Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ponderings on Moral Law and Justice

I have been watching Doctor Who. In Season 1 Episode 11, the time lords take the last remaining member of the Slitheen family aboard the TARDIS to return her to her home planet and save the earth from her scheme to destroy it. The prisoner tells her captors they are taking her to her execution. The character Mickey tells her she deserves it. She responds that he is very quick to assume so. She says, "You're awfully quick to soak your hands in my blood, which makes you better than me how, exactly?"

On one hand, an answer might be that the Slitheen's fate has been decided by the authority of Law - who are the time lords to interfere with what has been deemed just? In a subsequent scene, when the Slitheen describes the tortuous way in which she will be executed, the doctor stoically tells her, "I don't make the law." She responds, "But you deliver it. Will you stay to watch?"

On the other hand, most people who take up a cause of "justice" work endlessly to improve laws that do not adequately carry it out. Even as the Slitheen attempts to talk the doctor into delivering her somewhere other than her home planet, is she not appealing to his own sense of personal capacity to judge accurately, unhindered by precedent of law?

People disagree on matters of morality, and therefore, justice. So then, how is law decided?

Majority vote.

Does this make it right?

In the same episode, the relational dynamics between Mickey and Rose delineate another factor in human influence. Rose has not even comprehended the effects her actions have had on him, or how they have affected his ability to relate to others. They each come at the relationship from an independent perspective. Thus it is with all human interaction and relational response: relationship is dynamic and fluid...alive, almost...ever evolving and adjusting to whatever circumstances come along. One size does not fit all; every relationship works differently than all others.

Likewise, how does one objective, stationary law govern all people and all situations? Juries are fluid, perhaps, to a degree; this is at least one sort of minor safeguard in the process. And certainly without law chaos would run amok (as evidenced in the biblical record of Judges).

I have Sandra Day O'Conner's book The Majesty of the Law, and I'm sure it should spark some more thoughts to share here on the subject. What do you think?

5 comments:

  1. I liked your post! Ya know, not alot of people care to think about these things... Maybe they should... If you don't know the problem your dealing with, or that it even exist, how can you properly access the situation and fix it? You can't.
    I agree that certain laws can be more hurtful than helpful, because, like you said, one size does not fit all. In certain cases exception must be made.
    I enjoyed reading your blog.. I'm your newest follower, Melody. Because I like people who are independent from others and make me think.

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  2. I agree with the follower above you are different in your approach and that can't be a bad thing.

    Yvonne.

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  3. Jamie LedgerwoodJuly 8, 2013 at 1:25 AM

    I say kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out!

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  4. Good Discussion! Because we all know, the majority is not always correct but I see no other option. Now following via GFC and would love to see you at Lets Get Social Sunday:))))

    Hugs
    Evelyn
    @ My Turn for us
    http://www.myturnforus.com/2013/07/lets-get-social-sunday-28_7.html

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  5. I don't watch Dr Who but assume that she was scheming to destroy Earth with all the pain that that would entail for people on Earth. She was well aware of her own planet's justice system when she undertook to break their laws and so can't be given mercy because she's now claiming that her planet's system is cruel. Have I read the situation correctly? Apologies if I haven't.

    You're quite right that without law there is anarchy but all too often there is anarchy because the law of the country is in the hands of the wrong people. If I knew what the answer was I'd be working for the UN.

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