My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

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mastered
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My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Thu Oct 29, 2009 5:07 am UTC

In the search for absolutes, the closest I can get to my truth is the preservation of any semblance of free choice. If I had my way (if only), the only crime would be to intentionally infringe upon another's free choice in a way that affects them. This may sound too general or dependent upon judgement, but it is the most just system I can think of. Surely it has been thought of before? Live and let live. Any real crime can be put in this context. For example, murder is taking away someone's choice to live, as well as all their potential future choices, which makes it severe. Exceptions are suicide, in which it is one's own choice to die, and maybe accidental death, which takes away someone's choices but can't really be prosecuted because the defendant didn't mean to. Obviously, this would have to be sufficiently proven. 

There are many laws in the present world that defy this tenet, and which I think are ultimately unnecessary and would in fact be against my legal system. Anything consensual cannot be illegal. All current laws that prosecute consensual activity are based on opinion, which cannot justifiably be made law. 

Who would have these rights? Anyone with the capability to express their will - which is necessary for establishment of the facts by the legal system - regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age or youth. The philosophical debate on free will notwithstanding, we as human beings cannot take away whatever semblance of free will be do have. 

Where people try to make laws based upon their wishes to regulate the choices of others, the legal validity of their choices comes into question. If you will judge others, then you will be judged. One cannot make a working legal system of opinion without being unfair, which defeats the purpose of enforcing justice. That's why the only choices which are subject to the law are those which affect others. 

How would one prosecute a violator of such a precept? I don't know for sure. An actual legal system created from this idea is still in the works, in my head. How do you make an ideal feasible in reality, especially with a system already in place?

What do you think?
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Goplat » Thu Oct 29, 2009 6:58 am UTC

This is how legal systems already work. The problem: it's ridiculously easy to infringe on someone's will. The legal system has to decide what kinds of infringement are bad enough to warrant prosecution. Examples:

  1. A wants to steal money from B; B doesn't want to lose his money. (Legal system favors B)
  2. A wants to criticize a forum post made by B; B would rather his post remain unchallenged. (Legal system favors A)
  3. A wants a fast commute by driving 70mph on the freeway; B wants the safety that comes from a lower speed limit. (Depends on where you are)
  4. A is gay and wants to marry his boyfriend; B doesn't want to hear the word "marriage" used in such a way. (Still working this one out here in the US)
These are all the same type of situation; A wants to do something B doesn't want done. If a relevant law is enacted, A loses some freedom; if it isn't, B loses some freedom. There's no way to objectively determine which should take priority, so it's always going to come down to opinion.

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Mattg500001 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 8:14 am UTC

What about stuff like dangerous driving. Currently it is an offence even if no harm comes from it. How would it be treated under the single rule system you postulate? Would driving at 120mph past a school at home time be crime only if you hit a child? Otr would it be a crime anyway, and under what definition of affecting some elses free will?

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Goldstein » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:23 pm UTC

Any serious proposal for a legal system is going to imply that causing unprovoked suffering is bad. I'm more interested in dividing them into those that legalise snake-oil salesmen and those that marginalise them. Your proposed system does nothing to deter conmen, and for that reason I don't support it.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Thu Oct 29, 2009 7:55 pm UTC

Goplat wrote:This is how legal systems already work. The problem: it's ridiculously easy to infringe on someone's will. The legal system has to decide what kinds of infringement are bad enough to warrant prosecution. Examples:

  1. A wants to steal money from B; B doesn't want to lose his money. (Legal system favors B)
  2. A wants to criticize a forum post made by B; B would rather his post remain unchallenged. (Legal system favors A)
  3. A wants a fast commute by driving 70mph on the freeway; B wants the safety that comes from a lower speed limit. (Depends on where you are)
  4. A is gay and wants to marry his boyfriend; B doesn't want to hear the word "marriage" used in such a way. (Still working this one out here in the US)
These are all the same type of situation; A wants to do something B doesn't want done. If a relevant law is enacted, A loses some freedom; if it isn't, B loses some freedom. There's no way to objectively determine which should take priority, so it's always going to come down to opinion.


Choices that infringe upon another's are crimes. The choice to take money violates the other person's choice to keep the money they already have. Criticizing does not directly affect another in a way that can be legally proven, so it's not illegal. People can drive however they want, which presumably would mean that they want to stay safe themselves, so it's their responsibility. Definitions of words in a social context are a foray into philosophy, but discrimination between personal choices would be illegal in itself, so there would be no "marriage guidelines". Marriage is a choice, and therefore would not be socially regulated.

Mattg500001 wrote:What about stuff like dangerous driving. Currently it is an offence even if no harm comes from it. How would it be treated under the single rule system you postulate? Would driving at 120mph past a school at home time be crime only if you hit a child? Otr would it be a crime anyway, and under what definition of affecting some elses free will?


People would have to rely on their own responsibility. It would be a crime only if harm came from it, and if it wasn't intentional then it would be a minor one legally.

Goldstein wrote:Any serious proposal for a legal system is going to imply that causing unprovoked suffering is bad. I'm more interested in dividing them into those that legalise snake-oil salesmen and those that marginalise them. Your proposed system does nothing to deter conmen, and for that reason I don't support it.


Conmen are making their own choices; staying safe from them is personal responsibility. So no, they would not be legally deterred.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:38 pm UTC

Conmen are making their own choices; staying safe from them is personal responsibility. So no, they would not be legally deterred.


This causes a problem where we have to decide what seperates theft from "conning". If I ask for 10 dollars under false pretenses(I'm helping starving children) is that theft or a legal con?
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby BlackSails » Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:43 pm UTC

mastered wrote:
People would have to rely on their own responsibility. It would be a crime only if harm came from it, and if it wasn't intentional then it would be a minor one legally.


So accidentially running my car into an orphanage and killing a dozen kids because I felt like doing 200 mph on local roads would be only a minor crime?

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:14 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
mastered wrote:
People would have to rely on their own responsibility. It would be a crime only if harm came from it, and if it wasn't intentional then it would be a minor one legally.


So accidentially running my car into an orphanage and killing a dozen kids because I felt like doing 200 mph on local roads would be only a minor crime?


If you were aware that you were putting those kids in danger when you made the choice to do that, it could be counted as intentional. And minor is used hear in the legal context, not as a loaded word meaning insignificant. It's simply not as reprehensible as premeditated murder.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:15 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Conmen are making their own choices; staying safe from them is personal responsibility. So no, they would not be legally deterred.


This causes a problem where we have to decide what seperates theft from "conning". If I ask for 10 dollars under false pretenses(I'm helping starving children) is that theft or a legal con?


If the other people were fooled and made the choice to give you ten dollars, then it was a con.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby BlackSails » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:19 pm UTC

mastered wrote:
BlackSails wrote:
mastered wrote:
People would have to rely on their own responsibility. It would be a crime only if harm came from it, and if it wasn't intentional then it would be a minor one legally.


So accidentially running my car into an orphanage and killing a dozen kids because I felt like doing 200 mph on local roads would be only a minor crime?


If you were aware that you were putting those kids in danger when you made the choice to do that, it could be counted as intentional. And minor is used hear in the legal context, not as a loaded word meaning insignificant. It's simply not as reprehensible as premeditated murder.


How much danger does it have to be to be an intentional crime? By smoking, you put people in danger of getting lung cancer. By driving you put others in danger of being hit. By using your computer you put people in danger of a fire caused by the explosion of your batteries.

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:35 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:
mastered wrote:
BlackSails wrote:
mastered wrote:
People would have to rely on their own responsibility. It would be a crime only if harm came from it, and if it wasn't intentional then it would be a minor one legally.


So accidentially running my car into an orphanage and killing a dozen kids because I felt like doing 200 mph on local roads would be only a minor crime?


If you were aware that you were putting those kids in danger when you made the choice to do that, it could be counted as intentional. And minor is used hear in the legal context, not as a loaded word meaning insignificant. It's simply not as reprehensible as premeditated murder.


How much danger does it have to be to be an intentional crime? By smoking, you put people in danger of getting lung cancer. By driving you put others in danger of being hit. By using your computer you put people in danger of a fire caused by the explosion of your batteries.


For these situations, one would have to take knowledge of probability into account when making a choice or a judgement.

Intentional, as defined, means the person meant for something to happen, so I suppose knowingly putting people in danger is actually different from intentionally harming them. At what point should something be judged as intentional?
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby BlackSails » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:49 pm UTC

Also, how free is free will? Can I tell someone "Give me your wallet or I will shoot your family?" After all, he is free to choose whatever he would like.

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Goldstein » Thu Oct 29, 2009 10:54 pm UTC

mastered wrote:If the other people were fooled and made the choice to give you ten dollars, then it was a con.

Your ideal legal system encourages people to be assholes for personal gain. A lot of people [at least] as worthy of living as yourself are put at risk because they're not knowledgeable in technical areas, are no good at mathematics, or are simply unable to help themselves. How is this defensible?
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:46 pm UTC

BlackSails wrote:Also, how free is free will? Can I tell someone "Give me your wallet or I will shoot your family?" After all, he is free to choose whatever he would like.


That would be considered coercion.

Goldstein wrote:Your ideal legal system encourages people to be assholes for personal gain. A lot of people [at least] as worthy of living as yourself are put at risk because they're not knowledgeable in technical areas, are no good at mathematics, or are simply unable to help themselves. How is this defensible?


