Thursday, May 1, 2008

Selfish

Earlier this week, I spent a day at the courthouse for jury duty. My name didn't get called, so it ended up being my only day of service. However, that was enough to make me think about the role of law in human society. And it boiled down to the simple conclusion that we humans as a race are selfish creatures by nature. Countless laws at the local, state and federal law exist to prescribe and proscribe what we can and can't do. Thousands of citizens across the country report for jury duty every day because there is a constant flow of criminal proceedings and civil disputes requiring prosecution and mediation. Why is there so much conflict, why are so many laws necessary? Because we humans are selfish; left to our own devices, we will always do whatever we can to get ahead; we will push the envelope as much as possible to take as much as we can for ourselves. So in a sense, we are more civilized than animals, because we have created a legal framework to protect ourselves from each others' selfish impulses. But one can also argue that, because such a framework is even necessary, we're no better than any other species of animal.
 

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