May 23, 2005

The Sharpener » This Misguided Nation

I was reading an essay at The Sharpener by Eddie about the chav culture and possible cures. I may be a raving minarchist but there seems a flaw in the logic.

As he says if people do not respect the laws they will not obey them. But it does not follow that if they obey the laws, most of the time, they will respect them. At one point in the essay he even points this out:
Whoever heard of respecting the puny headmaster who gets his jollies out of thrashing the living daylights out of kids? Why was it that it was always the same people who ended up in front of the headmaster, week after week?

Most pupils in this situation will have obeyed, out of fear, but if they did not respect him then where they in a situation where he wasn't around to enforce the rules the rules would be ignored, or even deliberately flouted as an expression of their lack or respect for the rule maker.

A respected teach can leave his or her class safe in the knowledge that chaos is not going to erupt once their back is turned. There respect for the rule maker, so the rules will also gain respect and therefore obedience. Even without the threat of punishment.

So if the goal is a civil society where most of the people in it respect obey most of the laws most of the time. Perhaps first laws should be changed so that the most of the people respect them as sensible. From there will naturally come the obedience to the law, as to not follow them would not be sensible. Without it most people will continue to obey only when there is the threat of being punished, and will ignore the law at other times.


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