It may not be good, but the capabilities which affect people's choices are not in the law's jurisdiction. Informed consent is an issue, though.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby BlackSails » Thu Oct 29, 2009 11:57 pm UTC

mastered wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Also, how free is free will? Can I tell someone "Give me your wallet or I will shoot your family?" After all, he is free to choose whatever he would like.


That would be considered coercion.


Ok, I offer you X money to work for me. Is that coercion?

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:49 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:
mastered wrote:
BlackSails wrote:Also, how free is free will? Can I tell someone "Give me your wallet or I will shoot your family?" After all, he is free to choose whatever he would like.


That would be considered coercion.


Ok, I offer you X money to work for me. Is that coercion?


No. That's an offer, not an assertion.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby BlackSails » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:52 am UTC

My offer to let you give me your wallet or let me shoot your family is also an offer.

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Fri Oct 30, 2009 2:41 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:My offer to let you give me your wallet or let me shoot your family is also an offer.


No, that's a demand and a threat. It's not an offer because you're narrowing down my options to two choices, thereby taking away all the rest. In the case of money for work, you could see it that way except that choosing not to accept encompasses all potential choices other that choosing to accept. It doesn't take away my family forever.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Zcorp » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:05 am UTC

mastered wrote:If you were aware that you were putting those kids in danger when you made the choice to do that, it could be counted as intentional. And minor is used hear in the legal context, not as a loaded word meaning insignificant. It's simply not as reprehensible as premeditated murder.

And if I was not aware I was putting kids in danger then it should be a minor infraction? Legally I would serve less time in a prison as you think ignorance takes less time to rehabilitate then what you perceive the cause to be of a premeditated murder.

Why is this persons ignorance less harmful to society then say some guy who premeditatedly murdered a guy who was ignorant of the effect driving poorly at 200 MPH down residential was likely to cause?

Why is action with intent more reprehensible then ignorance of effect of an action despite the result?

As you say there are many laws in our world that deny your tenet. Like a parents legal requirement to educate their children.

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Goldstein » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:04 am UTC

mastered wrote:It may not be good, but the capabilities which affect people's choices are not in the law's jurisdiction. Informed consent is an issue, though.

I'm glad you agree that it's not good, and that informed consent is an issue, because I think this is the main problem your legal system faces. Capitalism would have us believe that people are well-informed, rational agents. If that were true, homeopathic remedies would go for the same price as bottles of water, estate agents and car salespeople would all perform equally well, Coke and Pepsi wouldn't keep advertising once their products flooded the market, and the Save More Tomorrow scheme wouldn't have any impact.

I'm not meaning to suggest that any of the above oddities should be in breach of the law, but I want you to accept that people - even well-educated people like yourself - don't always act in their own best interest. This is one of the tenets of behavioural economics, and while it's very easy to ignore the problem and claim these phenomena are due to market forces, that's clearly not the case: I shouldn't value my car on the skill of the salesman, or prefer a well-marketed soft drink over a worse-marketed competitor. Once we admit that we're not as rational as we'd like to believe, doesn't it seem like a good idea to design a society that can help individuals with their oversights?
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mister k » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:26 am UTC

While I agree that the underlinining philosophy you advocate would inform the law reasonably well in most cases, it lacks specifics, and, fleshed out, would become similar to any legal system (what is infringe, how much do I have to infringe, excetera? Which rights do we define as natural?). the legal system does also serve to act as a deterrant, because we want to discourage behaviours. Con men may not be infringing on people's rights in any obvious way, but legalising contractual lying is an astonishingly bad idea, and would make financial dealings close to impossible.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Mattg500001 » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:52 am UTC

mastered wrote:
Mattg500001 wrote:What about stuff like dangerous driving. Currently it is an offence even if no harm comes from it. How would it be treated under the single rule system you postulate? Would driving at 120mph past a school at home time be crime only if you hit a child? Otr would it be a crime anyway, and under what definition of affecting some elses free will?


People would have to rely on their own responsibility. It would be a crime only if harm came from it, and if it wasn't intentional then it would be a minor one legally.

[/quote]

That is a stupid system. Sorry, I see very little point in further discussion. You advocation of it is like advocating pure communism. It is clearly the best system, except it will never ever work in any world even remotely connected to the reality we live in.

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Azrael » Fri Oct 30, 2009 12:34 pm UTC

So far there is no legal system proposed here, only a partial philosophy with no grounding in applicability.

How would the 'legal' and 'system' part be addressed? Even if jury trials remained, and were tasked with determining culpability (i.e. did the accused actually drive too fast, loose control and strike a school?) how would the severity of the offense be scaled? How would sentencing be determined?

If there's only one 'law', you still need to classify levels of offense in a way that is public and non-subjective.

