We are all guilty to some extent of complaining about the laws in the country in which we live. Whether it be petty things like jaywalking, or slightly bigger things like the legality of marijuana, or taxes. Whatever it is I am willing to bet that you have complained about at least one law in your country. Probably many more.
So here’s my question: how would you run a country?
We are all so willing to give criticism, but very few people are actually willing to come up with feasible alternatives. Even these people are unable to come up with alternatives to please everybody.
I am just as guilty as everyone else in this.
I complain about a certain law and I believe it should be changed. But why? If a law exists then others must agree with it. If that law were to change based on my desires then other people would be unhappy. It is virtually impossible to create laws that everyone is always happy with.
I find it to be an interesting mental exercise when I feel like complaining. I think about what I would do if I had to create the laws of a country. Where would I get the laws from? Should I choose my own moral views? Those of the majority of the country? Those of a particular religion? It is really difficult.
I remember moving to the US and being really surprised at how much the laws were based on a Christian premise. This was so surprising to me because I had been brought up believing that the US is the country that prides itself on separation of church and state. These two things were far more linked than in England where almost every school is religious and everything is closed on Christian holidays. God – and references to God – were in all the schools (the pledge of allegiance, particularly). The arguments about laws seem to all stem from a religious background (“the Bible says homosexuality is wrong so we can’t allow gay marriage,” “the Bible says life begins at conception, so abortion is wrong”). These sorts of beliefs are all perfectly valid for a person to hold, but I struggle with the idea that a secular country is using religious arguments to craft laws.
But. If we are not using the values of a particular religion to create the rules, then where do we get the rules from? It’s a similar question to the more individual-focused one I asked yesterday about how do you decide what is right and wrong.
If you were making the laws of a particular country, how would you do it? Would you want to make everyone happy or only specific types of people? Would religion be completely removed from the law? How would you manage that?