Thoughts on the ‘legal philosophy’

Law is a philosophy like any other.  It is just another way at looking at the world.  In that sense, it’s a ‘world view’.  But it’s one of many philosophies and ‘world views’.  There is nothing sacred about it.  In reality, it is no more sacred or ‘right’ than any other conception mankind created, including government and religion.  In addition, like any other philosophy it can be refuted.  Not only that, there can be different points of view.  These different points of view can both be right, in their own way, despite the fact they contradict each other.  That’s common in any philosophy.  We see it all the time in government and religion, for example (democrat/republican, conservative/liberal, scholastic/mystical, etc.). That’s the way it is. The ‘legal philosophy’, though, does not allow for this naturally occurring situation.  One of the failures of the legal philosophy is in its claim of being ‘right’ all the time.  No philosophy, though, can claim to be completely ‘right’, not even the legal philosophy.  It also does not allow for varying opinions.  How can a ruling be made if there are varying opinions?  Hence, it denies the fact that there can be different points of view and falsely says there’s only one – its decision.  By doing this, in my opinion, it begins to stray from the naturally occurring traits of philosophies in life and create a false view of things. One of the things the legal philosophy has which many other philosophies don’t have is:   Authority!  It’s right, really, not by being right but by being representative of authority and receiving the backing of authority.  But, by using this excuse, it distorts truth oftentimes and creates a weird warped point of view.  Despite the fact that much of legal philosophy generally tries to be fair and just, many times the ‘might is right’ ends up being the only truth it displays in the end.  Frankly, it happens too often.  The influence of authority also means that the legal philosophy has means to make it ‘right’ that few other philosophies can claim.  They can fine, arrest, imprison, etc. to prove their ‘right’.  In some sense, it can be described as a ‘forced right’.  Looking at it that way, we can call it a ‘forced philosophy’, as its truth is often forced upon people, right or wrong.  Very often, this philosophy uses ‘threats’ to maintain itself, its right, and its truth.  These include things like threats of fines, arresting, imprisonment, and so on.  This shows that, as a philosophy that is supposed to be understood by the people, it fails, and must resort to other means to get its version of truth across.  When a system uses force to make it right it ceases, as far as I’m concerned, to be a real philosophy.  As a result, I do not consider the legal philosophy as a real philosophy.  It’s the only philosophy that I know that consistently uses ‘force’ and ‘threats’ to maintain itself.  As such, it’s more than a philosophy.  It’s a system, making it a ‘systemic philosophy’.  We must also keep in mind that legal philosophy is a ‘working philosophy’.  That is to say, it is not an ‘armchair philosophy’ one does in their leisure time.  It is a philosophy, much like government or theology, which is actively working and demonstrating itself in life.  Legal philosophy also stands in the face of great passion, as it’s often trying to remedy disputes.  These passions are often of an angry or violent sort.  This puts this philosophy in a precarious situation.  It’s often a philosophy that stands between two opposing forces.  As a result, it is a philosophy under stress.  This aspect of legal philosophy gives a lot of its character.  In some sense, how this philosophy deals with the stress its put under is what makes this philosophy, defines what it does, and causes the distortions it has.  As such, the legal philosophy must make a decision . . .  right, wrong, or distorted . . .  to be considered a viable system.  Doing this it has made great leeways, jumps of logic, and abuses all its own.  My feelings is that law only goes so far.  There’s a point where law is nothing but an attempt at solutions, which often are nothing but an abuse themselves.  In many cases, the law is more of an abuse than the abuse itself.  In effect, they often maintain the law by ‘breaking the law’ to make their decision stand. When laws do this they have exceeded their use and believability.  What this reveals is that law is a limited philosophy and cannot solve all the so called ‘legal problems’ it professes it does.   Sometimes, in a dispute, I wonder if we should just have the two people fight it out, as they often did in the past, unstead of going through the ‘circus’ of the legal system.  Then we don’t have a bunch of people twisting facts and truths around and hacking the whole thing to death.  After looking at the legal system, sometimes, I wonder if that would be more fair to all parties and society in general?  