All Laws Are Rules but All Rules Are Not Law

The fact that all laws are rules but all rules are not laws can be wholly feasible. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a “law” is outlined as an enforceable body of official rules and regulations, established by people in authority who use them to govern the affairs of people in a society whereas a “rule” is a special category of law written by state agencies to support, clarify, or implement specific laws enacted by the legislature called statutes.

The main distinction that can be drawn between a rule and law is that a rule is enforceable while a law is unenforceable. An excellent example of an unenforceable rule is the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. It was designed to keep people from drinking alcohol beverages but this didn’t mean that all the people would adhere to it so this rule was obviously termed as an unenforceable rule.

Rules such as – “No one should indulge in sexual activity before marriage”, “Married women and men should not commit adultery”, “Everyone should love his or her neigbour” and a few others are identified to be unenforceable rules. Contrary to the unenforceable rules, there are also examples of rules which can be enforceable .Some of these will include rules such as: “No one should steal”, “No one should kill another human being”.

In conclusion, emphasis can be placed on the term “law” as being an enforceable body of rules and if persons do not adhere to it then severe penalties are put into place. On the other hand, “rules” are said to be guiding conducts which are said to be unenforceable and when broken there are sanctions that would complement it but not as severe as when an enforceable law is broken. Rules are usually said to be normative. This means that rules set a standard of how things ought to be, rather than how they are.

“Laws are necessary for the peace, stability, order and good governance of the civil society” Is law a necessary “evil”? Absolutely yes .For as long as there has been civilization, there has been law in one form or another. From the Code of Hammurabi to the Geneva Conventions, law has existed in some way, shape or form since the beginning of recorded history. The reason it still exists is that we absolutely need it for the development and progress of our society. If law were not necessary, it would have simply ceased to be applied and practiced. In the present day law plays unlimited importance in how our society is structured, stratified and regulated.

There are many reasons as to why the law plays a pivotal role. Firstly, it is to maintain order since humans are inherently a vicious and hostile being and that law and fear of punishment is required to keep these primal desires in check. Secondly when humans participate in a society, law is required to ensure a stable and safe society for all members. This stable and safe social environment is paramount to the nurture and upbringing of humans and without it, chaos would ensue. Thirdly, while law was not required in pre-historic times, at the dawn of civilization, the need for law was obvious. Law became needed due to such reasons as property and ownership, and indeed some believe this to be the very basis of all law.

It is held in wide belief by many philosophers example, Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), that humans are inherently vicious and hostile beings and that the law is required to maintain order in society.

Hobbes on the establishment of a sovereign to establish a judicial and system of rule said, “In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving, and removing, such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and sovereign and consented to and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Essentially what Hobbes is saying, is that without rule or law society would degrade into a prehistoric state. Hobbes believed humans are voluntarily ruled by law by entering a social contract.

Another such reason for the requirement of laws is that when humans lived primarily solitary lives in nature law was not required. This is due to the fact that the actions of one could not affect an entire group of the species. However as humans developed and organized into civilization law was required due to humans living in much closer social proximity. Owing to this, the ill actions of one could affect many individuals and thus law was developed as a means of deterring this behavior and bringing justice about when it did happen.

Law was also developed as a means of preventing crime and deviance from corrupting and destroying our society and creating an inappropriate social environment. This uncorrupt social environment is paramount and without it, chaos and anarchy would ensue. An example of a society with a legal system, but one that failed to provide an appropriate social environment would be Rome.

While the Roman Empire did have a very well structured legal system, in fact one of the first that was so well structured it required a person of special occupation and training to understand. However, their legal system was largely based around issues of property and ownership; they did not however have adequate tax laws, laws limiting political terms or laws dealing with morally questionable issues. In regards to tax law, the Romans went on to devise a system of tax collection, which eventually became totally corrupt. Tax collectors would bid to collect taxes and then pay a fixed sum to the Senate. They then had to go and collect that amount.

The tax collectors usually ordered more taxes to be paid than they had originally contracted for, and pocketed the surplus. We can see how this would lead to corruption and would negatively impact the economy. Rome also had very inadequate laws regarding terms in power such as the senate or laws regarding the power of the emperor.

Due to this, we often saw prominent political figures such as the emperor Tiberius or Nero wielding absolute power in the face of the law. This caused wide spread corruption in the senate and the Roman society as a whole. Roman law also did not deal with questionable issues such as prostitution and slavery. Prostitution in Rome was largely unregulated and even under Christianity was unchallenged. This Prostitution caused a degradation of values and morals in Rome and greatly undermined the empire.

Before civilization and in prehistoric times laws were not required, but at the dawn of civilization, the need for law became blatantly obvious. Law was primarily developed as a means of settling disputes over land and property, and many actually believe this is the very basis of all law. One of the very first surviving sets of codified law is the Code of Hammurabi. These codified laws set out a basis for living in society in a productive manner. This set of laws is largely based on retribution and restitution; in fact this is where the expression “an eye for an eye” comes from.

In conclusion, laws are indeed known to be necessary for the peace, stability, order and good governance of the society. Without laws, we would essentially be where we were roughly 10,000 years ago. We would be in constant conflict with one another for the most basic of resources. Also, there would be a society of anarchy and this would become problematic when the society would be unable to function since everyone will operate according to their own will.