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Away From Home

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

On the law

I have a question. Everyone needs to respond -- parents, siblings, friends, even random people I've never met. Fortunately for you, it's a pure opinion question, so there's no right or wrong. You have no excuse for not answering!

Anyway, here it is:

Should the law be based on societal norms, or on societal ideals? In other words, is good law based upon the way society is, or on the way society should be?


  • Ideals should be the priority, but we should also take into account what effect they would have. For instance, a non-drinking society is a nice ideal, but Prohibition just turned us all into criminals.

    Perhaps the test is that we should shoot for the moon as long as it doesn't make us crash into the sun.

    By Blogger Logan C. Adams, at 6/29/2005 07:23:00 PM  

  • Ah, but how does a societal norm come about? I contend societal norms are arrived at via societal ideals. In a representative democracy, whatever occurs essentially is the societal ideal. Good and neutral deeds that are rewarded or that go unpunished essentially become a societal norm through the society's acceptance of that deed. Bad deeds or other actions that are punished become a societal norm... I would contend that the societal norms are governed by our reactions, which in a sense are societal ideals.

    From this I suppose you could say that societal ideals rule the day, but societal norms often set precedent as they become more well-known and traditionally accepted, modifying the societal ideals of the people, thus causing upheaval in the earlier established societal ideals.

    In this sense, societal norms and societal ideals are in an ongoing struggle, ebbing and flowing throughout the ages.

    By Blogger ChrisHarrop, at 6/29/2005 10:04:00 PM  

  • Government should be based on societal ideals. We should try to achieve the best. Aim high.

    By Blogger Erin, at 6/29/2005 11:53:00 PM  

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