i know when you refer to "law" you refer to man made laws, but let me bring up another point first, and hopefully you can try to make a connection
law is everywhere
it moves the planets and the stars
everything is subject to natural laws
the absolute even abides by its own laws in order to create opposition
when an event seems miraculous, it is because the operative laws are not part of the contemporary conventional wisdom. The Absolute is subject to the imperatives of its own laws.
another words, the absolute makes up obstacles of itself in order to further its self realization
opposition is a way of learning
opposition allows us as spiritual beings to absorb quality and learn
the more difficult the obstacle the greater the reward in terms of quality or experience
to me laws are apart of conflict and opposition and are apart of the negentropic process the absolute uses to develop and augment itself
The question I have for you is: what are the long term benefits, and what are the draw backs of law?
This depends upon the nature of the law. I share your concerns with law and injustice. Wasn't law supposed to promote justice?
I think the problem is that law has lost sight of it's intent - this is an easy diagnosis. What is difficult is identifying the errors within the law that lead to the failure (which may even be the law itself).
One distinction I find useful is one of property, the difference between legally preserved ownership, and the possession of property. What right has a man to some property, let us imagine a plot of land, if he has no use for the land? If he does not work the land with his own hands? Here, I believe, we find the problem of law. This land, only known to the owner for it's revenue and loss, is worked by hired men. These hirelings do all of the work, yet everywhere in our society they receives the most meager portion of it's produce. What natural right to this land can the proprietor claim?
The law upholds and defends the unnatural ownership of property. As property is stored away by the few, the many have less to go around. Hardly a soul owns his home; the supposedly advanced nations of the world are nations of renters, men who live perpetually in debt. They work today to pay today's bills, and will work tomorrow for tomorrow's debts. At the end of his life, he will leave a little money if he is lucky; most will leave still more debts, for which the law demands the children bear responsibility.
You may be interested in looking into some of Proudhon's work. Some of his books can be found online for free.
In any event, the sources of our law, the Bible, German Tribal Law, Roman Law, and Cannon Law are all relics of a bygone age, and we see everyday its progeny in its dotage.
More than any form we deal with, Law exercises its grip on all our affairs from cradle to grave.
When our politicians say: We are a nation of laws they are missing the point that all Nations must have some other glue to bind them besides ancient rules and privilages.
And what does it matter when the President can say: I am the Law.
Is the law above our ability to change, or must we all be changed by it? Why we seek forms in our lives is obvious. We want to build stability into our societies, and relationships. Does it work in the instance of law if we must all have a lawyer in our pockets before we dare to talk to our neighbors?
In the area of property I would classify it all that is not personal property or intellectual property as a privilege.
Rather, anyone who can be a good steward of wealth should be allowed to make more of it, understanding that wealth, whenit represents power for one and poverty for another cannot be allowed to become our heritage.
That is where we are in this nation of laws. They do not follow law on the top. Why should anyone follow law on the bottom?
I think I should like to read Proudhon's: The Poverty of Philosophy. Certainly, the title in itself is an argument few can refute.
If philosophy dared to challenge the status quo, perhaps more people would be willing.
The problem is well illustrated by The declaration of Independence. Even as an act of grand larceny, of the theft of rights en masse from the king and country of England; it is still presented as a legal brief. The ultra, and over arching form of law was one no one dared to live without.
It is just a social machine long past due for a rebuild. And, most of its premises should be tossed out whole.
This little dog is hiking his leg up against the tower of power. I suggest you do the same.
My friends who study law tell me that it's English Common Law.
I'm not sure where you are from, though, most law in the US comes from English common law, with the exception of Louisiana which is derived from French code. Either way, the bodies of law you mention certainly influenced these systems. As for the book, I'm not familiar with it, though I have to wonder if Mr. Berman brought up this point: law changes constantly. Certainly, our laws can be traced back to ancient and more primitive systems, but these systems have radically changed. Law is always changing, and changing to meet the demands of the modern world. We see this happening in a very visible way with laws regarding the internet.
Even though our systems can be traced back to systems which are without question antiquated, our systems seem to be able to meet the demands of the chaning world.
Law is influential in our lives, yes, but how significant? In the case of laws which limit individual liberty, such laws certainly are out of place. But are the legal ramifications of murder and theft really so intrusive on our lives?
And this is why my first response in this post is so important. Don't get me wrong, I abhor our legal system. Within it exists an untold number of unjustices, many so extreme the stories can make you break down in tears. I have been arrested, jailed, tried and convicted for a crime which I do not believe to be criminal. I have had my share of injustice from our system. However, just because our system is not perfect, does not mean that the general notion of law which exists is more harmful than beneficial.
Remember, the system changes everyday. People change it. We are both people.
What do you consider personal? The craftsman's workshop? The farmers field, barn and pigs? The millionaire's jet? A family's home?
Who has use of the excess of wealth?
Who is a good steward of wealth, and in society, who should make such a decision? Certainly, there must be some method for deciding if some will be allowed to make more of it based on such a decision.
Can wealth be accumulated without causing poverty for another?
In this nation? Yes. And just as well, often worse in every other nation in history.
I recomend it. I much prefered his libertarian socialism to the marxist literature.
Has philosophy done much else other than challenge the status quo? Even when some philosophy becomes the status quo, some other comes along to combat the establishment. Socrates was executed, and he was far from the last thinker to be persecuted for challenging authority on philosophical matters.
Of course it was a legal brief. Jefferson was a legislator, and the declaration of independence is a legal declaration - that these people will make laws for their own posterity and no longer be ruled by the laws of England. 'No taxation without representation' was the battlecry, the people had enough of England's laws.
And what do you consider to be the outdated premises? Even Confucius found value in having law.
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism"
- Thomas Jefferson
You mispelled 'chaining'.
Correction - I mispelled "changing" :p
As for your "example that is true even today", I'm not sure what your point is. I understand the idea that there have been ancient laws which seem unjust, but how does relate to the modern laws regarding murder and theft? I agree the system is not perfect, but while we criticize the law so greatly, and we both have, it would seem to me that, generally, laws which discourage and handle cases of murder and theft would be a benefit to society more than they are harmful.
I would like to clarify, though. I am one to think that, when you see theft, the injustice predates the theft. People only steal when they have too little, and others have far too much.
Look, I see that when law protects injustice that it eventually destroys its reason for being. People all need a stake in society. Following the law is easy for one with something to lose, but as more an more people have nothing to lose penalties have to rise along with cruelty to make people mind the law. Sooner or later it will end in a blood bath or a reign of terror. I think it is so much easier for people to never wait for a tire to blow out that can be changed at one convenience. We can see what law is, and what its intent is, and since it is primarily a form of relationship that has become formal, and primarily form with little actual relationship; then, we can realize we are not victims of some great machine, but that it exist at our mercy.
Trying to confuse me The only Marx I've read was The Communist Manifesto and a paragraph here and there from Das Kapital (not really interested enough in Marx to commit myself to that tome).