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On law and imposition

After surfing over to mycatholic.com, I found a link to a great article by Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, Ph. D. at catholiceducation.org, “‘Imposing Our Beliefs’ on Others“. In it he makes the same argument I have made to many before regarding the concept that we cannot form laws to impose our beliefs on others, noting the fact that the essence law itself is the imposition of a belief on others. He says it, however, more eloquenly:

…law is fundamentally about imposing somebody’s views on somebody else. Imposition is the name of the game. It is the very nature of law to impose particular views on people who don’t want to have those views imposed on them. Car thieves don’t want laws imposed on them which prohibit stealing. Drug dealers don’t want laws imposed on them which make it illegal to sell drugs. Yet our lawmakers are elected precisely to craft and impose such laws all the time. So the question is not whether we will impose something on somebody. The question is instead whether whatever is going to be imposed by the force of law is reasonable, just, and good for society and its members.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Ron July 19, 2006, 3:42 pm

    Nice. I’m working on a piece for my blog about this precise issue. After spending hours in a car (business trip) with a Catholic who doesn’t believe we should ‘impose’ our beliefs or ‘judge’ people for their actions, I couldn’t NOT write it. If you don’t mind, I’d like to use that quote. Keep up the good work and I’m always glad to see a fellow Catholic live up to what that word actually demands of us. God Bless.

  • frival July 19, 2006, 8:18 pm

    They’re not my words (although I’ve been saying it for years), by all means do use them! I’ll be looking forward to your post.

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