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Old 09-07-2019, 10:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Wesley Clark View Post
There are multiple competing factors in what the law says. At root the law says what the people who hold power over society want it to say.

There are various agendas of society depending on who holds power.

In the modern west, yeah you can make the argument that the law is mostly a reflection of morality.

But its also a reflection of the economic interests of the powerful (lots of form of competition in the marketplace are illegal).

It used to be illegal for slaves to run away, or to educate them. Again, it wasn't in the economic interests of the powerful.

People may have social hierarchies that they want enforced via the law. So there is that.

Basically it depends on who runs society at any given time.

If I had to guess, I'd say shared morality, protecting the economic interests of the powerful and protecting the grip on political power of the current ruling class are the main factors in what is legal or illegal.
I think you've raised a good point. I tend to think of American laws or at least the laws of western countries where the general population has a say in the government.

But in a dictatorship, the people do not control the government. And the dictator and his regime might enact laws with more of an eye for what keeps them in power than what's moral, even judging by their own moral standards.