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Astral Codex Ten Podcast

Nov 16, 2017

Question I’d never thought to ask before: are we sure it’s a good idea to let people know what the laws are?

The Chinese legal system originated somewhat over 2000 years ago in the conflict between two views of law, legalist and Confucianist. The legalists, who believed in using the rational self-interest of those subject to law to make them behave in the way desired by those making the law, advocated harsh penalties to drive the equilibrium crime rate to near zero. They supported the ideas of a strong central government, equal treatment under law, and written law available to all. Confucianists saw the issues in terms of morality rather than law and the objective not to modify by behavior by punishing and rewarding but by teaching virtue. They feared that a written law code generally available would lead to rules lawyering and supported unequal treatement based on the unequal status of those to whom the law applied…Some early writers argued against making the law code publicly available.