Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Can laws eliminate social conflicts?

I was able to add Asian Civilization and Science, Technology, and Society to my study load. That's good. I now have 19 units in my load.

In our Asian Civilization class this morning, our teacher posed a very interesting question, one which I really wanted to answer. But the thing is, I get really excited when I have an answer to a question a teacher poses, to the point that I am paralyzed by fear, fear that I might sound like a "know-it-all", fear that my thoughts might be rejected, fear that I'm not really motivated by a wish to share my opinion but by a desire to give way to my pride and egocentricity.

Anyway, the question was, "Are laws able to eliminate social conflicts?" The answer is kind of easy, I think. It seems common-sensical, but nobody in our class was able to give a satisfactory answer. I had the urge to raise my hand but chose to keep silent. Our teacher supplied the answer, saying that laws cannot, that conflicts can only be eliminated when each individual in society is willing enough to eliminate it, through his or her attitude.

I would've wanted to say that laws cannot eliminate social conflicts (at best laws can only minimize them), because people have free will. Each person in society has the power to either act in such away that she lives in harmony with her neighbors, or in such a way that she is a pain in the butt of the community. Each human being has his or her own interests, desires, wants, and needs, and there will always be conflict as each person seeks to fulfill those needs, wants, and desires. The state is there to regulate all those desires and needs, in such a way that everyone's, or at least the majority's interests, are represented and met. The state can legislate all the laws it deem necessary for its people, but no matter how "good" or "perfect" the laws are, people can still choose to do ill, to act irrationally, to commit crimes, to harm others, etc. Therefore, it all comes down to the level of the individual. All peace and progress emanates from each member of the society.

I just feel like venting that out, because I kind of regretted not speaking... :)


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