All that is wrong with the world…

February 7, 2012

Spirit of the law Vs Letter of the law

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 12:19 am

I have a big problem with keep a law vague and having people interpret it as they see fit, in accordance with the spirit of the law. This is dangerous as it allows for arbitrary, inconsistent interpretations which do little to ensure justice. Having a vaguely written law makes it hard to ensure the Rule of Law is enforced.

People are sometimes tempted to advocate a spirit of the law approach over a letter of the law approach because they think this can help to avoid loopholes in the law. This is true, technicalities cannot be exploited if the wording is not precise enough to allow for technicalities. However the potential cost of having the law open to interpretation outweighs the real benefits of having a precisely worded law.

Whatever the spirit of the law may be, it should be possible to articulate that as precisely as possible into clear and concise written law. Things may be missed and people may find ways to violate the spirit of the law, however this is when the law is revised and any such loopholes fixed to prevent the problem from occurring again in the future. Letting a few people get away with doing something reprehensible should be much preferred to allowing inconsistent interpretations of the law to be doled out and for justice to be doled out subjectively, based on the person doing the interpreting.

Allowing for a lot of interpretation so the spirit of the law is considered more important is nice in theory but it all it really accomplishes is ignoring the Rule of Law, denying justice to people and enabling mob rule. Juries will be free to find guilty those they dislike and let go those they do regardless of if the law was broken or not. Sticking to the letter of the law removes personal biases and should only allow for interpretation to the minimum required extent. It seems like this should be basic to anyone who has thought it out. Yet people still advocate vaguely written laws and adherence to the spirit of the law, without seemingly bothering to consider the consequences.

February 3, 2012

TV Licenses are not acceptable.

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.., Travel — Tags: , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 3:11 pm

I find the very concept of a TV license offensive. The idea that you have to pay a license on private property that you own, based purely on the assumption that you will watch a free to air channel that the money from the license funds.

Many people defend the idea because they are thankful for unbiased quality journalism and don’t see any problem. The problem I have is that the license should simply be a tax. At the moment it is a license. Needing a license to operate a harmless and widely available electronic device is fundamentally flawed.

Another problem with this model is the assumption that you will watch the free to air channel that the license funds. Personally I don’t tend to watch free to air TV at all. If I purchased a TV it would be to play console games or perhaps to watch things from my laptop. I wouldn’t use it to watch free to air TV yet in some countries like the UK it is assumed that if you have a TV then you will watch free to air TV, or specifically the BBC. How is that a reasonable assumption.

Some people consider the use of the word license to be just semantics and that the fee is actually a tax. The reason you can’t consider a TV license fee a tax is for 2 reasons. 1) If it were a tax, people would be eligible to get the fee refunded if they could show it shouldn’t apply to them and 2) taxes for the most part don’t tend to be for owning private household items. Taxes go towards services or needs of the larger population. Charging people a fee for owning a TV based on assumed use is not a tax, nor should it be permitted at all.

If I buy something and use it within my home, I shouldn’t have to pay anything on top of that. Not when other people are not affected by my use of my possession. It might seem a trivial thing to write about but I think it indicates a slippery slope. If you allow governments to charge you a fee for owning a TV however it might be justified, how long until they start charging you for owning computers or phones or game consoles?

September 8, 2010

Anarchy seems to be all fail

Filed under: Issues...the world...etc.. — Tags: , , , , — allthatiswrong @ 9:55 am

About a month ago I went along to the meeting of an anarchy advocacy group here in Las Vegas. It was interesting, but ended up pretty much reinforcing my views. I am very, very interested in having a different system of government. Democracy is a pretty shitty solution, and it saddens me how many people blindly revere and advocate it.

Given this though, I have never given an anarchic government due consideration. Why? I don’t see there being any way it could be a viable solution. I should note I have not done a lot of reading up on Anarchy, not even the comprehensive Wikipedia article, so my views (as always) should be taken with a grain of salt.

One of the main reasons I don’t consider anarchy to be a possible solution is that it seems damned from the start. It doesn’t matter if a nice group of people figure out how to get along nicely and coexist without needing a state, as it creates a power vacuum. Whenever there is a power vacuum, some enterprising individual or group will come along to fill it, by force if necessary.

That’s the fundamental problem with Anarchy, it relies on a romanticized version of human nature. There is a reason there has never been a lasting anarchic government throughout human history. In every culture at every point in time, people have looked to leaders. There has always been some form of government, whether it were a simple chieftain and tribal leaders, or any of the current governments.

One of the examples anarchists like to use to show that an anarchic government can work is the Free Territory. Yes, it’s true that for a point in time there was a successful anarchic government in place, and then what happened? The people with power inevitable moved in and asserted themselves to fill the vacuum. It’s just how it goes.

There are numerous other problems with anarchy as a system of government in my opinion. For example, how do you have any kind of judicial system? Surely you need an objective authority to administer penalties in a consistent manner? Any alternative is close to mob rule or vigilantism, which have to be the worst solutions for judicial systems there are.

What about other things, like health care or market regulation? At the meeting I went to, there were people who didn’t see why it would be a bad thing if people were allowed to sell vegetables or raw milk out of their backyard. In theory people should have the freedom to do this. However, we need a way to ensure that people purchasing such products will not unknowingly suffer. That’s where regulation comes in…, making sure the cows or plants or whatever are healthy.

I wonder what the people who complain that they can’t do whatever they want out of their own backyards without regulation would do, when people started coming back being upset that they caught some disease or got sick or whatever. In an anarchical society, there possibly wouldn’t be decent health care, so the problem might just go away. Otherwise, they could come back, and without a system of law or justice to hold them back could take revenge in a manner they felt was fair.

When challenged on some of the issues I mentioned above, they admit there may be a need for a judicial system or regulation or such…, so is that anarchy, or a minimalistic government – a different thing entirely? That in a whole seems to be the issue with people advocating anarchy. They have not put too much thought into it. It’s is an undeveloped system of government for people who have not bothered to develop their thoughts or argument for a better system of government. Of course, I would love to hear arguments in favor of anarchy or referrals to such.