A law to cure!


Sunday on Facebook: My wife’s paper has just arrived with the self congratulatory front page headline of, New Law To Tackle Moped Muggers. I wasn’t aware that we needed a new law, I thought that such people were already breaking the law. The problem seems to be in apprehending those responsible for breaking the law. Making new laws brings no comfort to my wife who now imagines a mugger being every moped rider and is now pressurising me to install more home security.

New laws are a cheap instrument to allay public concern over a particular issue, certainly cheaper that employing more policemen. As T. E. Utley wrote in 1968:

It has to be decided whether any law made can be enforced, or enforced with enough impartiality and constancy to stop its becoming an intolerable affront to the principle of legal equality. Failing this, the presence of an unenforceable law on the statute book should at least have a favourable effect on human behaviour — that it will perform the func­tions of a sermon rather than a threat. If the law is to be made, it must also be established that the cost of enforcing it in terms of human happiness and virtue is not so great as to offset the merits of enforcing it.

It seems that we have no problem in writing new laws but do have a problem in enforcing them.

Vain, very vain, my weary search to find

That bliss which only centres in the mind:

Why have I stray’d from pleasure and repose,

To seek a good each government bestows?

In every government, though terrors reign,

Though tyrant kings, or tyrant laws restrain,

How small, of all that human hearts endure,

That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!

Still to ourselves in every place consign’d,

Our own felicity we make or find:

With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,

Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.

The lifted axe, the agonising wheel,

Luke’s iron crown, and Damien’s bed of steel, 

To men remote from power but rarely known,

Leave reason, faith, and conscience, all our own.

Oliver Goldsmith

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

The Land Is Ours

a Landrights campaign for Britain

The Bulletin

This site was created for members and friends of My Telegraph blog site, but anyone is welcome to comment, and thereafter apply to become an author.

TCWG Short Stories

Join our monthly competition and share story ideas...

The Real Economy

Blogs and stuff from Ed Conway

Public Law for Everyone

Professor Mark Elliott

Bleda

Am I my Brothers keeper?

%d bloggers like this: