The Law of Liberalism

Engraving, Germany. “Justice”. Metropolitan Museum of Art

Engraving, Germany. “Justice”. Metropolitan Museum of Art

What is Spontaneous Order?

The Law has only one reason to exist and that is to regulate our social relations and to establish order. It is an institution created by men purely for the protection of liberty. Today we are used to have our liberty and freedom regulated and diminished by the use of legislative power and new laws, but in the beginning, most of the laws were common sense of day-to-day relations and came to exist by what we call Spontaneous Order. The Common Law, opposed to the Civil Law, is an example of the remaining origins of Spontaneous Order. It is derived from custom and judicial precedent rather than codified statutes.

The Spontaneous Order is when complexity comes into order in a self driven way and without being planned. It is the result of human action, but not of human design. Men’s need to organize themselves and collaborate to one another are some of the reasons why such order emerge, and we are surrounded in our daily lives by many examples, such as our native languages, the common law and even the internet.

Defenders of the Spontaneous Order often emphasizes how laws that came to existence by common law are easier to accept than laws created and enforced by governments. One overly used example by it defenders is the cannabis, that probably wouldn’t be illegal if it was up to the society to decide it. Another example would be the Uber App, created by spontaneous will of drivers that were fed up with the traditional taxi business model. They created its own order and was a tremendous success until government officials decide to regulate and restrict the service in defense of a minority of government protect citizens.

Why should we promote Spontaneous Order over Government policies?

As I see it, there are two main reasons for choosing Spontaneous Order over Government Law and Control.

First, letting order develop spontaneous is for numerous scholars a better and frequently more innovative way solve our society’s problems. One example I frequently tell is the city of Detroit. It is well known how the city has in the past decades been fighting the increasingly criminality up to the point as it got out of hand. Politicians were unwilling to solve the problem and were ineffective with tax payers money in finding smart and efficient solutions. It was the effort of the big banks (such as Citibank) and their monetary motivation to connect the criminality rates with a simple solution: electricity. The local Public Energy and Lighting provider had a huge debt and because of that many neighborhoods in the city were lacking maintenance and consequently, had their streets completely blackout. Criminality obviously increased in those neighborhoods where the streets were darker and easier to escape. Due to the negotiation of this banks and a recovery plan that included a new loan, the company was able to fully restore the public lighting and criminality immediately reduced. Obviously, the problem in Detroit goes much deeper that just light, but that example shows how the private initiative is quicker, cheaper, more innovative and efficient in solving our society’s problem.

Secondly, in Government Law, legislation is created by politicians who have little or nothing to loose by approving flawed laws. If entrepreneurs don’t get it right, they are almost immediately punished economically by the market, which puts a huge and heavy load on their backs to do their best and achieve perfection. On the other hand, if public servers and politicians make mistakes, they are not responsible for their catastrophic outcomes and don’t pay a dime for it. At the end, we pay for their mistakes.

The Rule of Law

Lastly, the Rule of Law is a very important concept for defending our liberties in a democratic society. It stands for the fact that we all equal before the Law, and therefore, nobody can abuse their power over another citizen. A police officer cannot hold you indefinitely without telling you what is that you are accused of, and a politician should not have a special treatment in the face of the law and must not impose their views and values on us. In addition, the law must be knowable, understandable and predictable.

Knowable: The Laws must be clearly articulated and available. If we don’t know the law or have no access to it. how are we supposed to follow it. (Ignorance of the Law is not an excuse!)

Understandable: If is written in a complicated style, or there are thousands of them to be followed and somehow they are overruled and contradictory, it makes hard for people to understand and consequently follow the law.

Predictable: The right and guarantee that the law won’t change overnight and will remain constant not because of a political view, but because it is the best for the society.

When the law is equally applied, in a understandable manner, and available to all, people trust their government and can create, innovate and be free, because the future is predicable to them.