With the House of Commons back in Session, By George Journal thought it helpful to provide our Members of Parliament with some fundamentals on appropriate conduct – daring to hope that their actions may be more productive (and civil) than in the past Sessions of Parliament.
- Law is a necessary evil.
- Pass as few laws as possible, consistent with the demands of justice and the maintenance of order.
- Where custom is sufficient, there is no need for law.
- Do not pass laws that cannot, or will not, be enforced, for such breed contempt for both the law and the State.
- Penalties must be minimally sufficient to deter infractions, given adequate enforcement. Less renders the law ineffective; more inflicts unnecessary pain.
- There is an inverse proportion between the severity necessary to deter infractions and the certainty of punishment.
- Enshrine your principles in constitutions, codify your common sense in laws, and leave the rest to regulation.
- Even more than on your wisdom, the legitimacy of the State depends on your integrity.
- In public life, integrity requires not only an honest heart but an honest face.
- Your primary object must always be not the satisfaction of your constituents but the continued legitimacy of the State, for upon that depends the welfare, even the survival, of us all.
It bears repeating for those who might have skimmed over these words: the legitimacy of the State depends on your integrity.