In an earlier post, I was writing about that all legal codices on the planet have loop holes and that these loopholes map to economic rents that we can capture if we are aware of the loopholes. How we can use those loopholes to attack people and situations. Acknowleding that those loop holes can refer to lack of regulation, mis-regulation, burdon of proof issues, process issues, etc. etc.. And I still think it one key element of law is to know where it remains silent or where it is giving opportunity to break it and where by design it is meant to be broken.
However, there is another side to the coin. And that is relating to ethics. And in the gist, this post is a pledge to support the law wherever we can. Where it doesn’t offer loopholes. Where it is clear. And where it has been somewhat become a common practice to ignore the law. Where one hand cleanses the other. Where people are looking away. This is a pledge to not look away. Because if we do. We are in danger.
The why – Without law, “we” don’t exist
I think all our schools from primary to secondary to tertiary miss out on telling us one key element that is hiding behind everything. Everything we do, we do it because of the law. The reason we were not mugged, raped, killed, robbed, beaten to death or permanent injury; the reason we can accumulate wealth on bank accounts, invest money for profit, rely on financial information put forward by corporations; the reason we can enter buildings without the risk of it falling on our head, why we can drink tab water or bottled water; etc. I think the reader gets where I am going. It is all thanks to the law. And that is such a fundamental truth that it is an insult to the law and ourselves if we don’t remind ourselves of this being true. Hundreds of years in legal practice, political struggles, wars and all that Jazz to get to the point where we are: a socio-politica-economic system and regime where we can do basic things that are not completely natural or self-evident.
The first thing is to acknowledge and understand – sorry, I don’t summarize here, please study a bit by yourself -, what the law does for us.
The problem – In some areas, it is acceptable to break the law?
Now, in my career have I seen hiring frauds making it a long way. People who broke the law decisively do a good job for their stakeholders, CEOs and other peope claiming to have credentials, qualifications and entitlements they never had to obtain positions in which they delivered results that mattered, despite them never being qualified to be in those potisions; people who claimed to have academic degrees they did not have and got away; people who claimed successed on their resume which where the exact oppositve from CFOs who bankrupted companies but claimed to have had them sold and somehow muddled through. I have seen cases of clear sexual and violet abuse, cases of bullying, extortion, embezzlement, threats, violations of fiduciary duty, etc. It appears that in the business world, all those things are accepted. Because individuals are considered key men. Because nothing around people would happen if they were prosecuted for those minor mistakes. All that matters are results. If you offer results. You are sacrosanct. And it is exactly this mind set that is troubling and worrysome.
If we are making an exception for all those individuals and their behaviour, we both show that we do not trust the legal system to assess the causes, reasons and intentions of those who commit these crimes, we are in a bad situation.
If we think that it is fine to accept these behaviours, are we not putting our self serving feeling of justice above the law. If we are fine with these behaviours, we give a free card to people that don’t deserve it while accepting others are not getting the get out of jail free card.
The truth is, if we as human in society are not coming very very hard after all those that are bending the law, we are not only supporting a lemon market to form. We are allowing criminals to get positions of respect and power in society that they do not deserve.
The solution – We have to enforce the law. Or the law breakers force us.
We have to understand, that we all as citizens, passport holders, voters and humans have the obligation to vote the right people to run our legislation. Have to think about and oversight the executive branch activity and the decisions and activities of the judicial branch. But last, but not only least, but before all other things, have to acknowledge our responsibility to report and chase those in violation of the law. And we have to work jointly.
If we have legal provisions. And we use them in our contracts in daily life. And we allow people to get away with breaking them. We are undermining the law. If we get a drug dealer get away with selling drugs. We accept the cashier to forget about an item. If we look away when someone is raped. Or we look away when someine is stalked or bullied. We are over-ruling the law. We are attacking the law. We are betraying the law.
And we forget one key truth. If we fail our civil duties and if we fail to meet basic ethics, by not reporting violations against the law, no matter how small those violations may be, we will soon allow murders, rapes, theft, robery, extorsion, intimidation, blackmail and fraud into our society. And we are moving back towards a Pre-Leviathan state. I have seen it in work places where governance was nil. I saw it in groups, where social norms weren’t followed. I saw it in schools where teachers were not oversighted and abused pupils. I saw it in companies, where frauds and sociopaths got away with breaking other people.
I don’t want a society where everyone gets away with breaking the law. Not because the executive branch fails. Not because the judicial branch fails. Not because the basic civic duties fail. I do not want to be born into, live in or allow the birth of children in such a society where breaking the law is socially accepted. There are no gentlemens or cavaliers crimes. There are just behaviours which are crimes and those which are not. And we should all acknowledge and support the legal system for supporting giving us a fair and acceptable life and environment in which such life can take place.
The moment you look away from someone getting a profit or benefit out of pretending to be someone he is not, being a fraud; the moment you allow someone to buly someone else into compliance into a weird regime of submission beyond dignity; the moment you look away when someone evades taxes and embezzles money from a company; in any of those moments, if you look away, you deserve to see the day where you children or family is being victimized by rape, robbery, murder. Because if we, and you, don’t respect the law and we look away when we know it is being broken, we are not only vicitims or bystanders, we are conspiratores. We are actors. We are perpetrators ourselves.
Be aware. Take the law serious. For your children. For your family. For yourself. And for humanity. Thank you.