Values and the law

To the Journal editor:

Amidst the fervency of our political conversations these days, I would like to suggest a calm and reasoned conversation about the foundational relationship of values and the law.

Individual values form an intricate web that combines in a myriad of ways to engender societal values, which are then formed into the laws of the city, state, and country.

Some laws are rather uncontroversial. For example, values regarding safety on public thoroughfares are routinely codified in laws regarding traffic.

Other laws are more controversial and require reasoned discourse to move from a variety of individual values to societal values and the corresponding laws that codify these societal values.

For examples, consider (1) to what extent should government be involved in helping those in need or in providing administrative machinery for health care, and (2) to what extent should government be involved in issues of human reproduction.

Such foundational and important issues of ‘values and the law’ deserve reasoned discussion in the public sphere.


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