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Should all laws made from gut reactions be abolished?
emnmnmeHeard about this on conservative radio:Registered Userregular
Plenty on this board want that many, if not all, of our laws to be based on solid reasoning and not popular opinion or panicked emotion. That makes a kind of sense. Laws created with strong logic in mind usually benefit society the most by being fair to citizens and they stay on the books for decades whereas laws carried by gut feelings are usually prejudiced and fizzle out after a year or two. If a bill's line of reasoning can't stand up to scrutiny, the proposed law probably wasn't a very good one in the first place.
But let's not forget laws serve the people (not the majority, the whole people) and if there are no people, there is no law. If the people want things done a certain way that is contrary to solid reasoning, should the legal process accommodate them and create laws based on what 'feels right'? If you agreed with the previous paragraph, you'd say no, emotion shouldn't be a part of law-making. But consider these three points:
1) I can't pick up a pet from the shelter, take it home, douse it in gasoline, and light it on fire. Animal cruelty laws prohibit such savage behavior. The point of the law is clear - to prevent animals from suffering - but why do we extend protections to animals? Pets are property, legally. Pets aren't citizens. Assuming I bury the charred puppy carcass properly, there's no risk of disease spreading. So what's the logic behind animal cruelty laws? Emotionally, the answer is as plain as day - torturing animals is distasteful and murdering a defenseless dog is inhuman, showing a lack of control and empathy on my part. There are laws against animal torture and dog fights because that's the way people want it.
2) I can't walk around nude in public on a warm, sunny day. The men in white coats would take me away if I tried but what's the reasoning behind the decency law? I'm not in danger of dying from exposure. I'm not harming anything or anyone with my clothing-optional lifestyle. No one can strut around nude in public because that's the way people like it.
3) Separation of Church and State. Church is a big organization. State collects taxes from big organizations but not from Church. Religious institutions enjoy a tax-exempt status (though I believe some minimum charity/community service is required - I might be wrong on that) because that's the way people feel it should be.
Abolishing all laws not based on solid reasoning means the best we could do is discourage dog fights, public nudity, and taxing churches but these things wouldn't be illegal. Is there a place in our society for laws based on 'it just feels proper'?