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby BlackSails » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:01 pm UTC

mastered wrote:
BlackSails wrote:My offer to let you give me your wallet or let me shoot your family is also an offer.


No, that's a demand and a threat. It's not an offer because you're narrowing down my options to two choices, thereby taking away all the rest. In the case of money for work, you could see it that way except that choosing not to accept encompasses all potential choices other that choosing to accept. It doesn't take away my family forever.


And if I am the only person willing to hire you, is it still not coercion?

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Izawwlgood » Fri Oct 30, 2009 1:04 pm UTC

What about my business being more successful then yours. Have I infringed upon your right to enterprise?
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:13 pm UTC

I see three holes in this legal system:

1.) This legal system becomes problematic in cases of indirect crimes, such as threats or incitment to crime. For example, offering a hitman a million bucks to kill one's wife would not be a crime under this system, because the hitman is not BOUND to kill the wife, merely encouraged. Osama bid Laden would not be a criminal for simply a.) Saying that someone should blow up American buildings and b.) Giving support to those who hold the same opinion.

The criminal code exists to protect people. A crime is an action which can harm another. Whether that action succeeds or not, or whether it is direct or indirect is less relevent than intention and effect of the action.

2.) The legal system would be problematic in the case of civil law. What of laws governing divorce, contracts and marriage? In this system, marriage would be a crime as it is an action which attempts to impede, through legal and social pressures, the ability of both parties to hook up with other people. It is an "affront" to freedom (at least in the abstract sense that the first poster used) and therefore would be banned. In divorce, one member is often ordered to support the other financially. This, of course, has nothing to do with "freedom," but addresses another quality; fairness. It is fair to assume that being married one gives up opportunities to seek one's own fortune and ties one's fortune to another person. If one person backs out, they owe the other, in fairness, to compensate. Likewise, there could be no contract law. Contract laws forbid people simply giving money back if they get cold feet; the other party has invested, so everyone has to follow through on their commitments, or face the consequences. Without such protections, its hard to imagine a functioning economy.

Then there is the protection and interest of third parties. In divorce, the courts are supposed to look to the needs of the children, first and foremost. It would take some convoluted sophistry to make this an issue of freedom. In the interest of the children, access to the children by EITHER parent is always defined and limited. This doesn't effect the freedom, but the wellbeing of the child, and is, abstractly, contrary to the freedom of both parents.

This is the other side of the law; not only to protect, but to promote hapiness and wellbeing.

Which brings me to...

3.) This legal system would essentially end government taxation, a system of laws designed not to protect freedom so much as to promote well being, safety and actual freedoms to pursue happiness, rather than the abstract, empty freedom prefered by libertarians. I hear the cheers of a mass of teenage suburban whites echoing already, but consider this. Penalties for not paying taxes are contrary to freedom; one has no choice when it comes to paying. Under the model proposed here, fascists living in the USA, Britain and Canada would have bee in the right to refuse to pay taxes towards the war effort against Hitler. Al Capone would never have been charged with anything, because taxes would be optional. Of course, the whole government would fall apart. The police, healthcare, social security, national defense, consular affairs; these are all set up by laws to promote the wellbeing of the nation. Imagine the reaction of the Right when this legal system was put in place, and there was no more moeny for border security, anti-terrorism measures or a military bigger than Tuvalu's.

It would be an act of utter hair-brained, self-destructive, ivory-tower foolishness to institute a "freedoms only" law code which would, ultimately, do away with all of these things.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mosc » Fri Oct 30, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

Your ideal legal system is Feudalism. It's great if you don't mind a caste system (taxation based on ROI leads to the rich getting richer) or any kind of infrastructure (indoor plumbing, roads, hospitals, etc).
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:46 pm UTC

Zcorp wrote:And if I was not aware I was putting kids in danger then it should be a minor infraction? Legally I would serve less time in a prison as you think ignorance takes less time to rehabilitate then what you perceive the cause to be of a premeditated murder.

Why is this persons ignorance less harmful to society then say some guy who premeditatedly murdered a guy who was ignorant of the effect driving poorly at 200 MPH down residential was likely to cause?

Why is action with intent more reprehensible then ignorance of effect of an action despite the result?

As you say there are many laws in our world that deny your tenet. Like a parents legal requirement to educate their children.


Malicious intent is simply more reprehensible that ignorance, not necessarily more harmful, because, as you say, ignorance is just as dangerous. However, it is less punishable ethically, since it was technically an "accident". Should someone who knocked a rock over a balcony that killed someone on impact be punished the same way as someone who shot another person on purpose?

And it would be people's own choice to be educated. If you realize it's in your own best interest, you can learn. It's obviously an advantage.

