Monday, June 28, 2004
Russel Nelson writes a blog which I find fascinating and educational. Most of the time I find myself in agreement, but in a recent column he writes about
Law without government where he says "If I had my choice of perfect worlds, there would be no government in it. People purchase protection from a private company of their choice. This company, in turn, subscribes to a system of laws which is privately written. Independent judges interpret the law fairly, or they don't get the business next time."
His recent column on private laws stuck me as unworkable in practice. Mainly because if law is complex now, it would get even more complex, because there would need to come into effect a meta-law system to interpret and deal with interactions between two law-systems. Example: I as a small business owner, go to rent a copier. Right now, I can count on various provisions of the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) to govern our transaction. Under the privatized law system, you’d have to find out whose law they subscribe to. It may have provisions that conflict with the law I am subscribing to.
The outcome would be as if we ignored geographical boundaries and took Georgia’s law and Alabama’s law and sat the two systems on top of each other. Worse, let’s take two different Nation’s law and superimpose them on each other.
Malaysia comes to mind as a place that has a system of laws similar what he proposes. Malaysia has Islamic law that applies to Muslims, and different laws that apply to the other citizens. Two parallel judicial systems, etc. Clearly, it must work to some degree since it exists, but I would not care to live in such a system. As a businessperson, the first question you have to ask a customer is what their religion is so you can figure out if you can pay them interest and how to conform to their law. How would the meta-law govern teenage dating?
I'm happy to have the Bill of Rights and the rule of law under a constitutional democratic republic.