Two quotes from Leviathan

PXL_20211210_210937610 From chapter 30: And because, if the essentiall Rights of Soveraignty (specified before in the eighteenth Chapter) be taken away, the Common-wealth is thereby dissolved, and every man returneth into the condition, and calamity of a warre with every other man, (which is the greatest evill that can happen in this life;) it is the Office of the Soveraign, to maintain those Rights entire... it is against his duty, to let the people be ignorant, or mis-in-formed of the grounds, and reasons of those his essentiall Rights; because thereby men are easie to be seduced, and drawn to resist him, when the Common-wealth shall require their use and exercise. And the grounds of these Rights, have the rather need to be diligently, and truly taught; because they cannot be maintained by any Civill Law, or terrour of legal punishment. For a Civill Law, that shall forbid Rebellion, (and such is all resistance to the essentiall Rights of Soveraignty,) is not (as a Civill Law) any obligation, but by vertue onely of the Law of Nature, that forbiddeth the violation of Faith; which naturall obligation if men know not, they cannot know the Right of any Law the Soveraign maketh. And for the Punishment, they take it but for an act of Hostility; which when they think they have strength enough, they will endeavour by acts of Hostility, to avoyd. My bold.

And later on: Good Lawes What: To the care of the Soveraign, belongeth the making of Good Lawes. But what is a good Law? By a Good Law, I mean not a Just Law: for no Law can be Unjust.... Such As Are Necessary: For the use of Lawes, (which are but Rules Authorised) is not to bind the People from all Voluntary actions; but to direct and keep them in such a motion, as not to hurt themselves by their own impetuous desires, rashnesse, or indiscretion, as Hedges are set, not to stop Travellers, but to keep them in the way.  And therefore a Law that is not Needfull, having not the true End of a Law, is not Good. Such As Are Perspicuous: The Perspicuity, consisteth not so much in the words of the Law it selfe, as in a Declaration of the Causes, and Motives, for which it was made. That is it, that shewes us the meaning of the Legislator, and the meaning of the Legislator known, the Law is more easily understood by few, than many words. For all words, are subject to ambiguity; and therefore multiplication of words in the body of the Law, is multiplication of ambiguity: Besides it seems to imply, (by too much diligence,) that whosoever can evade the words, is without the compasse of the Law. And this is a cause of many unnecessary Processes. For when I consider how short were the Lawes of antient times; and how they grew by degrees still longer; me thinks I see a contention between the Penners, and Pleaders of the Law; the former seeking to circumscribe the later; and the later to evade their circumscriptions; and that the Pleaders have got the Victory. It belongeth therefore to the Office of a Legislator, (such as is in all Common-wealths the Supreme Representative, be it one Man, or an Assembly,) to make the reason Perspicuous, why the Law was made; and the Body of the Law it selfe, as short, but in as proper, and significant termes, as may be.

Perhaps I have allowed myself more than two quotes. But both sre strikingly against modern practice. Hobbes clearly sees a need to educate the populace in the need for and meaning behind the laws. Yet while there are people who argue for this nowadays, it is neglected; certainly in England. For the second, Hobbes is keen on the meaning behind the laws rather than the exact wording. There is more than could be drawn out, but I'm sure you see the meaning yourself; and if you don't, I doubt I can help. Yes, this post is more for my benefit to store these quotes than for yours.



* Gordon Tullock on paying for higher education.

* Rule(s) of Law(s): The problem is monopoly, not violence by Michael Munger.

The ‘Greed’ Fallacy - CH

* CORONAVIRUS: Against Faucism


CapitalistImperialistPig said...

Laws are intricate and detailed simply because the meaning one man sees in a sentence or a phrase is not the same as the meaning another does. Of course good laws do try to make their purpose clear, and their provisions precise, but lawyers exist precisely because law is not mathematics and human affairs are not governed by a short set of axioms.

Phil said...

Ah yes, coronavirus. And the lack of reason shown by "Reason". As expected. "Faucists", how cute. Didn't call for ambushing and a kill shot, unlike Faux News.

The American right (and reich) is all at arms against anything at all that might reduce suffering and death from coronavirus. Donald Trump was booed for announcing he had a booster jab, and trying to suggest that getting a vaccine jab would be a good idea.

The line between right and reich is sometimes hard to see. I usually think of "Reason" as being mostly on the right wing side. At least sometimes sane.

Donald Trump is proud that the vaccine was developed during his Presidency, and seems quite correctly annoyed at the anti-vaxers. Trump should be proud, even though about all you can say is that he didn't mess the vaccine development up. Which is far better than usual for Trump. Which is why he should be proud.

Why is the reich wing against masks and vaccines? To "own the libs". Sad, isn't it?

I've gotten enough nasty bugs while flying that I will wear a N95 mask if I fly in the future. Better than sneezing, sniffling and coughing for two weeks.

Oh, and how is the clusterf*ck of Brexit going? How long until some part of the UK rejoins the Common Market? Other than NI, of course, which never left. How much longer will Johnson stay in number 10? Is the moving truck parked outside now?

William M. Connolley said...

Brexit, apart from fluff in the media and tedius never-ending "negotiations" that most people ignore, might as well not have happened as far as my personal circumstances are concerned. But who knows what the future holds?