Friday, December 19, 2008

The Flaw of the Law

If I wanna know the perihelion of Venus or Thomas Jefferson's birthday, I can find out in under a minute (to be exact: 107.48*10^6 km and April 13, 1743). If I want to know my legal rights, I'm in tough luck.

For example, let's try "am I required to produce ID upon request in Virginia." The best match I got was from a forum, but there were no authoritative matches on the matter. All of the posts on that forum were probably heard by means of grapevine, and in fact, most people get their legal knowledge by word of mouth. The majority of my legal rights and limitations I've heard from friends.

In fact, with no readily accessible source of information on the matter, to educate myself regarding the law, I have to pay a lawyer. Depending on how much I can afford to pay, I can pay to learn a sort of correct version of the law or a kind of somewhat more correct version of the law. Therefore, unless I can afford it, I will remain ignorant to the law.

Ignorance of the law is no defense against the law, but if the means to end that ignorance is limited--particularly, by how much money I have--the law is flawed. The government needs to provide some medium through which the public can read and know the law.


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