Friday, March 21, 2014

Why Dogs Need Rule of Law

Just an interesting thought tonight related to my dogs and the need for rule of law.

When one of my dogs gets a bone, they effectively become property owners. In our world, that’s a good thing. But in a world without rule of law, i.e. in their world, this is a bad thing. The problem is that without legal rights to back up their claim to their property, the other can come along and steal the bone and the dog has no recourse except trying to steal it back.

This leads to behavior that would be considered paranoid in a human. Such as hovering over the bone to fend off any attempt to steal the property, growling to warn away anyone who approaches, and trying to hide the property so it cannot be found. All of this is unproductive, wasteful, and brings about great unhappiness.

Do you see the point? Without rule of law, this flips property from being an asset meant to give you more freedom into being a burden which weighs you down and makes you arrange your life around the property. This is what rule of law gives us... piece of mind, an ability to enjoy what we have earned, and an ordered society that doesn’t require us to prepare for the worst at all times. And every time we weaken the rule of law, whether through power grabs, executive orders, over-reaching petitions, ambiguous laws, judicial activism, or mob rule, we take a step away from the good and toward a more paranoid and less secure world.



Tennessee Jed said...

"every time we weaken the rule of law, whether through power grabs, executive orders, over-reaching petitions, ambiguous laws, judicial activism, or mob rule, we take a step away from the good and toward a more paranoid and less secure world." Well said, Andrew. It reminds me of something I think was attributed to Benjamin Franklin .... something about "well we've got ourselves a country, now can we keep it." I don't remember exactly, but it seemed in the same overall vein.

We seem to have people who are so invested in "my way or the highway" thinking, we have seen some amazing things, such as the rules in the senate with Harry Reid.

That said, I realize that laws do sometimes have to be complex. because we live in a complex world. As much as people make fun of lawyers, they are necessary. And like doctors, insurance people, and everybody else, there are good and bad.

Kit said...


I agree. And this scene from A Man for All Seasons points it out clearly (51sec).

William Roper: "So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!"
Sir Thomas More: "Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?"
William Roper: "Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!"
Sir Thomas More: "Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!"

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks Jed! I think that sometimes, simple, clean examples like this can highlight why something is true much better than a longer, complex theory. And the truth is that rule of law allows us to enjoy our lives. Without it, we become paranoid and self-obsessed.

Yeah, Harry Reid is a turd who doesn't understand this at all.

Agreed on law. Law should be as simple as possible, but sometimes it's just not possible.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That is a great quote and very accurate. Law is rarely perfect, but it is a force for good like none other. Rule of law IS the benign dictator that so many people want, even if they don't understand it.

BevfromNYC said...

Laws are the same as "commandments". It codifies a societal code of behavior. Btw, in the Torah (the Old Testament to you New Testamenters) there are 613 Commandments, not just 10.

Like this one - - 523. Not to muzzle an ox while plowing

They get pretty specific...but if you read them, you can see where many of our laws stem from and...well, why there are so many Jewish lawyer (okay, I said it, but then I'm Jewish-ish, so I can get away with it...)

Critch said...

"The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the nation."-Tacitus. Law is a good thing, but not when the lawmakers use them to their own ends. I read an article the other day abouit the court decision regarding the taking of land in new London, CT for a commercial enterprise, and to this day nothing has been done. You cannot drive across your state without breaking some silly law that was passed only because someone with a bigger mouth or wallet wanted it passed. We have too many laws, too many rules and not enough freedom. I was at a meeting the other day with one of our anti-drug groups and they were lamenting that Missouri doesn't have all the laws some states have restricting access to pseudo-phed and laws allowing pharmacists to talk freely with each other about their clients prescriptions...My remark was that Missourians in general, liberal and conservative, don't like people up in our business. The .gov has more than enough resources available to fight crime without snooping in every citizens life.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, The problem with using morality instead of law is that morality only works when everyone agrees on what is moral and worries about shame. Basically, you become powerless against narcissists.

Morality and law occupy two different areas. Morality is the unofficial glue that regulates how we all believe we are supposed to treat each other. It is unofficial because we aren't willing to impose a criminal judgment on someone for violating it and we think social pressure is enough.

Law is the next step, where we impose a criminal sanction where morality isn't enough to restrain human behavior.

The problem is that (1) too many people want to impose morality through the legal system and thereby criminalize opinion and preference (Religious Right), (2) too many people (secular left) want to wipe out morality and convert the legal system into an inconsistent replacement for morality which decides "the law" on a case by case basis, and (3) too many idiots think the law should act as mother/father and control our lives to the most minute details to keep us from making mistakes.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, Too many laws is a form of tyranny. It's basically dictatorship without the visible strongman. And it's ultimately just as bad as having no rule of law. For one thing, if you can always be arrested for something, then there is no rule of law -- there is only indulgence as the state lets you stay free until it chooses to change its mind. For another, having laws no one respects eventually discredits all laws and brings you right back into the world of having no faith that your rights exist and are protected.

Critch said...

Good points Mr. Andrew: If a law is unpopular or ignored, it's probably a bad law...I'm quite proud of the fact that my dad and my mother's dad were both's a source of pride for the family that my maternal grandfather was the bootlegger for the governor of Mississippi. Prohibition is probably the silliest damn law ever passed. I'm not an anarchist by any means, but so many laws are just someone trying to social engineer's interesting that so many writers for so many centuries, Tacitus, Burke, Jefferson have all seen the same problems in too much government and have tried to warn people.

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, LOL! I love bootleggers. That's the American spirit in a nutshell right there! :D

I agree that when a law gets ignored, it's generally because it's a bad law. And in that case, it really shouldn't be on the books. All it does it cause anger in the public -- those who obey it feel like they are getting screwed, those who get caught feel like they are picking on, and everyone else feels like the government is out of control.

We really need to go through out books in this country and wipe out whole swaths of things we don't need.

Kit said...


Law concerns itself with what a person does, morality concerns itself with who a person is.

AndrewPrice said...

Not quite. Both concern themselves with behavior. The difference is whether or not we think the rule must be strongly enforced or if social pressure is enough.

AndrewPrice said...

So things are starting to go wrong in the Colorado Senate race as expecting. The local talk radio moron is upset that Cory Gardner (a conservative Republican) has said he won't run as an abortion candidate. This has resulted in denunciations. They are now adding conspiracy theories. "He's a Mitch McConnell financed candidate. He's lying to fool us and his whole voting record in the past was just an attempt trick us real conservatives." And apparently, the problem is that he's "getting criticized at the liberal country club where he goes, and he just wants to fit in." Retards.

AndrewPrice said...

Oh, and the reason Obama won't approve the Keystone Pipeline is because he doesn't want to hurt Russia because somethingsomething.

Critch said...

Ronaldus Magnus told us that the 11th Commandment was, "Thou shalt no knock other Republicans."

AndrewPrice said...

Critch, Exactly, but these guys didn't care. They even admitted that his voting record is exactly what they wanted, yet they spent over an hour convincing themselves that he was a sell out and that they should not vote forhim. What a bunch of delusional morons.

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