Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on March 24, 2016

in Complexity & Emergence, Law

… is from page 5 of the American lawyer and legal scholar James Coolidge Carter‘s powerful 1884 monograph, The Proposed Codification of Our Common Law (original emphasis):

Whoever glances over the varying systems of law exhibited by civilized States, will perceive that in some, as in England and with us, the great body of the rules which determine the rights of men in respect to their persons and property, have never been directly enacted in statutory form.  They have their origins in the proper standard, or ideal, of justice as applied to human action, and the usages and practices sanctioned by it.

Law – as opposed both to legislation and to the collection of commands and rules that establish the state and that govern individuals’ relations to the state – is emergent.  Law is no more, and should be no more, the result of conscious human design than is language or the pattern of market prices.

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