📖 Is Legal The Same As Moral And Just? | What Good Law Should Look Like?

📖 Is Legal The Same As Moral And Just? | What Good Law Should Look Like?

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Freedom of the market doesn’t imply the
absence of law. To the contrary: free market is impossible
without good law. Then what function should the law fulfill? If something is legal, then is it morally
good and useful? And vice versa, if something is illegal, then
is it morally wrong and harmful? This video will discuss what good law should
look like. Of course, we will not delve into specifics
here; we will only consider general rules on which law should be based. Let’s start with the concept of natural
law. Proponents of natural law believe that each
human has rights that are not determined by people, and that are implied by the very fact
of human existence. They are defined as timeless and immutable,
independent of living conditions, customs, nor positive law. They are understood as universal, that is
independent of human origin, race, age, belief, nationality, nor social position. They are also inalienable, which means that
one cannot renounce one’s natural laws, nor deprive someone else of them, except for
penalties for crimes that violate the rights of others. The natural rights are:
– the right to life – the right to property and the related right
to fruits of one’s work also the right to be free and to decide for
oneself i.e. liberty If these natural laws are implied by human
existence, then breaking them not only makes impossible such values as self-fulfillment,
pursuit of happiness, and achievement of goals, but even being fully human. The concept of natural law originates in various
sources. Some proponents start with religion, recognizing
God as the source of natural law, while others consider natural laws as a product of human
reason and dignity. St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Consequently
every human law has just so much of the nature of law, as it is derived from the law of nature. But if in any point it deflects from the law
of nature, it is no longer a law but a perversion of law.“ Whereas the English philosopher John Locke
said: “The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth,
and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law
of nature for his rule.” And according to French economist and politician
Frédéric Bastiat: “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.“ So if we recognize the existence of natural
law, then we cannot deny to any individual the right to defend his life, his property,
and his freedom. Thus we must recognize that we have no right
to violate his freedom and property, or endanger his life. In short, this means that: “Your rights
end where his nose begins.” Here we can refer again to the words of John
Locke: “So that, however it may be mistaken, the end of law is not to abolish or restrain,
but to preserve and enlarge freedom: for in all the states of created beings capable of
laws, where there is no law, there is no freedom: for liberty is, to be free from restraint
and violence from others; which cannot be, where there is no law: but freedom is not,
as we are told, a liberty for every man to do what he lists: (for who could be free,
when every other man’s humour might domineer over him?) but a liberty to dispose, and order
as he lists, his person, actions, possessions, and his whole property, within the allowance
of those laws under which he is.” So if the positive right is to be just and
serve the individuals that are subject to it, can it be something else than just a collection
of individual natural rights of individual people? The law that equally protects life, freedom,
and property of every citizen is invaluable to society. Not everyone can defend themselves. Not everyone can or want to be their own bodyguard
or soldier. Good law, before which all are equal, penalizes
murder because murder violates the right to life. It penalizes theft and fraud, as both violate
the right to property. It also penalizes coercion because it violates
the right to be free. Good law protects the weak against the tyranny
of the strong. It protects the minority from the tyranny
of the majority. It prevents granting privileges to certain
groups at the expense of others. In short, such law is an instrument of justice. But what happens when the law belies the natural
rights stated earlier? More than 150 years ago Bastiat wrote: “The
law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice
that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose
was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at
the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty,
and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in
order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a
crime, in order to punish lawful defense.” It follows that objectives of the universal
law shouldn’t depart from maintaining the individual rights of individual people. A person can satisfy his or hers needs either
by work or by plundering the fruits of other people’s work. Work is difficult and hard, so as every human
avoids labor by nature, he will choose to plunder provided it will be easier. Of course, not everyone will choose to plunder,
but there is truth to Francis Bacon’s saying that “opportunity makes a thief.” Good law should make plunder harder, more
onerous, and more dangerous than work. The problem arises when the law is created
by people who want to live at the expense of others. Their bad positive law makes plunder legal. How does it work? Legal plunder occurs when a government, acting
under the guise of law, takes away the property of an individual against his will. It occurs when the government uses law to
do something for which a citizen would be penalized. It occurs when the law is exercised for the
benefit of one group of people at the expense of another group. However, plunder sanctioned by law does not
cease to be plunder. Thus, law becomes an instrument of injustice. This brings about adverse effects even more
grave than the results of unauthorized transfer of property by means of illegal plunder. Bastiat lends us a hand yet again: “When
law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either
losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.” Many people act based on the belief that what
is legal must be both moral and just. But the bad law divides people and pits them
against each other. People who are being plundered are set against
those benefiting from legal plunder. The sense of injustice thus rises. In this toxic environment each group strives
to make law. There are those with good intentions, who
want to put an end to the injustice, and there are those who would perpetuate the unjust
system to benefit themselves and shift its burdens to other people. Bad law is also the source of common but unfair
allegation that in the free market “the rich get rich at the expense of the poor.” The real culprit here is market regulation,
especially government licenses or permits. A large corporation with a stable market position
will get these easily, but an individual, striving for a fresh start, will have a hard
time with that. Corporations can twist the law through lobbying,
and make themselves immune to potential competition. The market becomes increasingly monopolistic. Another example of the violation of freedom
and property are tariffs, which were already mentioned in another video. Tariffs interfere with the liberty to reach
mutually beneficial agreements, and they benefit elite groups of interest at the expense of
others. In some cases it is equally true that bad
law benefits the poor at the expense of the rich. Public benefits, redistribution of goods,
and compulsory insurance are such examples. Thus, entire society is riddled with escalating
mutual plunder, growing divisions, and entitlement mentality that manifests in people blaming
the government and other social groups for their misfortune instead of themselves. And in such a system, the blamers have a point,
because other people make decisions for them and disallow them to act freely. If a human being is free, and the law protects
his freedom and property, then he has no reason to blame anyone else apart for himself for
the decisions he consciously made. In a sense, law is a force. A force in itself is neither good nor bad. Only the way it is used can be described as
right or wrong. Law can be a boon that allows individuals
to develop in their own ways, or it can be a source of oppression and injustice. Good law is indispensable for the existence
of a free and well functioning market. I hope that this video will inspire you to
discuss the issue and that it will encourage you to extend your knowledge by reading some
of the articles and books suggested below at the econclips.com website. You will find the links in the video description. We would be extremely grateful if you would
share the video with your friends.

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