others.  Additionally there are always a small percentage of humans who have some kind of mental disorder or other issue resulting in abnormal impulses and/or behavior.  So, if you take a random group of humans and dump them somewhere with no laws, some will be nice to each other, some will even be nice to everyone, but even someone who is kind 95% of the time can do long-term damage in that other 5% of the time that they follow an impulse to do something not-so-nice.  And at least 10% of people won't care about being kind or nice or not hurting others, and will make life unpleasant for everyone; that can be analogized to rape just like law can.  So I think that a lawless human society will be one where the average quality of life is low and 90% of people are unhappy.

It's like you didn't even read the part about the positive uses of law. Just because I think something is inherently wrong doesn't mean it doesn't have a good use.

 

Further, in smaller communities this isn't an issue. Nobody is going to be able to go around being a complete asshole in a lawless society because somebody else will make them regret it. Even if nobody else can, the community can do it. Even the vile, wicked murderers in the lawless old west would never ride into town and start killing people, at least not without a lot of help, because they'd have a lifespan of about ten minutes if they did and the risk clearly could never be worth whatever reward they could pull from it. (Unless they were trying to die, and law couldn't stop that. Actually, law might encourage it.)

I did not reference your stuff about the positive uses of law because I was trying to construct a different argument.  I'm a utilitarian, so for me, by definition, the society with the highest average standard of living is the best.  I wanted to demonstrate that law raises the average standard of living, thus law a lack of law is inherently immoral.

 

But I think you're quite wrong that in small communities no one would be able to go around acting like a complete asshole.  In a small group of people one is always going to be the most powerful, whether they get that power by being intimidating, ruthless, physically strong, persuasive, or what.  Whether you are talking about the chief or the best hunter of some isolated tribe, or the owner of a feudal estate or slave plantation, history is full of people who got away with all kinds of horrifying things including murder, rape, enslavement, forcible castration, and torture.  There are also many historical examples that people will cooperate to oppress others, defending each other against anyone who might want to stop them from doing so.


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