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Sunday, February 18, 2007

RH: How Law began

From: Robert Ho (ho3@pacific.net.sg)
Subject: RH: How law began
This is the only article in this thread
View: Original Format

Newsgroups: soc.culture.singapore
Date: 2004-07-10 16:02:33 PST


1. Above many courts of law is usually a statue of a woman holding a
scale in one hand and a sword in the other, usually blindfolded to
indicate that she is blind to persons of status or privilege. It is a
nice artistic presentation but sorely mistaken in point, like many
works of art created by artistic souls who do not understand the true
nature of what they are portraying. In this case, if you think that
law is the handmaiden of justice, you are sorely mistaken. Like many
myths that mankind has invented to glorify its sordid acts, like
democracy, for instance, this notion of law being justice is totally,
totally wrong.

2. How so?

3. Well, to begin with, law is not justice. I would define justice as a sense of natural justice that almost all of us are born with,
intuitive and instinctive. From early childhood, we know that if we
are good, we usually receive praise or some other tangible reward. Or, more to the point, if we are bad, we receive a scolding or even a

4. There, the sense of justice and injustice is inborn.

5. The sense of justice or natural justice is also ingrained in us
from early childhood by the inevitable squabbles with siblings. When
food or something nice like candies are dispensed to us children, we
all expect a fair share. If one gets more and the other/s less, the
shortchanged sibling raises hell. I now deem to have proven my point,
that the sense of natural justice is inborn and not taught. I believe
monkey studies should also prove my point.

6. What then, is law? if it is not a direct derivation of justice?

7. For that, let us look at the most famous laws of all, the 10

8. These seem to be the handmaiden of justice. Do they not enforce a
conduct that is just? Are they not justice?

9. No, no, no, no, NO!

10. Firstly, most of them begin with "Thou shalt not...". In other
words, they are commands or orders. Ah, orders! We begin to see the

11. In other words, laws are orders, usually prohibitions. Usually
all negatives. Many with prescribed penalties for infringements of
these orders.

12. We begin to see the light.

13. If the 10 Commandments are orders, so, too, are all other laws,
from the most ancient to the most modern. This gives us a clue as to
the true nature of law.

14. In other words, law is an instrument of control, NOT JUSTICE!
With something of a blinding flash, we realise that laws are designed
to control people, NOT to create a just and equal society.

15. Now, think back to the 10 Commandments. God gave Moses the
tablets so as to enforce his will upon his people. In exactly the same way, politicians [who make the laws] devise laws to control their people and not for any fancy notions of creating justice for all. And since all politicians are corrupt and self-serving, this means that laws are never just in the natural justice sense of the word.

Politicians devise laws to control their people and populations, to
enforce their will exactly like God gave Moses 10 Commandments to
enforce his will upon his people. In so-called democracies, the need
to get re-elected does somewhat ameliorate the corrupt natures of the
rulers so they do need to temper their laws somewhat, but still the
true nature of their laws are also for social control, not justice.

16. Why is law necessary to enforce the will of the ruler? Cannot he
simply dictate his will?

17. Well, in the olden days, long, long ago, that may have been
exactly the case. Long ago, the head of the tribe probably summarily
ordered the people around and gave verbal instructions as to what
cannot be done, for example, criminally defame him, for instance.

18. But with time and growing complexity of tribal life, no single
chief could go around giving orders and deciding who should live and
who should be tormented and tortured. It was simply too much work. So, law was invented as a generalised form of the orders of the chief.

Instead of the chief having to be brought to each alleged evildoer to
decide whether he was innocent or guilty, to be released or punished,
a written set of laws would become the generalised orders or commands
of the chief. And when the chief himself could not personally decide
all the cases, judges were invented to take his place as the decider
of guilt and punishment.

19. In time, this became law. Notice that even in our modern times,
the phrase "law and order" often go together. This close relationship
of the two shows that order is the true nature of law and not justice.

In fact, we often are puzzled at why and how some obviously guilty
persons are let off free while others receive what we feel to be
inordinate sentences. This, again, indicates that natural justice is
no longer, if it had ever been, the handmaiden of law but that order
and commands are -- in short, the instruments of social control.

20. By now, we have an elaborate system of law and the procedures of
the court. Judges even wear special gowns or even wigs to appear
infallible or to project an aura of superhuman ability. Pooh, pooh.
Underneath, they are often no smarter than you or me, especially me.

21. To sum up, if you ever had the airy fairy notion that law is
justice or has anything even remotely to do with justice, forget it!
Law's first and only purpose is social control, to enforce the will of the guy in charge, or the biggest bully. Even the playground bully
makes laws, such as how often to pay him money and how much. Or to be
careful not to talk bad about him or he will beat you up. This is the
true nature of law. If I have raised some doubts in you about the true nature of law, and set you thinking, then my time spent in writing this essay will have been very worth while.

Robert Ho
11 Jul 04
Singapore 0703