Goldstein wrote:I'm glad you agree that it's not good, and that informed consent is an issue, because I think this is the main problem your legal system faces. Capitalism would have us believe that people are well-informed, rational agents. If that were true, homeopathic remedies would go for the same price as bottles of water, estate agents and car salespeople would all perform equally well, Coke and Pepsi wouldn't keep advertising once their products flooded the market, and the Save More Tomorrow scheme wouldn't have any impact.

I'm not meaning to suggest that any of the above oddities should be in breach of the law, but I want you to accept that people - even well-educated people like yourself - don't always act in their own best interest. This is one of the tenets of behavioural economics, and while it's very easy to ignore the problem and claim these phenomena are due to market forces, that's clearly not the case: I shouldn't value my car on the skill of the salesman, or prefer a well-marketed soft drink over a worse-marketed competitor. Once we admit that we're not as rational as we'd like to believe, doesn't it seem like a good idea to design a society that can help individuals with their oversights?


Sure, people don't always act in their "own best interest," as judged by others. But who are we to decide others' best interests? The law wouldn't help them be ignorant, it simply wouldn't be prescriptive.

mister k wrote:While I agree that the underlinining philosophy you advocate would inform the law reasonably well in most cases, it lacks specifics, and, fleshed out, would become similar to any legal system (what is infringe, how much do I have to infringe, excetera? Which rights do we define as natural?). the legal system does also serve to act as a deterrant, because we want to discourage behaviours. Con men may not be infringing on people's rights in any obvious way, but legalising contractual lying is an astonishingly bad idea, and would make financial dealings close to impossible.


One is free to make whatever choices they wish, up to the point where they want to restrict others this freedom. And that is basically my question. Theoretically, it would be ideal, but how could it work in reality?

Mattg500001 wrote:That is a stupid system. Sorry, I see very little point in further discussion. You advocation of it is like advocating pure communism. It is clearly the best system, except it will never ever work in any world even remotely connected to the reality we live in.


Like pure communism, it is an idealistic system, which makes it difficult to work in reality. But I would hesitate to call anything impossible.

Azrael wrote:So far there is no legal system proposed here, only a partial philosophy with no grounding in applicability.

How would the 'legal' and 'system' part be addressed? Even if jury trials remained, and were tasked with determining culpability (i.e. did the accused actually drive too fast, loose control and strike a school?) how would the severity of the offense be scaled? How would sentencing be determined?

If there's only one 'law', you still need to classify levels of offense in a way that is public and non-subjective.
So far there is no legal system proposed here, only a partial philosophy with no grounding in applicability.

How would the 'legal' and 'system' part be addressed? Even if jury trials remained, and were tasked with determining culpability (i.e. did the accused actually drive too fast, loose control and strike a school?) how would the severity of the offense be scaled? How would sentencing be determined?

If there's only one 'law', you still need to classify levels of offense in a way that is public and non-subjective.


Who would be the judge? That is one of the questions that needs to be addressed. How could we enforce this practically without losing its idealism?

BlackSails wrote:And if I am the only person willing to hire you, is it still not coercion?


It depends. Do I need to work? That is a restriction of choices.

Izawwlgood wrote:What about my business being more successful then yours. Have I infringed upon your right to enterprise?


If it was more successful on its own, then that's only natural. It could hardly be classified as an infringement.

Le1bn1z wrote:I see three holes in this legal system:

1.) This legal system becomes problematic in cases of indirect crimes, such as threats or incitment to crime. For example, offering a hitman a million bucks to kill one's wife would not be a crime under this system, because the hitman is not BOUND to kill the wife, merely encouraged. Osama bid Laden would not be a criminal for simply a.) Saying that someone should blow up American buildings and b.) Giving support to those who hold the same opinion.


Wouldn't making that a crime be, if not undemocratic, dangerously close to taking away freedom of speech?

Le1bn1z wrote:The criminal code exists to protect people. A crime is an action which can harm another. Whether that action succeeds or not, or whether it is direct or indirect is less relevent than intention and effect of the action.


I proposed changing the definition of a crime to an intentional action that damages another's individual free choice.

Le1bn1z wrote:2.) The legal system would be problematic in the case of civil law. What of laws governing divorce, contracts and marriage? In this system, marriage would be a crime as it is an action which attempts to impede, through legal and social pressures, the ability of both parties to hook up with other people. It is an "affront" to freedom (at least in the abstract sense that the first poster used) and therefore would be banned. In divorce, one member is often ordered to support the other financially. This, of course, has nothing to do with "freedom," but addresses another quality; fairness. It is fair to assume that being married one gives up opportunities to seek one's own fortune and ties one's fortune to another person. If one person backs out, they owe the other, in fairness, to compensate. Likewise, there could be no contract law. Contract laws forbid people simply giving money back if they get cold feet; the other party has invested, so everyone has to follow through on their commitments, or face the consequences. Without such protections, its hard to imagine a functioning economy.


