Legal Law

Why is the law an ass?

Do you know that there is a saying called “the Law is an ass”? It derives from an English proverb that compares the stubbornness and stupidity of the law to the supposed innate nature of a donkey. Charles Dickens popularized it in his novel “Oliver Twist” where Mr. Bumble is told in court regarding his domineering wife that “…his wife is supposed by law to act under his direction”, he replies:

“If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble, emphatically clenching his hat with both hands, “the law is an ass, a fool.”

In my opinion, the law becomes an ass because judges, lawyers, and the legal profession do not follow the spirit of the law. They only care about the letter of the law.

Our politicians are very good at making new laws all the time because it gives them the appearance of being positive and trying to solve a problem. In doing so, they disregard the fact that when lawyers and judges apply the law, only the letter of the law is followed and never the spirit. It leads to contradiction in many cases where all ethical and moral considerations are lost. Thus the law becomes an ass.

We see this in action in every bureaucratic institution everywhere and at all levels of government. It means that those who work in that situation cannot use their common sense or reason with their brains. These people are being conditioned to think in a particular way and trained to stick to the letter of the law. Do you realize that when one is working in these conditions unless one is aware of it, one unknowingly becomes a zombie?

In the recent case of Isreal Folau and Rugby Australia, a moral and ethical dilemma has arisen as both parties have claimed their correctness in accordance with the letter of the law.

Israel Folau claims he has been discriminated against and unfairly sacked by Rugby Australia because of his religious beliefs.

As Rugby Australia is a bureaucratic organization that can only think in terms of the letter of the law, they had to find Folau in breach of contract to sack him. There was no other option because they followed the letter of the law.

To implement the law, Rugby Australia did what most bureaucratic organizations do: flaunt their authority and use scare tactics. They warned Folau and threatened to remove him to give in to their demands. In those circumstances, how would you feel if you were in Folau’s place? Won’t you dig in your heels?

Thus we have an example where the letter of the law is applied, without any ethical and moral consideration to an individual who had not committed any crime, to submit him to its demands.

Recently, in the Brisbane Courier-Mail dated May 7, 2019, a report titled “Music legend felt ‘violated'” was published. Diana Ross “was on the verge of tears when a security officer groped between her legs during a pat-down at the airport.” “They treated me like s..t.” “It makes me want to cry.” “It’s not what was done, but how,” she insisted. “However, a TSA spokesperson said CCTV footage appeared to show that all protocols were ‘correctly’ followed by the officers involved.”

Here again, it was an example of how bureaucratic handling of a situation can result in traumatizing an individual. And, of course, the bureaucracy always gets away with it because it always acts within the letter of the law. Under the protection of the law, the average person unconsciously or consciously tends to feel more powerful and superior; therefore, there is a possibility of authority being abused.

Therefore, when we apply a law without the spirit behind its formulation, it becomes a heart without a soul. I hope this case between Folau and Rugby Australia is not settled out of court. I want the wise judges of our Courts of Justice to show us all that the law is not an ass.

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