Gregor Cuzak

on marketing, business and philosophy

Labyrinth of law

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Legal systems grow towards becoming useless.

Legal systems are as prone to the Gödel’s theorem as any system. Sadly for such systems this means that in order for the systems to remain truthful and avoid breakage they need to grow more and more complex in time. Which, finally, renders them too complex aka useless aka broken. The very fear of becoming broken drives them to breakage. Legal systems are no exception.

When there’s no written legal codex, communities rely on the judgement by the wisest among the members. Or the most powerful. Or the richest. The problem occurs when such naturally elected judges see themselves as better than those who would come after them. They believe that they have to write down a legal basement, upon which their successors will build the upper stories. It is the idea of writing down the constitution, as the very basis of the system of laws, rules, judgements, cases and everything that gets created in the subsequent life of the state. This is the legal system whose role is to provide justice and fair treatment to the citizens.

In practice legal systems become too complex. See for yourself:

Golden rule: 11 words.
Ten commandments: 249 words.
Declaration of Independence: 1.457 words.
EU regulation on sales of cabbage: 26.911 words.

The upper example is not an exaggeration, it is rather a sad expression of where the legal systems are headed towards. They are headed towards making every decision susceptible to doubt as to whether the decision is just or maybe in contradiction with some odd rule within the codex. Even more so, evil individuals can avoid justice simply on the basis of using the loopholes that exist in their plenty. Furthermore, such complexified systems enable outright injustice to be made against just people.

I think we can do better, much better. Yet I am not sure how such better solutions could come to be.

What I will try to do for myself and for the people around me is that I will be justful. I will not ask for rules to be read to me when I will feel I have made a mistake. I will apologize, and I will take responsibility. I will also not seek to blame others. I do expect them to blame themselves if they will feel guilty, yet I could be wrong about them. I can only be right about me, but even there I cannot be sure always. We all have a blind spot, and it might be that I have missed some critical evidence against me purely on the basis of my inability to see in the blind spot. With others I might not have seen an evidence to their excuse because this evidence sits in the same blind spot.

Which brings me to the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

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