Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

On the futility and immorality of Civil Law

Jewish religious Law agrees that we should obey Civil Law (unless it’s immoral, like Nazi law) because, without any government, people would eat each other alive. Generally, some law is better than no law.

(Some argue that in the Jewish State, Jewish Law should govern so that here we should not have Civil Law, but that’s a separate discussion.)

A senior Israeli lawyer who is religious once told me: Whoever looks at all jurisprudence, judicial president-creating decisions by the Israeli Supreme Court? It’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Comes another law or interpretation and the presidents even become irrelevant. But look at Torah Law. The Mishnah of thousands of years ago is still studied and relevant. Because the former is nonsensical and the latter is Truth.

(Sure, it is hard when rabbis were erroneous, like declaring Gentiles (originally: idol worshippers) subhuman or sexuality of homosexuals forbidden. This is hard to emerge from because such mistakes stay relevant until consensus removes them. Don’t hold your breath.)

This came to mind when I thought about the catastrophe about to happen with Trump proposing and Congress approving a next conservative justice to the US Supreme Court. A disaster for decades that only can be stopped by the Lord Himself – and He tries to stay out of politics.

Hard-won progress in interpreting the supposedly superior US Constitution suddenly will completely disappear. Support for women deciding to keep their own pregnancies or not will melt away. Gay marriage and their right to protection protection against discrimination will become obsolete. And much-needed change like a ban on assault rifles in hands of the public or protection for transgenders will stay out of reach. Though, no doubt, state-sponsored slavery will not be reintroduced.

Not because they are good or bad ideas but because the majority of politically approved judges happens to be present-day conservative.

Nothing shows better that this arbitrary fluidity that State Law is not about Truth or Justice at all but rather is futility, the craze of the times and dictatorship of the majority. Moral sensitivity and progress develop within the People, not within the law.

It shames the (rule of) law. Or better: It shows the honor we should (not) feel for it. Civil Law is something to obey but not to glorify. It’s still better than Nazi Law or no law, but for the rest, nothing to be proud of.

About the Author
The author is a DES survivor, born in 1953 to two Holocaust survivors in The Netherlands, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. His fields of attention are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality), Medicine, Science, Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism), Oppression and Liberation (of young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQI, foreigners, and anyone else who's dehumanized and exploited), Integrity, Philosophy and Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation). Many of his posts will relate to current affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week. He always tries to bring something original, and tries to avoid boring you or wasting your time with the obvious.
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