Weekly Hobbes: Law

PXL_20221112_155909313 [This post I found among my drafts, from some time in 2005. It isn't, now, especially interesting, though Hobbes is always worth a read. But I publish it for myself, because it explains why I couldn't previously find the quote I knew I was looking for. See-also: The Greatest Liberty Of Subjects, Dependeth On The Silence Of The LawBoris Johnson is a tosser.]

Weakly Hobbes? Monthly Hobbes? Anyway, I read Leviathan and liked it a lot, though a world ruled by Hobbes laws would be odd. Here he is on the interpretation of law (you'll find it in here), an interesting subject in these days of appointing supreme court judges:
All laws, written and unwritten, have need of interpretation. The unwritten law of nature, though it be easy to such as without partiality and passion make use of their natural reason, and therefore leaves the violators thereof without excuse; yet considering there be very few, perhaps none, that in some cases are not blinded by self-love, or some other passion, it is now become of all laws the most obscure, and has consequently the greatest need of able interpreters. The written laws, if laws, if they be short, are easily misinterpreted, for the diverse significations of a word or two; if long, they be more obscure by the diverse significations of many words...
I find the bit about "if long" resonates in these days of vast incomprehensible law books which nonetheless (to judge from the court cases one reads about) are full of loopholes and ambiguity.

No comments: