Chan, a student from the law department of Oxford University asks a question. “Why is law abided by? Is law necessary in the human world?” As matter of fact, I think that those who study law and have to live in the world of law with the understanding of it often have those doubts.
The answer to the necessity of law is, “Law is necessary to the maintenance of society. I would like to say like that.” It is because the world with no law operates without a proper direction and eventually becomes an unhappy and dangerous society as there are lots of kinds of people, various thoughts and scales of feeling.
Here goes my view on whether law must be kept. We must follow the law which must be followed but, according to individuals, don’t have to be obedient to the law which doesn’t have to be followed. I’d like to say this to Chan. Law must have the function which keeps order and fairness in human society. A law without fairness doesn’t have to be abided by.
Some people say Socrates said that a vicious law is a law. My view on his remark is that he didn’t tell people to keep a vicious law. Socrates’ valuable meaning of saying so is that he intended to reveal obviously the fact that vicious laws can kill people and teach people to alert themselves to those wrong laws. I don’t believe he tried to tell people to be obedient to bad laws.
March 29. 1998.