One of the failures of the legal philosophy, I think, is that it makes decisions when, really, it should not.  There are times, I must admit, that the legal system just cannot make a decision, but yet it does.  There are too many things in life that the narrow restricted weird legal point of view just can’t deal with.  That’s the way it is.  We must remember that law is geared to finding fault.  Hence, it is a ‘fault finding philosophy’.  Its whole point of view is in pointing a finger at someone.  Often, many things that happen in life that is no one fault.  Many things ‘just happen’ through no fault of anyone.  But the legal system, by its stance and point of view, must find fault.  As such, it is a ‘scape goat’ philosophy, requiring a scape goat to be found.  Many people have been made out as criminals or violators which were really doing nothing at all just to fit the legal philosophy need to blame someone. Usually, when something is done something or someone is harmed in some way.  In any situation where there are two entities one of those entities can be described as ‘active’ and the other ‘passive’ as one entity was involved in the active event and one entity was the passive recipient.  That’s the nature of things when two things relate with one another.  One is always active and the other passive.  For example, for a person reading this essay I, as the author, take the active role.  The reader is taking the passive role, as the reader is reading what I wrote.  In legal philosophy this point of view is often described as something like ‘assailant’ and ‘victim’, for example.  But this labelling and point of view often has no truth in it necessarily.  The person taking the active role may have been doing nothing at all but found themselves in this situation by circumstance (if someone interprets what I wrote the wrong way and commits some illegal act as a result of it am I, then, at fault since I wrote soemthing that inspired him?).  As a result, the person in the active role is falsely blamed.  Because of this, when they are trying to find someone to lay blame on they often develop a distorted view of what’s going on.  Over the years I’ve begun to be cautious of what the legal system says where the ‘blame’ is, as its often only something done out of convenience to fit their philosophy.  I’ve learned to be wary of this philosophy as they distort things too much to fit things into their philosophy.  It’s not unlike trying to put a square peg in a round hole.  A lot of law requires a blind obeyance of its own adherrants (lawyers, judges, etc.) and everyone else.  It depends on it!  A lot of the ‘right’ of law is often based in ‘it’s the law’ meaning that I should obey it whether I understand or agree with it or not.  This is another proof that legal philosophy, as a philosophy, fails as again we are forced to believe it.  Wherever you go in the legal system you see blind obeyance after blind obeyance, people bowing left and right.  The fact is that a lot of the ‘truth’ of law comes from people blindly obeying it like sheep.  Much of legal philosophy is based on weird points of view.  There is a logic there all its own.  A lot of this, I believe, is because it is under stress.  It has no choice but to come up with a solution and, remember, there must be only one solution as this philosophy cannot stand varying opinions.  As a result, they often use great leeps of logic, I’ve found, and assumptions, often justifying it with past rulings.  They may sound good and official, from the legal philosophy point of view, but they are often weird and sometimes bizarre from an everyday point of view.  Perhaps we can speak of these as ‘decisions made under stress’?  Once these weird ‘decisions made under stress’ are created and accepted they persist, year after year.  Part of the legal philosophy is learning these weird ‘decisions made under stress’ and accepting them as fact.  A lawyer has shelves of books which are often nothing but records of these ‘decisions made under stress’, which is often nothing but a record of a bizarre way of looking at things.  The net result of this is that it creates a condition of looking at things in a weird legal way which now defines a lot of the legal system today.  If the common person looked at a lot of the logic used in legal philosophy they’d be stunned, I think.  That’s assuming they could understood it, which a lot of people probably couldn’t.  I’ve often felt that it was wise that the people didn’t know anything about the logic used in legal philosophy as people would be upset.  Not only that, I think it would destroy a lot faith and belief in the legal system.   I know, already, that people who do find out about legal thinking end up having a contempt for the law (that includes me).  Very seldom do I see a respect after learning it.  What I’ve found is that people, such as myself, may have a respect for what the law stands for but a contempt for how its carried out.


Copyright by Mike Michelsen

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