A Wise Man Once Proclaimed

1559 Words Sep 27th, 2015 7 Pages
A wise man once proclaimed: “when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty” (Thomas Jefferson); an idea well reflected by our criminal justice system. For that one essential indicator that factor into the compliance of people with the law is that of the perceived legitimacy of the system and its administrators. More than its perceived effectiveness, it is the people’s perception of the fairness and impartiality of the system and its enforcers that help build its legitimacy. Thus, for an institution to be conferred as legitimate and result in the public’s adherence to its laws, it must engage in morality and objectivity. Similarly, the perceived lack of legitimacy in a system and its officials will also affect the public’s compliance with the law and result in disobedience.
Born into a society regulated by legal authorities, men tend to take for granted the importance of laws and the legal system to society. Fortunately, the nature of life without laws is unbeknownst to men, aside from by mere theory. Thomas Hobbes, for instance, in his book Leviathan (1651) argues that in the “state of nature,” life would be “nasty, brutish and short” (Hobbes, 1651, p.78). For that in a state of nature, where no ruler exists and where all men are free and equal, life would be a war of all against all. People would continuously be fighting for the same limited resources and would thus be living in constant fear of one another. It is for this reason that having a sovereign is of utmost…
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