legal reboot

legal reboot

Postby snowowl » Wed May 21, 2014 10:14 am

During the recovery of a legal system after the fall, I think at the beginning it would be, as Hobbes says, a war of all against all. The necessary prerequisite for law and government is a state monopoly on the use of force (or at least great superiority in the use of force). I expect that there would be many who would see the need to develop an alternative to anarchy and would work together to create such a practical monopoly of force. The process will not be pretty and will entail considerable violence. At the end of it, some group will have acquired at least local political control.

Of course, this is not a legal system, but it is the prerequisite for one. A despotic ruler may prevail for a time, but ultimately law will develop. Commerce depends upon enforceable contracts and predictable property rights. Civil peace depends upon a common understanding of personal rights and a clear definition of criminal behavior. The first legal codes (like the Code of Hammurabi) followed soon after the development of writing and many of the earliest remaining Sumerian and Egyptian writings are legal records of business transactions. Others set forth criminal violations and the penalties associated with them.

Of course, the present legal system is far too complex and can be reduced to its essentials after the initial event. The first concerns would involve contract and commercial law, tort and criminal law, property law and perhaps family law. All of these topics appear in the Code of Hammurabi and would be relevant to any emerging society. There is always the temptation to confuse law with religion and morality. Those who would reboot the legal system after an apocalyptic event should scrupulously avoid such entanglement. Secular law is a major achievement of our civilization and must be preserved in any future legal system. In the end, the purpose of law is the preservation of civil peace and the protection of commerce and property. Mixing religion and law does not serve that purpose.

These are only preliminary thoughts and I would welcome any comments on your website. Thank you again for starting this discussion. There is no better way to find out what's really important to us than to engage in this sort of thought experiment.
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Re: legal reboot

Postby Dave Z » Fri Feb 03, 2017 3:22 am

Richard J. Maybury makes an interesting case for Common Law as a non-governmental legal system. Evolves by principle (maxims) and case law, enforced by peers and favors restorative justice.

While I haven't done more than take a glance to confirm, it looks promising. Good cluster of Wikipedia entries.

Maybury has distilled Common Law principles down to two:

Do all you have agreed to do.
Do not encroach on other persons or their property.

Not a bad kernal for legal reboot?

I tend to think that property is the tricky bit. Agricultural societies seem to settle on a an inherently destructive paradigm, eventually driving two wealth division and war. Not sure how to disentangle that from industrial society.

Dave Z

PS. I read Maybury's Uncle Eric series for... um... long story. I was surprised by how much I agree with, and not surprised by how much I don't.
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