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Laws are just sad attempts to stop regularly occurring problems in society but they don't fix the problems.

If a man in a village gets a gun and shoots a person this could be considered a terrible crime so law enforcements remove the individual. Another man was then shot in the same village by a different person. And this problem keeps reoccurring over and over again, but people still keep getting shot. Why, the cops have removed the people that did the shooting, why is there still a possibility that people could be shot? It's because they haven't removed the problem. The real problem could be the gun. This could apply to many other laws if you just think about it. Identify the problem, the true problems.

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    Jul 29 2012: Hi Ian.

    Matthew 22:37-40 (KJV)
    Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. [38] This is the first and great commandment. [39] And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [40] On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

    The Jews had hundreds (or thousands) of laws, much like we do today. They didn't work either. Jesus gave these two to replace the lot. Trouble is we can't even keep the two. If we could, then we've cracked it. But alas......

    :-)
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      Jul 29 2012: I like those ones and the fact that there are just two memorable ones but I live by an old Chinese (I think) one I once read -"If it is wrong- don"t do it"
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      Jul 29 2012: Peter, from your comment, I get the impression that, in your worldview, every religion other than Christianity is wrong and doesn't work. This may not be the case, but that is the impression I have.

      What do you mean by "[Jewish laws] didn't work either"? What evidence do you have to support that claim? Also, what do you mean by "The Jews had hundreds (or thousands of laws)"? Matthew 22:37-40 seems to be similar to the Ten Commandments in spirit. I'm sure there are hundreds or thousands of statements in the New Testament that can be taken as "laws".
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        Jul 29 2012: Hi Jared.
        I think the message Is that we cannot fully obey any laws. So the introduction of even more will not help the situation.
        However, if we could really love one another, there would be no strife. But of course we can't, so we are stuck with hundreds of useless laws.
        The Ten Commandments are covered by the two Jesus gave.
        2 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV)
        He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant---not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

        :-)
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          Jul 29 2012: Sure. But I would like to invoke one of my favorite ideas here: "The perfect is the enemy of the good." I would argue that it's better to have laws than to not have laws, as you seem to agree with as well. See my response below to Rhona, where I claim that an explicit set of laws is necessary in a city-state. If you agree with that (which you should, as I believe laws in the Bible are explicit), now we are just arguing about the number of laws. Certainly the legal code could be improved. It could be simplified (which would also probably remove a lot of loopholes). New rules could be made. Others could be changed. We may not need more rules, but we also might. Who knows what the simplest set of functional rules is. At some point, there probably are diminishing returns between improving the legal code and decreasing behavior which we as a social deem unacceptable.

          On an unrelated note, this thread becomes a lot funnier when I substitute the word "law" for your surname, "Law". Such a fitting surname for this thread!
      • Jul 29 2012: None of the male dominated religions has worked to bring harmony and happiness to humankind. Religions, like laws, are designed to control OTHERS. Let's all just control ourselves and make sure that our words and acts are positive, since positive acts and positive words have positive impacts. All we need to do is be honest with ourselves and honest with others. It is that simple.
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          Jul 29 2012: Not all instances of law and religion are attempts to control others maliciously. While all are attempts at control, you have to ask, "Who receives the benefit of that control?" For instance, a law can be an agreement to mutually monitor and enforce something, like property rights. In this case, yes, it is an attempt at control, but it is presumably to the benefit of the community which is mutually monitoring and enforcing the rule. The members of the community are agreeing to "control" each other and themselves to a common set of explicit rules. Problems can arise when not everyone the rules affect is able to participate in the creation, monitoring, and enforcement of rules.

          While it would be nice to just treat others like we treat ourselves, this only works in a community that mutually monitors and enforces this. This is feasible in small communities, but incredibly difficult in large communities. I think this is why we need explicit rules, because the ability to mutually monitor and enforce behavior in a city-state is not possible (at least, I don't know of an example to the contrary).
      • Jul 29 2012: Jared, It's fine with me that you hold a different opinion than I do. I wonder how you know the motivation of the people who wrote the religious and secular laws. I wonder if people who chronically attempt to control others, are successful at controlling their own behavior to live up to their own high standards of conduct (for other people.)
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          Jul 29 2012: Yes, I'm glad that one of the rules we agree to is that it is okay for us to have differences in opinion. Though, I'm not sure where the difference lies. I think as we are both unaware of all instances of law and religion, it is hard to make a broad characterization of the true nature of all of them. It wouldn't surprise me if certain religious rules like "Thou shalt not consume ____" had practical reasons underlying them, for example. How does the rule-maker benefit from someone not eating shellfish or pork?

          I never claimed to know the motivations of people who authored religious and secular laws. I only claimed that not all of these people were attempting to maliciously control others; I did not exclude the possibility that some did. Yes, there are hypocrites in the world. We're all hypocrites on some level. It's always easier to point out in other people. And, yes, there is certainly a range of how hypocritical people can be. However, for a city-state to exist, I think that a codified set of explicit laws is necessary, even if it has some down sides. I wouldn't trust my fellow citizens to judge my behavior against "being honest with ourselves and honest with others". They don't know me or my context well enough. I am arguing that this type of agreement only works within a small community.

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