What happens when you really don’t know the rules?

The fact that there are so many cases in the courts where the outcome is not clear inidcates a severe problem exists. How can anyone tell if they are doing the right thing when the definition of the right thing is not clear and subject to argument? This is in addition to the problem of complexity where there is so much rule and regulation that knowing them all becomes near impossible. And, on top of all this, there is the problem of judicial hubris.

Once judges start disregarding the written law in favor of their own notions, ordinary citizens have no way of knowing in advance what decisions to expect from a given situation. We can read the written law but we cannot read judges’ minds. So there is a large and growing gray area around our laws. [T. Sowell. High noon for judges: Part III. Washington Times. 12mr05]

Problems with ambiguity, complexity, and interpretation mean that the legal system becomes a game. Winning or losing is not a matter of what is right but rather an interpersonal game of salesmanship and slick. The game becomes one that people can play for its own sake for reasons other than right or wrong as well. We see this in the use of lawsuits to hinder, obstruct, or obfuscate – especially in areas populated by fringe minorities such as environmentalism.

Whether it is the tax code, the criminal code, or the civil code, the rules need to be clarified, simplified, and subject to objective evaluation. Otherwise we are bent towards a path that leads to corruption.

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