If two people choose to enter into a marriage of their own free will, then it's not an infringement. Then leaving the other person (which presumably would be against their previous contract) without the other's agreement could be reprehensible. The same is true for any contract involving informed consent.

Le1bn1z wrote:Then there is the protection and interest of third parties. In divorce, the courts are supposed to look to the needs of the children, first and foremost. It would take some convoluted sophistry to make this an issue of freedom. In the interest of the children, access to the children by EITHER parent is always defined and limited. This doesn't effect the freedom, but the wellbeing of the child, and is, abstractly, contrary to the freedom of both parents.

This is the other side of the law; not only to protect, but to promote hapiness and wellbeing.

Which brings me to...

3.) This legal system would essentially end government taxation, a system of laws designed not to protect freedom so much as to promote well being, safety and actual freedoms to pursue happiness, rather than the abstract, empty freedom prefered by libertarians. I hear the cheers of a mass of teenage suburban whites echoing already, but consider this. Penalties for not paying taxes are contrary to freedom; one has no choice when it comes to paying. Under the model proposed here, fascists living in the USA, Britain and Canada would have bee in the right to refuse to pay taxes towards the war effort against Hitler. Al Capone would never have been charged with anything, because taxes would be optional. Of course, the whole government would fall apart. The police, healthcare, social security, national defense, consular affairs; these are all set up by laws to promote the wellbeing of the nation. Imagine the reaction of the Right when this legal system was put in place, and there was no more moeny for border security, anti-terrorism measures or a military bigger than Tuvalu's.

It would be an act of utter hair-brained, self-destructive, ivory-tower foolishness to institute a "freedoms only" law code which would, ultimately, do away with all of these things.


Who would be the "government"? This is nearly an anarchy, or at least self-governed. Think of how the internet works! Independent of the outside world, people share ideas, argue, learn, create, etc. There is no government specifically.

mosc wrote:Your ideal legal system is Feudalism. It's great if you don't mind a caste system (taxation based on ROI leads to the rich getting richer) or any kind of infrastructure (indoor plumbing, roads, hospitals, etc).


As opposed to Feudalism or a caste system, no social heirarchy would be politically supported or enforced.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:18 pm UTC

Like pure communism, it is an idealistic system, which makes it difficult to work in reality. But I would hesitate to call anything impossible.


Any system would work if people were perfect, when you work out a system that deals with imperfect people better then we do now we will talk.

Honestly, even a fascist system would sort of work if people were perfect.(I'm defining fascist as one party with full dictatorial power) because if people were perfect they wouldn't abuse that power.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:10 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Like pure communism, it is an idealistic system, which makes it difficult to work in reality. But I would hesitate to call anything impossible.


Any system would work if people were perfect, when you work out a system that deals with imperfect people better then we do now we will talk.

Honestly, even a fascist system would sort of work if people were perfect.(I'm defining fascist as one party with full dictatorial power) because if people were perfect they wouldn't abuse that power.


Define "perfect".
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby BlackSails » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:18 am UTC

If men were but angels....

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:39 am UTC

BlackSails wrote:If men were but angels....


What I'm saying is that men should be free not to be angels as long as it doesn't affect people against their will.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby Zcorp » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:08 am UTC

mastered wrote:Malicious intent is simply more reprehensible that ignorance
why?

And it would be people's own choice to be educated. If you realize it's in your own best interest, you can learn. It's obviously an advantage.
It is not obviously an advantage to a 6 year old.

Who would be the "government"? This is nearly an anarchy, or at least self-governed. Think of how the internet works! Independent of the outside world, people share ideas, argue, learn, create, etc. There is no government specifically.
So no one goes through the process if deciding if there was intent behind an action nor does anyone enforce these laws? I think you misunderstand what a legal system is as well as the role of government.

As for the internet there is a different government for each site, further the ownership of that site is further protected by national governments. I'll refer you to Azrael's post which you barely addressed and point out that he is part of the governing body of this site or government.

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:12 am UTC

Zcorp wrote:
mastered wrote:Malicious intent is simply more reprehensible that ignorance
why?


I explained that. To quote: Should someone who knocked a rock over a balcony that killed someone on impact be punished the same way as someone who shot another person on purpose?

And it would be people's own choice to be educated. If you realize it's in your own best interest, you can learn. It's obviously an advantage.
It is not obviously an advantage to a 6 year old.


Most 6 year olds have a natural curiosity which is enough to help them learn what would be advantageous at that age, and to draw from in future. The stereotypical question "Why?" leads them to learn on their own.

Who would be the "government"? This is nearly an anarchy, or at least self-governed. Think of how the internet works! Independent of the outside world, people share ideas, argue, learn, create, etc. There is no government specifically.
So no one goes through the process if deciding if there was intent behind an action nor does anyone enforce these laws? I think you misunderstand what a legal system is as well as the role of government.


