Will stricter laws make a better world?

Almost every country in the world is governed by their own set of laws. These laws were put in place with the objective of maintaining order and peace amongst the populace and to see that justice is served; or at least that was the intent. The reality, sadly, is much more complicated.

Because the legal system itself is so complicated (let’s leave corruption and bribery aside for now), there are people who question the integrity of the law and law enforcement. You have some people who think the world is better off without laws and you have those who say laws should be more strict. Personally, I cannot bring myself to agree with no laws because there would be far too much chaos on a grand scale, so let’s talk about the other side. So here’s the question I’m addressing, would stricter laws make the world a better place?

Now, before I continue, I need to assert that I have no background in law and I am not a law student. Everything I say from here on is from the limited information I have, memory, and research I’ve done through the internet (which itself is not the most reliable source of information). Also, this is a blog post where I am simply stating my opinion and that is all, do not take this seriously!

With that said, let’s move on.

When it comes to stricter laws making the world a better place, I would have to say no, and these are the reasons why I say this.

Conflicting Laws

There are cases where certain laws may contradict each other, for example in some places in the world the legal drinking age is 18 but in others it’s 21. Now, the problem is not that the laws differ according to geographical locations, but it is a bit of a contradiction in terms of legality. Why should the legal age differ?

Let’s take a hypothetical situation: let’s say I’m 18 years old and I live in a state where the legal drinking age is 21, legally I can’t drink. But, in the neighbouring state, the legal age is 18. Does that mean I can hop in a car, drive to that state and now I can get drunk with the rest of them? And what happens when I get back home drunk? Can someone report me for being drunk? Or does the fact that I got drunk in the state where it was legal mean I’m okay?

It’s confusing and I don’t think a stricter law in this case would help in any way.

Vague Laws

There are some cases where the law itself is so vague that it may be interpreted in multiple ways; this could lead to some disastrous consequences. For example let’s say there is a law that says some people need to dress in a particular way in some places at all times, but in other places that law is not enforced as strictly. When that happens, it raises a situation where it is up to the officer to decide whether they should enforce the law on a person or not. In this case it’s a vague and ridiculous law which can be interpreted in multiple ways and bring about unnecessary strife.

But then again, there may be cases where having a law as vague may be purposely done as each case may be different and the law needs to be interpreted differently.

For example, there is a law which states that before a patient is to be operated on, a doctor must take the patient’s consent to perform the said operation. This is to prevent, for example, a doctor from operating on a patient, stealing their kidney and selling it on the black market.

However, let’s take another situation. Let’s say a patient has appendicitis and the doctor took their consent to remove their appendix. While operating, the doctor sees that there is a tumour growing inside the patient. Now the doctor could operate to remove the appendix and the tumour, removing the need for a second surgery. However this could be considered illegal because by law they have only received consent to remove the patient’s appendix. Which means that by law they should only remove the appendix, close the patient up, wait for the patient to wake up, tell them about tumour and receive consent to operate again and remove the tumour. In this case it’s probably better for the law to be interpreted differently, as in the doctor got consent to operate so they have the right to remove the appendix and the tumour.

Sometimes the Law Is Wrong

There have been cases in the past where the laws were simply wrong; the most notable examples being the rights of people owning slaves in countries like the US and apartheid in South Africa.

In the US, it was considered lawful to own a slave as long as the person had the money to buy said slave. Such an act would be seen as appalling and unlawful by today’s standards.

In South Africa, during Apartheid, the laws were geared solely towards empowering white people and oppressing black people. Even back then it was seen as inhumane by many but for years it was alive and rampant. Would strict laws be good in this case? No they wouldn’t.

Imposing on freedom

It has been observed in the past that when a law is enforced to the point where it begins to oppress the freedom of the common man, civil unrest begins to rise. People have a right to some basic freedoms and if those freedoms are denied them for too long they are going to protest. This in turn can lead to major disasters, including death and destruction. If the laws are too strict, to the point where it stops making sense, people will protest against it, which leads to unrest. And even if people don’t protest and instead quietly let the oppression continue, out of fear (Like in George Orwell’s novel 1984), none of them will be happy, none of them are living, they are just surviving and nothing else. That’s not exactly a better world now, is it?

Overall, in my opinion, stricter laws are not the answer. What we really need are positive incentives to make people want to act better and follow the laws that are in place. Take away the reasons for people to break laws and most people won’t break them. Sure, there might still be people who will commit crimes, but if the overall crime rate goes down to infinitesimal levels, then I will be very happy.

Well, that’s it for this post, I hope you liked it and I hope you have a good day ahead.

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