If the punishment for parking on double yellow lines were death, and therefore nobody did it, would that be a just and effective law?
I was reading somewhere that if the punishment for parking on double yellow lines were death, and therefore nobody did it, would that be a just and effective law?
Aside from the shockingly harsh punishment for something seemingly benign, first thought that came to mind was that this would be as effective as a law could get. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would risk their lives to park on a double yellow. But is this all what effectiveness entails?
Effectiveness aside, exactly what makes a law just is not an easy question either. Is a law just because it is agreed to by the majority? This reminds me of a story I heard a while ago where allegedly in ancient Rome, Christians were considered criminals and were thrown to ravenous dogs, lions and bears in the Colosseum for sport. If we assume the story is true and that most ancient Romans were happy with this, would you consider it a just act, to kill because of one’s religion or belief?
If the right to life is deemed one of these fundamental rights, then I wouldn’t consider punishment by death for parking on a double yellow as just for it violates our fundamental right to life.
It seems that justice means more than consensus. There seems to be boundaries. There seems to be certain rights that are fundamental to individuals that no law shall violate. Such rights may vary by society and culture, and will certainly evolve and be developed over time. Most people today would probably agree that right to liberty, the right to the freedom of thought, expression and religion are fundamental, that these rights are inalienable and shall transcend jurisdiction.
And if the right to life is deemed one of these fundamental rights, then I wouldn’t consider punishment by death for parking on a double yellow as just for it violates our fundamental right to life.
Coming back to the question on effectiveness. Each law has its specific purpose, and effective this law would seem in combating parking on double yellow, considering a law is also a part of the larger legal system, it makes me wonder if this law contributes to the effectiveness of such?
I believe the purpose of a legal system is to serve justice, ensure fairness in balancing the rights and needs between members of the society, and perhaps, most importantly, to protect our fundamental rights against infringement since these rights are intrinsic to every individual and are inalienable.
Death punishment for parking on a double yellow, at a micro level, seems to achieve its goal well. Yet as a part of the larger legal system, by violating our fundamental and inalienable right, this law breaks the premise of a legal system. It does exactly what a legal system is set out to prevent.
So I can’t say that death penalty for parking on a double yellow is an effective law, not when you take into account what a law, as part of a legal system, is intended for.
I don’t think this would surprise anybody. No matter how much we hate people parking where they are not supposed to, I don’t think anyone is expecting to see people being executed for illegal parking on the evening news.
Still, knowing there is a reasoned foundation behind not killing people for misdemeanour helps me sleep better at night.