Law and Order
By Arnold Kling
It’s clear that many existing laws have little or no effect on behavior. An even larger class of laws have little or no effect on most people’s behavior. What are the main mechanisms of legal irrelevance?
In this essay, I coined the term “legamoron,” meaning a legal oxymoron. That is, we have laws that, if they were everywhere enforced, would create chaos.
I am not familiar with the literature in legal philosophy. But it strikes me that the relationship between law, on the one hand, and order, on the other, is not clear cut. We believe that order requires the rule of law, but my guess is that under close inspection order has relatively little to do with formal law. I think that a Hayekian view would be that customs that evolve and become embedded in common law are more orderly than formal law.