The Laws of Governing
Governing should be a simple process, owing to the fact that society is so complicated that too much or too little governing would leave the society either in a state of anarchy and neglect or squeezed under the burden of artificial rules that are not relevant to its well being and existence, and thus, leave the society weakened as a result of too much or too little governing presence. There is also the question as to what needs to be governed and subjected to public oversight and regulation and how the society is going to be willing to accept the government’s presence in those particular fields, such that the legitimacy and authority of the government is maintained while the public receives the needed regimen of services and/or goods.
A government is one of the key factors which produces the effects in the complex system that is the society; the others are financial and economic institutions and the environment and universe itself. One could also potentially include religious institutions as one of the main factors which contribute to the overall function, logic, morality and behavior of a given society. A government’s job is to produce the legal structures within a society through which the economic, financial, religious and social institutions operate as well as partially determine the environmental impacts that we, as a society, have on the world around us. Contrary to modern practice, laws need to be simple productions with clear objectives in mind, in order for our society (including the economic and financial institutions) and our environment to be well. They can be better designed to make the objectives of the laws easier for people to naturally and intuitively follow. However, by making law an overly complicated thing; by taking into account the “what” more than the “how”, the laws are produce a sub-optimal effect upon society, the economy and the environment, and thus, defeat the purposes that they were supposedly intended to do.
It may be presently fashionable amongst the lawyers who write our laws, to be verbose and take into account every little detail and happenstance. This may be valuable for the lower levels of nitty gritty, case by case evaluation. However, laws should come with a backbone of general principles, intentions and guiding influences which should help influence the lower level nitty gritty that anyone should be able to understand, work with and be able to point to when the nitty gritty interpretations of the law deviate from the backbone principles and intentions of function, or if the law fails to abide and produce its intended outcomes on the society.
The modern way of producing excessively long laws in legalese with no apparent backbone or grounding principles or intentions of function is, perhaps, one of the greatest problems born of this era. I don’t know what the intention is behind this functional practice in our current governing corps or if there is an intention in the first place. However, this is what happens when you allow lawyers to make laws, as opposed to people who are aware of how things work in the particular fields in which they work. It would be like a person writing a law for healthcare without either consulting doctors or patients or modern health insurance companies to discover best and worst practices for the implementation of new healthcare legislation or the development of a single payer, universal system. You need to start with the backbone and the guiding principles and intentions. Then you can work on figuring out the details and the nitty gritty as special instances arise over the course of the life of the law.
Apart from that, a government’s appropriate role in society is to do as little harm as is possible and to know when it is appropriate to intervene in a society, economy or environment and when it is not based on that grand overarching principle of doing no harm. It’s very much like the practice of medicine or surgery, in that inappropriate amounts of help, too little or too much, or help that’s inappropriately matched with the situation or condition that’s faced leads to the patient’s (society’s) death. The main difference between the two, is that if the patient of the individual dies, the doctor is able to live on. When the patient of society dies, the doctor (the government) doesn’t continue on. The two sides’ fate is bound up with each other, such that society can live sub-optimally without a government, but that government cannot live without a society. Both are needed in order to produce a good quality of life for humans in general, individually and collectively.
Thus, we’re left with the basic backbone of government: “do no harm” and “do the best that they (the government’s members) honestly can for the society). All other laws and policies should follow these two rules, if the society and the government is going to be able to thrive together, like a married couple, rather than a father-son relationship. Government cannot take from society, materially or immaterially any more than society is willing to provide to the government. Meanwhile, the society will crumble within itself if left without the government’s presence to support and maintain it, or else, be less able to provide a good quality of life for the citizens who live within that society. There’s a reason how the institution of government has survived some 7,000 years of recorded human history. It has served society well when its members were acting effectively and appropriately in the public’s interests, it did society great harm when its members were honestly not, and its members have self-eliminated themselves throughout the course of history when they have honestly failed to abide by the needs, wishes and actual conditions faced by the people who live in society itself. Society, for its part, degenerates into a new, more barbaric order when it is without a solid, legitimate, authoritative and effective government. Its people suffer, and again yearn for the days when there was a legitimate authority in place to bring peace, justice and light back into the geographical space that the society occupies, even if they cannot agree on or accept a leadership corps.
So there you have it.
Governing ought to be simple, with the complicated stuff worked out in advance of the policy execution. Law should be simple and guided by resounding principles that are based in natural law and evolve with our understanding of nature’s laws and conditions (not in accordance to the subjective whims of the popular masses or the autocratic elite).
I know that this will not be followed, really. I know that human beings are going to do what they will, and enjoy the benefits/suffer the consequences of it come what may. All I can do is point out that there is an objective universe out there and say that our actions effect it just as much as its actions effect us. It is better to conform to these natural laws than to rely on your own subjective view of the universe. That’s all I’ve got to say.
Take it for what you will.
Think about it.