22 January 2007

Laws? Who needs 'em?

Some members of the legislative leadership have been a bit skeptical that any kind of ethics reform will actually achieve what the public is apparently "demanding." The argument of people like John Harris and Lyda Green essentially boils down to, "Gee, if a person is inclined to break the law in the first place, then no tightening of those rules is going to make them less inclined to break the law and, say, accept a bribe."

That's probably true. But if you take continue to follow this line of argument, it seems that you'd have to conclude that laws are pretty useless on the whole: if a person is going to murder someone, what's the point of having a law against murder?

The point is that laws are the codification of a society's morality. If we believe an action is wrong, we should put it into law that it is wrong. Then we should enforce that law and punish those who violate it. It's the way our system works.

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