Law and Order Are Not Intrinsically Good Things

Trump likes to refer to himself as the president of “Law And Order” these days and his sycophants in the Geezers Only  Party repeat those three words as a mantra. And their voters, presumably, lap it up as a chant worth following, as if those words represent something intrinsically good.

They do not.

Laws can be, and quite often are, impractical, counter-productive, or downright immoral and wrong. Lawful behavior is only as good as the laws that it follows, and unlawful behavior is only as bad as the laws it breaks are good. The order that ensues from enforcement of laws is in this regard completely value-neutral. It has no moral property in itself, it only reflects that of the legal system that has brought it into existence.

To anyone who yearns for Law and Order and not paying particular attention to what kind of Law and what kind of Order, I would like to put forth following points for consideration:

  • In the former USSR and indeed the whole Eastern Bloc order was rigorously enforced and kept by harsh punishments against anyone who disobeyed the law.  And if that is too far in the past for you, today’s China has plenty of laws too, and oh boy do the police keep order there. I could also Godwin it here and say Nazi Germany has had many laws about what can and cannot be done by whom and to whom and its orderliness was quite proverbial, with some quite fancy police departments enforcing said laws.
  • The people who cry for “Law and Order” in USA today are often those who bemoan the dangers of Communism and Socialism and whatnot.

Draw from that any conclusions you want.


  1. Some Old Programmer says

    Trump has been flouting US laws all of his adult life. His proclamation of “Law and Order” just leaves out the “… for thee, and not for me” bit.

  2. StevoR says

    Trump clearly is a POTUS of law-breaking and disorder based on, well, where do we start?

    Impeached POTUS of course that is. Maybe time to impachandagian and this time see if we can finally get the Repubs tosee sense?

    Law and Justice are two very different things and that sesm a huge problem to me.

    Order and disorder seem very much relative to the beholder’s eyes.

    Eg. Police order is an African Amercians, theycan can killanytime anywhere and likely get wawy with it disorder.

    Trump’s order is blatantly chaos and madness and based onhis own lying spoilt toddler ego.

    International order is celarly ,well becoming disorder as the USA ignores, invalids and violates whatever treaty it wants and ecological & climatic order vs what’s happening now ..don’t get me started,.

    A certain Yeats poem about gyres and deaf falcons, Bethlemhem and slouching beasts uborn springs tomind here.. ( )

  3. StevoR says

    Typo fixes , w apologies :

    impachandagian -- impeach him again?

    Police “order” is an African Americans “they can can kill me anytime, anywhere and likely get away with it” disorder.

    Bethlemhem = Bethlehem which is Hebrew for both meat and bread as bonus trivia.

    Guess most of the others are clear from context I hope?

  4. Gelaos says

    I’d go even further: nothing is intrinsically good (or bad). There’s no exact objective way to decide whether something is good or wrong or anything else (unlike in formal sciences, where we can exactly prove things). For example, democracy is not better than dictatorship. There is no general humans-independent morality.

    That’s theory. In practice, however, there must be some selected criteria and ground rules in order for human societes to function. If we use given criteria, then we can perhaps say that democracy is better in some aspects, but we can’t say that it is totally better system than dictatorship. Same reasoning applies to all other aspects of human lifes…
    So when Trump calls for “law and order”, I agree with the very core of that statement, because there must be some law and order in modern developed society. But it’s the other layers of the statement (resp. the things that constitute his view of “law and order”) that make me dislike what he said.

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