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What Should Our Laws Be Based On?

Alex

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I believe that our laws should only be based on harm that is directly physical and intentional.

Physical is self-explanatory.

Direct means that the person doing the harm can only be punished. For example: someone goes to a bar and gets drunk. They drive home and kill someone on the way. The bartender is not responsible. This means that people are held responsible for their own actions.

Intentional means that people cannot be punished for accidents.
 

Mikkel

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First of all, what you do with accomplices? I may not have physically hurt someone directly, but if I allow abet someone or something to harm you in some way, am I not somehow culpable?

Furthermore, couldn't driving DUI and killing someone along the way be construed as an accident? The drunk person didn't intentionally plan on going out and maliciously killing someone. Are they not responsible?

Your society thus far is a good start, but not quite complete.
 

Alex

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Mikkel said:
First of all, what you do with accomplices? I may not have physically hurt someone directly, but if I allow abet someone or something to harm you in some way, am I not somehow culpable?

Furthermore, couldn't driving DUI and killing someone along the way be construed as an accident? The drunk person didn't intentionally plan on going out and maliciously killing someone. Are they not responsible?

Your society thus far is a good start, but not quite complete.
If a person is a knowing accomplice, then yes, they are intentionally hurting someone. They directly aided that hurt and are responsible. If someone is not a knowing accomplice then they are not responsible.

An OWI (operating while intoxicated) can intentionally hurting someone. Everyone knows the risk of drinking and driving so "accident" does not apply. It was no accident that they drank too much and it was no accident that they got behind a wheel, so they are directly responsible. They intentionally drank too much and therefore are guilty.
 

Mikkel

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alex said:
If a person is a knowing accomplice, then yes, they are intentionally hurting someone. They directly aided that hurt and are responsible. If someone is not a knowing accomplice then they are not responsible.

An OWI (operating while intoxicated) can intentionally hurting someone. Everyone knows the risk of drinking and driving so "accident" does not apply. It was no accident that they drank too much and it was no accident that they got behind a wheel, so they are directly responsible. They intentionally drank too much and therefore are guilty.
I completely agree with you, but can you understand where it gets a little fuzzy in this regard? What roles the laws should play is merely trying to define a fuzzy line that not everyone sees the same way. In theory, I agree with your statement, but making that distinction is hard to apply.
 

Alex

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Mikkel said:
I completely agree with you, but can you understand where it gets a little fuzzy in this regard? What roles the laws should play is merely trying to define a fuzzy line that not everyone sees the same way. In theory, I agree with your statement, but making that distinction is hard to apply.
I understand completely. That is what I wanted to learn from this thread. What do you think the laws should be based on? Surely we all have an idea of how to define "law".

I'll throw something else out here. Morality cannot be the only factor that laws are based on. It can be a component of the basis, but not the only factor. Something more objective must be used with morality, like lack of consent. People can reject any morality so that cannot be the only thing to determine what makes a law.
 

Mikkel

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alex said:
I understand completely. That is what I wanted to learn from this thread. What do you think the laws should be based on? Surely we all have an idea of how to define "law".

I'll throw something else out here. Morality cannot be the only factor that laws are based on. It can be a component of the basis, but not the only factor. Something more objective must be used with morality, like lack of consent. People can reject any morality so that cannot be the only thing to determine what makes a law.
Fundamentally, I'm for the John Locke principle that we should all be entitled to Life, Liberty and Property. Since, as our founders so elequently pointed out, that we are endowed with inalienable rights, or liberties, we have, by default, Liberty. The purpose of government is to secure Life and Property, and in order to do that we must give up some of our Liberties.

I therefore believe that we do, and should, give up some of our Liberties for the common good, such as paying taxes for security and policing and other programs, or welfare for the indigent, or laws that, prevent direct physical harm, as you said.

I know that to a Libertarian, this isn't the most popular stance, but I hope you can see where I'm coming from. Rest assured that I draw the line well before the government begins infringing upon the rights of individuals. The rights of businesses, well, that's another matter.
 

Billo_Really

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Our laws should be based on Common Law. If there is no victim, there is no crime.
 

Alex

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Billo_Really said:
Our laws should be based on Common Law. If there is no victim, there is no crime.

Could you be more specific? Mostly about the first sentence. The second one is clear.
 

128shot

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History and Philosphy, Economics.


I think politicians should have a degree in all these, maybe then we wouldn't repeat the same mistake twice
 

Billo_Really

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Originally posted by Alex:
Could you be more specific? Mostly about the first sentence.
Basically, the second comment is a generalization of the first. But here's the dictionary version.

Definition of Common Law:
The system of laws originated and developed in England and based on court decisions, on the doctrines implicit in those decisions, and on customs and usages rather than on codified written laws.

http://www.answers.com/topic/common-law
 

Mikkel

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Billo_Really said:
Our laws should be based on Common Law. If there is no victim, there is no crime.
As a Browns fan, I'm just going to have to go ahead and disagree with anything you say.
:thumbdown
 

Billo_Really

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Originally posted by Mikkel
As a Browns fan, I'm just going to have to go ahead and disagree with anything you say.
What are you talking about? I never said anything bad about Leroy Kelley! Or that other running back, "Jim somebody!"
 

Mikkel

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Billo_Really said:
What are you talking about? I never said anything bad about Leroy Kelley! Or that other running back, "Jim somebody!"
I know you haven't been talking smack, but It's a matter of principle, and I gotta stick to my principles. Jerome Bettis' parents are going to have a dissapointing last chance to see their son play come Superbowl Sunday.
;)
 

Billo_Really

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Originally posted by Mikkel
I know you haven't been talking smack, but It's a matter of principle, and I gotta stick to my principles. Jerome Bettis' parents are going to have a dissapointing last chance to see their son play come Superbowl Sunday.
Word on that! Go Seahawks.
 
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