Tuesday, March 25

Here's something you can do in a democracy but not in a theocracy

Laws in a democracy are open to change by the people's representatives. I spoke about this earlier. But more importantly, they can sunset and remove laws as well as, as it happened in England recently.

It is my personal belief that all laws passed by parliaments should have an automatic sunset or expiry clause. This helps in two ways, the first is that it forces people to think whether the laws are still fit for purpose and secondly, it makes sure that their time is taken up with fixing old problems rather than creating new ones.

Having a low legal impact society has loads to say for it, it makes life easier, cleaner and basically tells the world that they do not have to write things down to tell their citizens as to how to be good people. More laws, the more law breakers, the more law breakers, the more laws... (see my previous essay here on the granddaddy of legal systems).

Whether we are talking about civilian life, criminal life or corporate life, too many laws means that your freedom to act is circumscribed. Instead of man being free, he is told what he can do and what he cannot, and day by day, law by law, the freedom of man is being squished down. So yes, a bonfire of laws is great.

Laws, by themselves, are controls and for an old hoary libertarian like me, I find them troubling if necessary. And no, before you ask, every law generally becomes obsolete. Whether you are talking about civil, corporate or criminal law, it becomes obsolete. And if it is really supposed to be permanent and immutable, then, erm, why do you need to write it out? Like, try not to kill anybody, old chap. Now, you need a law to tell people that?

But I think that you should keep a law which states this: The King or Queen of England right to claim the tail of any whale washed up on the shores of England or Wales, or of any whale washed up in Scotland that proved too large to be dragged off on a "wain with six oxen."

And this law should be there for every law MAKER, before you make laws, you have to drag the whale personally over the ground previously covered by the six oxen. Will stop those bloody legislators from legislating everything in sight!

But more importantly, this compares very favourably with theocracies who can only add to laws, but not remove them because that will bring the edifice down. You see the entire edifice of theocracies is based upon some original scripture which is sacrosanct and the literal word of God. Now you being a mere mortal cannot go about removing bits from the word of God, can you? hence if there is something medieval or Neanderthal in a scripture, then I am afraid you are stuck with that for donkey's years in a theocracy. Are you not glad you are not living in a theocracy ?

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