That is still "in progress," a question to be addressed.

As for the internet there is a different government for each site, further the ownership of that site is further protected by national governments. I'll refer you to Azrael's post which you barely addressed and point out that he is part of the governing body of this site or government.


However, the internet's "governments" are more laissez-faire, lacking as much regulation and enforcement as the outside world, and they work fine.

And Azrael's points were valid, which is why I simply affirmed them as "questions to be addressed" - part of the reason I posted this in the first place. It's really wonderful to be able to come here for intelligent discussion.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby iop » Sat Oct 31, 2009 3:30 am UTC

An important problem with your system is the reliance on intent, which can be very hard to prove. In addition, since education (including knowledge about the possible dangers of one's action) is up to every individual, negligence is going to be hard to prosecute, since there is no 'you should have known'.

Should someone who knocked a rock over a balcony that killed someone on impact be punished the same way as someone who shot another person on purpose?

See, this is the problem: Putting a rock on the railing of a balcony from where it is likely to fall onto a busy sidewalk is completely fine in your system - it was an accident to actually brush against it, right? Right?
In the current system, intent is important as well, and thus, the murderer is punished more harshly than the criminally negligent. But the criminally negligent who killed is punished more harshly than someone who intentionally sets fire to your car.

Of course, there are also cases where it's freedom against freedom: For example, I want to walk across the neighbour's lawn, but the neighbour wants to keep the lawn to himself. Or I want to listen to music so that I can fall asleep, but my neighbour cannot sleep if my music is on.

Finally, in your system, how much would personal safety be valued (i.e. is the increase in safety for some worth the loss of freedom of others?)? Also, how much is it worth to live in a free market (and thus, how important is it to prevent market failures?)?

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:04 am UTC

iop wrote:An important problem with your system is the reliance on intent, which can be very hard to prove. In addition, since education (including knowledge about the possible dangers of one's action) is up to every individual, negligence is going to be hard to prosecute, since there is no 'you should have known'.
Should someone who knocked a rock over a balcony that killed someone on impact be punished the same way as someone who shot another person on purpose?

See, this is the problem: Putting a rock on the railing of a balcony from where it is likely to fall onto a busy sidewalk is completely fine in your system - it was an accident to actually brush against it, right? Right?


Yes, the judicial system would only be able to consider claims with evidence, and intent is hard to prove. This still needs to be addressed. However, negligence would not generally be prosecuted - the consequences thereof would be.

In the current system, intent is important as well, and thus, the murderer is punished more harshly than the criminally negligent. But the criminally negligent who killed is punished more harshly than someone who intentionally sets fire to your car.


In my system also, there is a hierarchy of crimes. Murder is more reprehensible than arson, and malicious intent is more reprehensible that ignorance. However, they are on different scales, and while killing is considered morally worse that arson, it should be less punishable if unintentional. Most people, if they accidentally caused someone's death, would be sufficiently punished by their own guilt, and are more likely to need counseling and friendship than punishment.

Of course, there are also cases where it's freedom against freedom: For example, I want to walk across the neighbour's lawn, but the neighbour wants to keep the lawn to himself. Or I want to listen to music so that I can fall asleep, but my neighbour cannot sleep if my music is on.


This is one of the reasons that I personally think the very concept of a society is somewhat dysfunctional. I would prefer to live alone, but humans are considered social animals.

Finally, in your system, how much would personal safety be valued (i.e. is the increase in safety for some worth the loss of freedom of others?)? Also, how much is it worth to live in a free market (and thus, how important is it to prevent market failures?)?


People's freedom can be sacrificed only if they choose for it to be. If they want to sacrifice freedom for safety, they can do that, but it cannot be legally enforced for others.

I don't know much economics, but I would think that if there were about to be a market failure, someone (the people who would be negatively affected?) would work actively to stop it from happening, even without government intervention. What specifically needs government aid in such a case?
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mmmcannibalism » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:54 am UTC

Spoiler:
mastered wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
Like pure communism, it is an idealistic system, which makes it difficult to work in reality. But I would hesitate to call anything impossible.


Any system would work if people were perfect, when you work out a system that deals with imperfect people better then we do now we will talk.

Honestly, even a fascist system would sort of work if people were perfect.(I'm defining fascist as one party with full dictatorial power) because if people were perfect they wouldn't abuse that power.


Define "perfect".


The set of human attributes that would need to be widespread for your system to work.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:25 am UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
Spoiler:
mastered wrote:
mmmcannibalism wrote:
Like pure communism, it is an idealistic system, which makes it difficult to work in reality. But I would hesitate to call anything impossible.


Any system would work if people were perfect, when you work out a system that deals with imperfect people better then we do now we will talk.

