Tim Wu, a guest blogger on Lawrence Lessig’s site has posted an interesting entry on the purpose of laws:
>Years ago, when I was a law clerk, I was impressed by how much Judge Posner could accomplish with one simple question. He would ask, “What exactly is the purpose of this law (or proposed rule)?” It was astonishing how often lawyers would stare or gasp, unable to answer this most basic of questions.
>I think the least you can ask of government, whatever branch, is that it always have an answer to Posner%u2019s question. When acting on behalf of the public, it ought always have a clear reason for what it is doing, that it can articulate without shame, sloganeering, or reliance on non-existent evidence. Is that too much too ask?
>Yet so often Government is failing this simplest of tests. Copyright, our favorite topic, is full of stuff that lacks what lawyers call a rational basis. If you really ask — what does it accomplish to extend copyright on existing works by 20 years? How does that promote the progress of Science? There just isn’t, and wasn’t an answer.
The article goes on to critique the recent terror alert, but to be honest, I think that jump is a bit too far in regards to the topic at hand, so I am only quoting the first part of the entry.