Chapter 24

December 8, 2008 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling, Uncategorized, World + People + Events | 6 Comments
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I am not much of a philosopher. The only philosophical question that has occurred to me is:

‘What is the point?’

No doubt, you will gasp at the profundity and utter sagacity of this insight. I understand. As deep and thoughtful as this question is (Socrates and Plato would agree), I feel rather concerned that humans do not ask it often enough. Especially the folks at the Parliament, the judiciary, and every law-making body of the world. Those grimy, balding. terribly self-important people with a preference for stale banana milkshakes and an ability to think some of the most pointless rules in existence. Lawmakers, some would call them. A bunch of doddery old fools, is the term I prefer.

Of the many strange and mysterious things and unexplained phenomena that abound in our world, including the  possession of so-called writing skills by Pete Wentz and the re-election of George W Bush in ’04, perhaps no other phenomenon is as mysterious or unexplained as the Law. Indeed, such is the complexity and inscrutability of this dreaded school of thought, that concepts such as the quantum theory pale in comparison.

Now, I’m one of those people who love complexity as such, but love simplicity more. But one thing that irritates me more than anything else is the ridiculous precision, the exaggerated, long winding descriptions, perfectly normal terms hacked to tiniest details, and the tendency to define every term that contains more than one syllable.

I mean, consider this:

The Income Tax Act, 2007

993
An individual ( “A”) is connected with another individual ( “B”) if-
(a) A is B’s spouse or civil partner,
(b) A is a relative of B,
(c) A is the spouse or civil partner of a relative of B,
(d) A is a relative of B’s spouse or civil partner, or
(e) A is the spouse or civil partner of a relative of B’s spouse or civil partner.

Or this gem:

(1) For the purposes of this section a company is a petroleum company if-
(a) its activities include any relevant activities; or
(b) it is associated with a company whose activities include any relevant activities and its own activities include the ownership, operation or management of ships or pipelines (as defined in section 65 of the [1962 c. 58.] Pipelines Act 1962) used for transporting or conveying petroleum or petroleum products.

Like, HELLO! A petroleum company is considered a friggin’ petroleum company when it deals in the damned petrol!

I would give more such examples. but I do not want you, my dear reader, to go into a deep coma.

The basic purpose of law is to safeguard our rights as an individual and make life safer and easier. But modern law does precisely the opposite. Statements and declarations abound on paper. Action is mistaken for  the passing of bills. I wonder if they would come up with an official declaration on that too.

(We’re the folks who pass rules/Never mind that we are a bunch of fools/If you should be stabbed or get your jaw broken/There’s nothing more we can do than pass a token/We’re afraid, that’s the law/We won’t do anything about a broken jaw/’Practical’ is a term for us that isn’t supposed to be/It’s not in the book, you see/Yeah yeah yeah)

Alas, I know I am pursuing a lost cause. I may be the only person on the planet to criticise the Law (the Law is the law, after all) but I do this purely out of concern for my poor little brain, which hurts every time I come across  legal mumble-jumble. It’s been like this for centuries, of course, and no one’s complaining but me. Well, next time I’ll make sure I stay well out of a hundred mile radius of a legal document.

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