The Law: A Vehicle for Stability or Oppression?

by Legal Minds Initiative
11:59 pm UTC, October 8, 2019

uxwzhXdWRWM1U2wR22VuVi27Tm3CuYZeUDIBmo4o.jpeg

Over the centuries (17th Century – 21st Century), various scholars, such as Jeremy Bentham, H. L. A. Hart and Lon Fuller; offered conflicting but plausible theories regarding the law and its applications. The result the law yields and the groups it is meant to target and its impact on those groups. From a legal perspective, the law is meant to promote social order and cohesion within the society it governs. It has a duplicitous function acting as a shield and a sword; protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty.

Nevertheless, although birthed on the pillar of justice, at one point in time, given humans’ rapacious nature, some tried and did use the law as a vehicle of oppression: enslaving and degrading fellow human beings in the name of the law. For instant in 1640 according to The Willie Lynch Letter, “The U.S. supreme court and chief justices like Roger B. Taney ensured that the law did not protect [enslaves] but imbued their white oppressors….with full supremacy”. In 1641 in Massachusetts, a legislation titled “Body of Servitudes” automatically gave all [enslaved] the status of chattel; but with the advent of Human Rights Laws (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948) and advocates, this era was eventually eradicated. 

However, for some social giants, like Karl Marx (1818–1845), the law continues to be a vehicle for oppression, through society's capitalist culture. Hence, the laws oppress the less fortunate and aids those who are deemed economically stable to maintain control. This view somewhat gains traction from Emile Durkheim’s (1858—1917), theory of Functionalism.  Durkheim posits that in order for society to function effectively, certain "evils" are a necessary sacrifice and everything in society contributes to the "whole" system working effective and efficiently . Albeit, from a legal standpoint this violates the foundation of the law - Justice, since for any society the Rule of Law principle must take precedence over any culture or societal tradition. The rule of law states that "no man is above the law" regardless of class, race, status, or influence in society.

The question which then arises is whether or not the principles of law are just a theoretical gloss for the books or an actual reality? Prima Facie, it would seem that most legal doctrines are functional and a working reality but with surgical dexterity of the law and its application one would humbly submit that the law is a device for social order and justice but allows for a certain degree of flexibility, for the greater good, regarding the blatant violation of the laws therein, if circumstances necessitates it.

Over the centuries (17th Century – 21st Century), various scholars, such as Jeremy Bentham, H. L. A. Hart and Lon Fuller; offered conflicting but plausible theories regarding the law and its applications. The result the law yields and the groups it is meant to target and its impact on those groups. From a legal perspective, the law is meant to promote social order and cohesion within the society it governs. It has a duplicitous function acting as a shield and a sword; protecting the innocent and punishing the guilty.

Nevertheless, although birthed on the pillar of justice, at one point in time, given humans’ rapacious nature, some tried and did use the law as a vehicle of oppression: enslaving and degrading fellow human beings in the name of the law. For instant in 1640 according to The Willie Lynch Letter, “The U.S. supreme court and chief justices like Roger B. Taney ensured that the law did not protect [enslaves] but imbued their white oppressors….with full supremacy”. In 1641 in Massachusetts, a legislation titled “Body of Servitudes” automatically gave all [enslaved] the status of chattel; but with the advent of Human Rights Laws (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 1948) and advocates, this era was eventually eradicated. 

However, for some social giants, like Karl Marx (1818–1845), the law continues to be a vehicle for oppression, through society's capitalist culture. Hence, the laws oppress the less fortunate and aids those who are deemed economically stable to maintain control. This view somewhat gains traction from Emile Durkheim’s (1858—1917), theory of Functionalism.  Durkheim posits that in order for society to function effectively, certain "evils" are a necessary sacrifice and everything in society contributes to the "whole" system working effective and efficiently . Albeit, from a legal standpoint this violates the foundation of the law - Justice, since for any society the Rule of Law principle must take precedence over any culture or societal tradition. The rule of law states that "no man is above the law" regardless of class, race, status, or influence in society.

The question which then arises is whether or not the principles of law are just a theoretical gloss for the books or an actual reality? Prima Facie, it would seem that most legal doctrines are functional and a working reality but with surgical dexterity of the law and its application one would humbly submit that the law is a device for social order and justice but allows for a certain degree of flexibility, for the greater good, regarding the blatant violation of the laws therein, if circumstances necessitates it.

©The Legal Minds Inc. (L.M.I) 2019                                                                                                                                            @Dimittas Legem Laborem Pro Vobis

Comments