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The problem with laws is that one can do laws against things, but not for things.

Think violence, for example. Law against violence: easy. If someone punchs someone else, sue him. Imprision him. Punch him back, whatever. Now try making a law for peace. How do you make a law about this?

The first impulse is to make a law against NOT-peace, but this does not work. Say you prohibit violence, exploitation, cruelty, and all the other things you can think of as “unpeaceful”. The end result is that you have a lot of people almost in jail (so much rules they have to obey) but not one of them wanting to be peaceful. And therefore, sooner or later, someone will find a way to do war that the laws didn’t predict.

Obviously this fafilure will be met by a “patching” attempt, trying to “fix” the mistakes of the “previous, naive” laws. And then the laws become more “watertight”, which is the same as being less respected. You did nothing about the peacefulness of men. They still have riot in their hearts.

If the law tries to use “positive feedback” it will either become bribery or a formal loophole in the system. If you pay for people to display an overt peacefulness, you are still not changing the basal “way things are” — that is, violence and rudeness are still the means of life — but you are creating an act of conformance that actually reinforces the status-quo.

Even if it was possible to escape this “pretense” vicious circle, you will only introduce in the social system an extraneous element which works as a loophole and not as incentive to peace.

That is not to say that incentive to peace (or any other thing) is impossible, but it is impossible in the form of a Law. You can have agencies, or programs, or groups, but not laws. For laws can only be against things.


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