Friday, 30 January 2015

A higher law

This article is a very interesting discussion of the concept of "joint enterprise" in UK criminal law:

I don't want to discuss that particularly - save the minimal observation that the concept is valid, but, as the article demonstrates, leads to complexity and needs nuancing to get right.

Note, though, what the whole article is doing - appealing beyond the law, to higher conceptions of what is just and fair. There is some higher standard, assumed to exist, and assumed to be accessible by us, that the law needs to conform to.

This, of course, is ultimately the basis of all law - we're trying to set the rules so that they fit both a) our society and b) the higher, objective notions.

Without both human society in its diversity, and objective norms which ought to always apply, you can't have laws at all.

And hence I observe again that you can't have laws, without a de facto state-approved religion. The "higher, objective notions" must be based on something. There must be some final values, beyond which there is no appeal, and which are not subject to man's whim to change when he feels like it. The only question is *which* religion, not whether we have them at all. In the West today, the de facto state religion is state-centric secular humanism.

And a second observation - everybody, whatever they profess, ultimately either acts consistently with the fact that they are created beings, under some ultimate law - or they act as insane people. I have no idea whether the author of the article loves God or acknowledges him at all. But I do know that he can't help behaving as if objective laws and higher notions of justice and righteousness exist, and that it's the duty of law-makers not to pass whatever laws they please, but to conform to them.

God is, and we are either lovers of God, or rebels against him - no neutral position exists.

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