The Importance of Law
Law is the most important factor of a civilized nation. Without Law, the world could, and most likely would, descend into chaos. Law is generally defined as a system of guidelines and rules for people to live by, and to govern their behavior. The basis of today’s Western law comes from ancient Roman and Greek law.
Law has several basic, and extremely important, functions. The first and foremost of these functions of this is promoting the common good of the people. This is done in several ways.
The first way in which Law promotes the common good of the people is through private property laws. These laws help land to be guided into private hands so that no one person can exploit it very much for their own selfish reasons. The second way Law promotes the common good is through preventing people from acting on their own instincts to extract an “eye for an eye” revenge for wrongs they’ve suffered.
This is done through punishing those who break the laws, so that vigilantes won’t. The second function, though part of the private property laws, is resolving disputes over limited resources. This is done so that people will not war constantly with each other over resources like land. The third function of Law is to encourage people to do the right thing. Based on the “moral” laws of Rome and Greece, meaning laws that were designed to stop people from acting immorally, many Western nations (America and Great Britain chief amongst them) have adopted and updated these laws.
The most important function of Law, and the most basic, is to defend man from evil. The meaning of evil in this sense is those people who would seek to do mankind harm for no reason. This function of law is embodied in the 20th century development of International Law, which has been the base of the United Nations and in the creation of the International Criminal Court. Laws are most often made by governments (though in some countries the laws are informed heavily from religious law), generally through legislatures and is sometimes augmented, and still created, through the Judiciary branch of law.
International Law, which is regulated mostly by the aforementioned International Criminal Court and the United Nations, was nearly non-existent until the after World War One with Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the creation of the precursor to the UN, the League of Nations.