Reconstruction (Part 1)

12 Oct

The writer was made to read – or to try to read – Lord Devlin’s The Enforcement of Morals at school. He did not get a huge amount out of it – although he accepts that that may have been a comment on him. It strikes the writer on reflection – prompted by someone dissing Lord Devlin’s arguments as ‘laughable’ and ‘offensive’ (possibly at least partly tongue-in-cheek ?) – that this book never featured in his LLB Jurisprudence module, apparently on the basis that Lord Devlin was obviously wrong.

Perhaps the writer is being contrary, but – with so many and such opponents, perhaps Lord Devlin had a point ?

The writer hazily recalls Lord Devlin’s argument as running something like this:

(1) Laws exist (in part) to point up what conduct society thinks (seriously) wrong;

(2) Moreover, where a law is repealed that impliedly affirms the conduct as licit;

(3) Laws influence morals as well as the other way around;

(4) Therefore where something is thought (felt ?) wrong it is important that the Law says so;

(5) And Law should not waste its energies legislating for/against trivia;

(6) The alternative is moral confusion

Whether or not this fits the facts, we shall see.First Question – have I recalled about rightly, or have I travestied the current trends of oddballness? What would Lord Devlin say ?


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