Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on January 15, 2021

in Hubris and humility, Law, Seen and Unseen, The Future

… is from page 82 of the brilliant yet largely forgotten 19th-century American lawyer and legal scholar James Coolidge Carter’s powerful 1884 monograph, The Proposed Codification of Our Common Law (original emphases):

[A] rule enunciated by a statute must be applied to all cases which fall within its scope, according to a fair interpretation of its language. Let it be supposed that language employed in it is used with the utmost accuracy, it is still impossible that its framers should intelligently provide for unforeseen cases. But the statutory provisions, by reason of their generality, must unavoidably embrace such cases, and the result necessarily is that such cases must be disposed by a statute framed without reference to them, and consequently such disposition is as likely to be wrong as right, depending as it does wholly upon chance.

DBx: Reality is inconceivably more complex than is realized by those who would have government officials ‘plan’ and orchestrate our present conduct and craft our future.


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