Law is good. Man, in his needs, has different motivations for law in society. His secular needs require striving for justice, social stability, and punishment. However, in the area of religious influence, law should promote morality so that believers can get close to God or be separated and condemned by God. As man and society evolves, the purpose of law has remained the same – to punish and deter.
Faith is a guarantee for happiness. If one lives a proper life of morality then rewards await. According to the Old Testament (1), God desires a harsh but structured code of conduct for man. Man is inherently a selfish and savage creature. Boundaries are necessary in order for society to function lawfully and logically. This negative behavior can be influenced by ultimate punishments – capital punishment and condemnation. The POV for the Old Testament is one of tone.
The feeling expressed is one of caution. The book of Laviticus stresses behavior and how people must be sure that they follow good conduct in order to please God. If this behavior goes against morality, then hell and punishment awaits. Also, stated by Ashoka (4), peace and harmony in life can be achieved through proper justice – even for the guilty. Hope and reassurance can be displayed, when, judging others, no prejudice is displayed – bias against color, religion, status, etc… God doesn’t.
The POV from Ashoka reflects an authorial nature. He believes his rule should bring harmony and peace to his kingdom. Since he is a Buddhist, he will naturally stress Buddhist ideology in his reign – law, military, economic, etc…
Man uses the law to better himself and society. According to the code of Hammurabi (2), Hammurabi emphasizes the power of the court system when dealing with punishment or justice. When people trust their government to provide fairness and security through legal and political processes and actions, then those people and their nation will be strong – economically, culturally, etc… Han Fei Tzu (3) states that the law applies to everyone.
Punishing the rich and noble, as well as common people, shows equality in a society and creates trust between the people and their government. If biasness is involved with punishment, the people will demand for justice because of the need for fairness and equality in a strong political and social society. Also, according to the Twelve Tables (5), people should take the time to negotiate – in the judicial system – in order to resolve issues in a civilized manner.
All citizens are entitled to a fair and just trial, no matter ones social status. Government creates penalties in varying degrees to match the severities of crime to appear just to society. According to Tahema (6), be good and you will do good in society; be bad and you will be punished. Decent behavior is obvious in its actions and rewards. Following what is right leads to obvious rewards – physical happiness, social success (job), etc… In addition, Beccaria(7) states that punishment should fit the crime – law should deter. Fear is a strong motivator; it can direct action and words when it comes to how you think and feel.
If one’s afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing, then one will consider the consequences of their behavior beforehand. Plus, according to John Mill (8), the death penalty is appropriate in some places. The most severe crime of man is punishable by the ultimate penalty – the death penalty. For justice to prevail, for the worst of crimes, the judicial system still is burdened of proving the intent of character of the defendant. The POV from Mill is one of tone.
He displays viciousness in his feelings about the death penalty. Mill is not afraid to play God and judge others not worthy to live. His attitude may be more about revenge than justice. Sometimes justice calls for blood.
Based on these documents from reliable sources varied through time periods, there has been no significant change over time in the purpose of law. Hammurabi implemented the use of a court system to rule on the legality and punishment of a crime. Also, later in history, the Twelve Tables describe how a court trail works and to negotiate on problems. As time progresses, the secular and religious motivations have gone through no significant changes.
A good outside source would be a Supreme Court justice of the Supreme Court in the early 1900’s. Because of his experience dealing with the legality and punishment of laws his whole career, we would understand why man strives for justice and whether or not someone deserves punishment.
His determination to achieve social stability requires him to inflict the death penalty upon the citizens of his own nation, while also trying to interpret the law in accordance with the society in his time period.
In conclusion, law is good. Man’s needs have different motivations for law in society. His secular needs require striving for justice, social stability, and punishment. However, in the area of religious influence, law should promote morality so that believers can get close to God or be separated and condemned by God. As man and society evolves, the purpose of law has remained the same – to punish and deter.
Courtney from Study Moose
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