How Laws and Legalism Destroy Societies
Many people believe that civil and progressive societies require an ever-increasing number of laws, rules, bylaws and enforcement to function effectively.
I believe the converse is true- Anything beyond basic laws and regulations (for stuff like murder, theft, physical injury, fraud, cheating etc) will corrode and ultimately destroy any society stupid enough to go down that path.
The reasons behind this apparently paradoxical effect are obvious, but often ignored-
1] Laws are made by those with power for maintaining and extending their parasitic behaviors. Most laws legislate rent seeking behavior and punish/hinder innovation or progress. Laws legalize theft, murder, fraud, usury and injustice by the powerful.
2] The second most common source of legislation are control freaks. These people want power, control and the ability to meddle in lives of other for its own sake. They have NO interest in improving the lives of the people they pretend to care about.
3] Laws are enforced and interpreted by people with sociopathic, narcissistic and delusional tendencies. They have no interest in the spirit of the law, and are principally motivated by opportunities to screw over other people.
4] Due to the nature of the legislative process- it is possible to create laws that legalize or penalize anything under the sun, without any grounding in reality. Laws can make slavery, fraud and usury legal. Conversely laws that make the consumption of alcohol and drugs or sex between consenting adults illegal can also be created and enforced.
5] Laws and regulations create an ever-increasing number of jobs for sociopathic parasites while starving productive sectors. An increase in the number of these sociopathic parasites in turn results in the creation of even more laws and regulations.
6] The net result of 1-5 is a gradual but hard-to-reverse loss of public faith in that society, which leads to the next stage- legislative overreach and legalism.
7] While there are many definitions of legalism- I prefer to use the most straightforward one.
Legalism is a social “system” in which people follow laws without giving thought to reality, fairness, consequences or feedback. Such systems are usually enforced by an ever-increasing amount of lethal force (law and order).
Legalism is legislative overreach, because any system that requires extensive coercion, force and deceit to function through enforcing an ever-increasing number of laws and regulations is the very definition of overreach.
8] Societies that have achieved stage 7 (legalism) lose the ability to innovate and progress. They also lose social cohesion which affects their ability to respond to external threats and challenges.
Sooner or later, such a society will come across an adversary or situation large enough to put significant pressure on it. However the loss of productivity, innovation and social cohesion converts what could have a difficult victory into abject defeat and disintegration.
This is how large empires and civilizations end.