On The Insufficiency Of The Law As A Basis For Morality

There is a great deal of confusion about the purpose of the law. This is true regardless of what laws one happens to look at. Recently, a vlogger I pay attention to made a comment about what looks to be dubious behavior by the label of a popular kpop band in which multiple singles were purchased for identical tracks with alternative covers to allow for more purchases to be made that would count towards the song’s performance on the Billboard Hot 100. It is unclear if there are any sanctions that happen for doing what is a shady practice to benefit a group that already engages in some distinctly shady financial shenanigans in order to astroturf the popularity of songs that do not get a great deal of popular support in the United States but are considered to be hits because of the purchasing involved. Admittedly, there are far more important cases than this when it comes to questionable morality, but it is telling when someone makes the argument that simply because something is legal that it is right.

This is admittedly a struggle. After all, I come to life and behavior with the point of view that those things which are not forbidden are permitted, and yet it is also true that the exploitation of loopholes and gaps in law tend to create an atmosphere by which more laws are created. If one looks, for example, at the body of law in the Torah, one can see plenty of occasions where things were allowed out of the hardness of mankind’s hearts that were not in fact right, and plenty of situations where that which was allowed at one time was no longer allowed later on because the suffering that such a thing caused became all too evident. For example, the suffering of Rachel and Leah as sister wives of Jacob led to such a practice being forbidden later on. As human beings, we are very inventive in our behavior, and seek out loopholes that allow us to do things that we know are not exactly just or right but are not strictly forbidden. And such abuses tend, in time, to reduce the freedom that people have because such abuse exists.

All of this is to say that the law is an imperfect guide to morality. And law cannot help but be imperfect because it is formulated, promogulated, and enforced by flawed and imperfect human beings. People who make laws will seek to carve out exceptions from the law to avoid criminalizing their own behavior. Those who enforce laws will do so selectively. Those who are aware that they are on thin ice will seek to argue for that the vagueness of a law or its provisions means that it cannot be enforced, and so on and so forth. New technologies and new patterns of behavior exist that are not imagined by the makers of law, and people are slow to extrapolate existing legal and moral structures to these new matters in a way that is just and fair. The law is always behind what is recognized to be right and just, and what is recognized as right and just always falls short of what is actually right and just. Let us not forget that when we are quick to pat ourselves on the back for being more just than past generations, because future generations will be quick to savage us when we are no longer able to defend ourselves for our own lack of justice and righteousness.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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