Honestly, even a fascist system would sort of work if people were perfect.(I'm defining fascist as one party with full dictatorial power) because if people were perfect they wouldn't abuse that power.


Define "perfect".


The set of human attributes that would need to be widespread for your system to work.


So, my system would work if people were "perfect," which means "the set of human attributes that would need to be widespread for my system to work"? I shouldn't need to point out the circular reasoning.
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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby iop » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:11 pm UTC

mastered wrote:[...] However, negligence would not generally be prosecuted - the consequences thereof would be. [...] Most people, if they accidentally caused someone's death, would be sufficiently punished by their own guilt, and are more likely to need counseling and friendship than punishment.

Could you explain this a bit better, please? Do you get punished independently for the intent, and for the consequence of the action?
Also, there are different levels of 'accidentially' - from force majeure to contingent intent. From when does it become intentional?

Of course, there are also cases where it's freedom against freedom: For example, I want to walk across the neighbour's lawn, but the neighbour wants to keep the lawn to himself. Or I want to listen to music so that I can fall asleep, but my neighbour cannot sleep if my music is on.

This is one of the reasons that I personally think the very concept of a society is somewhat dysfunctional. I would prefer to live alone, but humans are considered social animals.

If your legal system cannot handle the interactions of humans apart from murder, it is not very useful.

In a more general sense than the above two questions, you need to draw up a list of rights and freedoms you want to guarantee, and you have to order them according to importance. For example, it seems like a right to safety is very low on your list, because it cannot be more important than the right of other people to drive, it seems (from this, it would e.g. follow that traffic lights are illegal).


I don't know much economics, but I would think that if there were about to be a market failure, someone (the people who would be negatively affected?) would work actively to stop it from happening, even without government intervention. What specifically needs government aid in such a case?

Market failures can be viewed as scenarios where individuals' pursuit of pure self-interest leads to results that are not efficient – that can be improved upon from the societal point-of-view. For example, it is governments that currently attempt to stop overfishing (and even they have a hard time). Without governments, who is going to have the power to step in?

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Re: My Ideal Legal System, or lack thereof

Postby mastered » Sat Oct 31, 2009 9:10 pm UTC

iop wrote:
mastered wrote:[...] However, negligence would not generally be prosecuted - the consequences thereof would be. [...] Most people, if they accidentally caused someone's death, would be sufficiently punished by their own guilt, and are more likely to need counseling and friendship than punishment.

Could you explain this a bit better, please? Do you get punished independently for the intent, and for the consequence of the action?
Also, there are different levels of 'accidentially' - from force majeure to contingent intent. From when does it become intentional?


Yes, you get punished independently for intent and consequence, so intentional murder is worse than accidental killing, which is in turn worse than intentional arson, which is worse than accidental damage to another's property. In the case of true force majeure, where one was coerced by circumstance, a crime would not be considered intentional. I'm not sure about contingent intent; I'll have to read up on it.

Of course, there are also cases where it's freedom against freedom: For example, I want to walk across the neighbour's lawn, but the neighbour wants to keep the lawn to himself. Or I want to listen to music so that I can fall asleep, but my neighbour cannot sleep if my music is on.

This is one of the reasons that I personally think the very concept of a society is somewhat dysfunctional. I would prefer to live alone, but humans are considered social animals.

If your legal system cannot handle the interactions of humans apart from murder, it is not very useful.


Not just murder, but any straightforward case of violating another's free choice would be addressed.

In a more general sense than the above two questions, you need to draw up a list of rights and freedoms you want to guarantee, and you have to order them according to importance. For example, it seems like a right to safety is very low on your list, because it cannot be more important than the right of other people to drive, it seems (from this, it would e.g. follow that traffic lights are illegal).


Traffic lights would not be illegal in a society where everyone wanted traffic regulation for safety purposes.
A tentative list:
1. All persons capable have the right to make and follow their own choices as regards their personal lives.
2. All persons have the right to have their choices respected by others.
3. No legal restrictions shall be placed on consensual activity.
4. Laws may be passed for the general welfare if the people affected have agreed to them.
5. Ignorance of a law is, within reason, justifiable excuse. Crimes committed in ignorance will be considered unintentional.
6. Only claims (e.g. of ignorance or intent) with evidence, and which can be (dis)proven may be legally considered.

I don't know much economics, but I would think that if there were about to be a market failure, someone (the people who would be negatively affected?) would work actively to stop it from happening, even without government intervention. What specifically needs government aid in such a case?

Market failures can be viewed as scenarios where individuals' pursuit of pure self-interest leads to results that are not efficient – that can be improved upon from the societal point-of-view. For example, it is governments that currently attempt to stop overfishing (and even they have a hard time). Without governments, who is going to have the power to step in?


Environmentalists?
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