Recently, in response to a post on this blog, my dear Brother Howard Roark mentioned that law is designed to keep the peace. This sent me on one of those thought trains that I have a tendency to free load upon.
What is the purpose of law? Some would argue (I am in this group) that law exists to ensure the rights of individuals and that the only laws that we should have are those relating to force and fraud. Others would argue that law exists to keep the peace.
If we are to approach the "keep the peace" idea we will at first be inclined to agree. Then the ugly human element enters the picture. The old saying of "the Nazis made the trains run on time" comes to mind. While gloomy in substance we are introduced to a law and order society that was designed to protect the state and to keep the peace. The problem with this idea is that eventually the society would be burdened with government (which will have to grow just to enforce the laws).
The problem with the "ensure the rights" approach to law is that it requires and needs the citizens to be active participants in the exercise of their rights. It also requires a respect for the rights of others.