By Quinton Lister, legal assistant
It is hard to change any undesirable thing without looking at and understanding its fundamental components. For instance, with addiction, the issue is often not the behavior itself. The addiction is frequently covering up a deeper root need or emotional response that we can’t see when looking at the addictive behaviors themselves. The only way to truly be rid of an addiction is to get at the fundamental part. The “root” of the problem.
I mention this idea about “roots” and change to illustrate it is not uncommon that the reason we cannot make substantial change in our personal lives, and in society, is because we do not really understand the problem (and/or won’t confront the real problem). In the case of legal reform, we look at problematic laws being a possible root issue. But are they?
Better laws (more clearly written, more rational and implementable laws) are always welcome, but they can’t make the people subject to them better. Better laws need better people to “work”, to benefit society.
No amount of laws can make up for a lack of moral decency. To get real, effective, lasting legal reform, people reform. That’s not just the public at large, that includes judges, lawyers, law enforcement officers as well. You can change the law all you want, keep creating more and more rules—no matter how well-intentioned–and they will make no substantial change if the people aren’t wanting the good. Good men and women have more influence than merely good policy.
So, instead of scratching our heads and fighting tooth and nail for an inch in legislative ground, maybe we should take a look at ourselves and our own moral fiber first.
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