Law is a system

WHAT IS LAW? (I)

Law is a system of rules a society sets to maintain order and protect persons and property from harm. Law is ancient, dating back at least to the Code of Hammurabi, written by an ancient Babylonian king around 1760 BC. Today, most countries have tens or hundreds of thousands of pages of law. Laws are enforced by the police, supported by the court and prison systems.

A law is the product of the social conditions at the time it is made. The law is not static. Just as relationships between people or between people and the Government are not fixed permanently, so the law changes by responding to the current social and political values of the dominant culture. As societies become more complex so does the law.

We hold from God the gift which includes all others. This gift is life — physical, intellectual, and moral life. But life cannot maintain itself alone. The Creator of life has entrusted us with the responsibility of preserving, developing, and perfecting it. In order that we may accomplish this, He has provided us with a collection of marvelous faculties. And He has put us in the midst of a variety of natural resources. By the application of our faculties to these natural resources we convert them into products, and use them. This process is necessary in order that life may run its appointed course.

Life, faculties, production — in other words, individuality, liberty, property — this is man. These three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

What is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. Each of us has a natural right — from God — to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties? If every person has the right to defend even by force — his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right — its reason for existing, its lawfulness — is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force — for the same reason — cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

Force has been given to us to defend our own individual rights. Who will dare to say that force has been given to us to destroy the equal rights of others? Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

If this is true, then nothing can be more evident than this: The law is the organization of the natural right of lawful defense. It is the substitution of a common force for individual forces. And this common force is to do only what the individual forces have a natural and lawful right to do: to protect persons, liberties, and properties; to maintain the right of each, and to cause justice to reign over us all.

Laws are guidelines that set out appropriate behaviour that has been developed over time, and are based on moral beliefs, a human condition that sets out a purpose that society in general is required to fulfill. Without the fulfillment of these desired tasks, man simply will become equal to animals – or worse still, allow their darker sides (or

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