Friday, June 22, 2007

Legal Hirearchy as a Source of Stability & Accomidation

A stable legal system has many benefits. Lets list some:

1. Stable laws help businesses and other organizations formulate long term plans.

2. Many times laws are created as a result of cultural norms and sentiments. However, often cultural norms and sentiments are a result the laws. For instance, in the US, freedom of speech isn't just a law that is a result of a general cultural sentiment. The fact that is encoded into the constitution has become the source for the validity of that sentiment. Over time, US citizens have come to identify th US Constitution as a definitive source of moral standard and good culture. This sort of bond between culture and law can only be attained over a long period of time. Among the benefits of this bond are respect for the law, and patriotism.
That being said, the benefits of a stable legal system are a stable culture.

3. Stable laws promote the image of the government as an authority.

4. Stable laws promote the image of a correlation between the laws and objective good or bad. If representatives were to arrive at some objective truth to base the law on, the law shouldn't change ever. If the laws change often, it means that there is no real basis for the law.

5. Stable laws reduce the number of new, un-refined laws. Some of the problems with new laws are that they haven't been tested (so they could be wrong) and that thy may contain loopholes.

The problem with a stable legal system, is that it can be un-accomidating to changes in culture & moral sentiments and changes in facts on the ground. An un-accomidating system could lead to the following problems:

1. Statewide instability. If the moral and cultural sentiments that a law is based on change, than a large part of the community will not be satisfied with the legal system.

2. Legal Inaccuracy: If the facts on the ground (such as economic facts) warrant an unmade change in law, an un-accommodating legal system can harm the country.

The way to properly blend stability and accommodation is via a hierarchal legal system. That means that the government should have a system composed of different grades of laws. The most fundamental laws be more difficult to establish and change, and the less fundamental laws be easier to change. With a carefully designed system like that, any government should be able to weather the changes of time, without having to sacrifice cultural stability.

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