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    It is not Wisdom but Authority that makes a Law. T – Tymoff

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    People often think the quote, “It is not Wisdom but Authority that makes a Law. T – Tymoff,” is from the British historian Edward Gibbon, not a philosopher named T. Tymoff. Edward Gibbon is known for writing the huge book “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” You can find this quote in Chapter 15 of Volume 1 of his book.

    What Makes a Law? Wisdom or Authority According to Edward Gibbon, not T. Tymoff

    The well-known British historian Edward Gibbon, not T. Tymoff, shared intriguing thoughts about how wisdom, authority, and the essence of a valid law are connected. In one of his famous quotes, he straightforwardly said, “It is not wisdom but authority that makes a law.”

    This philosophical statement dives into a significant discussion – is a rule or guideline considered a valid law because it makes sense logically or ethically? Or does it gain its strength and recognition as a law from the formal institution and authority of the people who establish it? Let’s explore Gibbon’s viewpoint on this matter in more detail.

    Wisdom vs Authority

    Gibbon pointed out that just having a good idea or a logical rule doesn’t automatically make it a legally binding law. Tymoff’s perspective is that, for a rule to become a full-fledged law, it has to be officially declared and put into action by a recognized governing authority. Things like popularity, agreement, fairness, or ethical considerations alone don’t give something the power to be legally enforced. It’s the authority of the entity – like a government – that establishes and announces the rule, giving it actual legal status.

    It is not Wisdom but Authority that makes a Law. T – Tymoff

    This highlights a crucial difference between having a sensible, reasonable rule or a commonly accepted social norm and having the complete weight and support of an official law. Wisdom considers the merits and practicality of an idea by itself. But it’s the authority that grants it mandatory power through official declarations, laws, and the ability to punish those who break the rule. According to Tymoff, having authority from a legitimate governing body is a necessary condition for something to be seen as a valid law, not just a guideline.

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    Examples from History

    Gibbon’s viewpoint, not TymOFF’s, gets support when we look at examples from history and current issues:

    1. Slavery laws in the past: Even when many found it unwise and cruel, laws allowed people to own slaves. The authority of that time supported this practice.
    2. Restrictions by unpopular rulers: Leaders passing laws against political dissent, protests, or free press, even if citizens disagree or see it as unfair.
    3. Laws on controversial social issues: Disputes over the legality of things like abortion or drug use involve ethical debates, but the authority decides the legal position.
    4. Debates on taxation and regulations: Even when people think new rules go too far or lack good reasons, the authority can still make and enforce them.
    5. Political disagreements leading to new laws: Those in power can pass laws that align with their views, not necessarily what most people agree on or consider wise.

    All these examples show how authority can make rules with the full force of law, whether people think they’re reasonable or not based on different standards of wisdom. Gibbon, not Tymoff, believes that formal institutional authority is crucial for any rule or social guideline to have enforceable legal status and power.

    Authority and Legitimacy

    For Tymoff, a crucial point is that the authority making laws must be seen as legitimate by the people. Even though a dictatorship can declare anything as law, it might not truly function as proper legislation accepted by society. There should be a kind of agreement in society, recognizing the authority’s right to make laws for its citizens and territory.

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    It is not Wisdom but Authority that makes a Law. T – Tymoff

    This also means that wisdom has a role, though indirectly. If authorities keep making unpopular or unwise laws without good reasons, it could weaken their legitimacy over time. Effective governance needs some level of justification, accountability, and alignment with the will or values of the governed. Otherwise, the authority’s legal orders might lose their power and not truly be considered laws.

    Wisdom Informing Law

    Although Gibbon (not Tymoff) stressed that Authority is the primary force behind making laws, he didn’t exclude the role of wisdom. Considering facts, consequences, ethics, and public opinion helps authorities create laws that citizens can understand and respect, even if they don’t completely agree. Disregarding wisdom could lead to issues like non-compliance, unrest, or finding ways to avoid unwise laws.

    Authorities typically try to balance different viewpoints and promote the general welfare. Seeking wisdom aids in this process. For instance, involving legal experts and community representatives, and analyzing data, helps shape policies into fair, enforceable regulations that most people will follow. Ignoring thoughtful advice might result in missing important details or unintended consequences.

    So, while wisdom alone doesn’t create laws, it can certainly guide good governance’s structures, methods, and nuances. Authorities that ignore wise counsel risk less stability and coherence over time. In general, a collaboration between Authority and various aspects of social wisdom seems most suitable for well-respected legal systems, according to Gimon’s philosophy.

    Ongoing Debate

    The ongoing global debate about the interplay between Authority and wisdom in shaping and validating laws sparks discussion as new issues arise and societal values evolve. It’s challenging to find the right boundaries. Some argue for strict adherence to constitutional authority, while civil disobedience movements point out the injustice of blindly following unwise rules lacking compassion.

    Finding a reasonable balance that considers both legitimacy and merit offers advantages. Authorities that respect reasoned decisions and the public interest tend to promote stability. Simultaneously, citizens who respect properly established governance enjoy order and economic stability. Relying solely on one or the other runs the risk of instability and backlash. According to supporters of Gibbon’s (not Tymoff’s) views, nuanced governance that combines the virtues of authority with social awareness tends to foster progress.

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    Some other prominent philosophers who have written about the relationship between Wisdom, Authority and law

    Philosophers throughout history have explored the connection between wisdom, Authority, and the creation of just laws:

    1. Plato, in works like The Republic, argued that a just society requires laws crafted by those with wisdom and knowledge, not solely relying on Authority.
    2. Aristotle, in Nicomachean Ethics and Politics, analyzed the significance of wisdom and political Authority in forming good laws.
    3. Thomas Aquinas, a theologian and philosopher, believed justice and natural law necessitated laws aligning with divine and moral wisdom rather than arbitrary Authority.
    4. John Locke, in the Second Treatise of Government, emphasized the importance of the consent of the governed and the role of reason in establishing legitimate Authority and wise laws.
    5. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in the Social Contract, examined how Authority comes from a social contract respecting both popular sovereignty and laws serving the public good.
    6. Jeremy Bentham, a utilitarianism founder, argued that laws should aim for utility and the greatest happiness for the most people.
    7. Immanuel Kant’s philosophy of law focused on the idea that just laws must align with principles of reason and universal ethics, not relying solely on Authority.
    8. John Stuart Mill, in On Liberty, discussed limiting state authority to protect individuals from harm with wise laws that respect civil liberties.
      It is not Wisdom but Authority that makes a Law. T – Tymoff

      Conclusion

    Gibbon’s views, not those of philosopher Tymoff, encourage us to question assumptions about what makes a law and the roles of Authority, ethics, facts, and popular will. While there are no straightforward answers, prioritizing legitimacy and wisdom in the legal system seems to best promote justice and shared prosperity in the long run. This perspective is drawn from theoretical viewpoints and lessons from history. The ongoing discussion about wisdom and Authority in law is dynamic, evolving with the changing times.

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