In what ways has law fostered a culture of clear morality? Are there objective measurements to state what would be beneficial to the people which laws are meant for? I'm very interested in ways that don't create a litany of unmaintainable spider web that, at times, confounds even a seasoned attorney.

Perhaps culture isn't the answer. Perhaps an all-knowing panopticon of artificial intelligence is ideal(though I seriously doubt it). I just risked being specific for the sake of example and to help spark a response.

Any examples of what has worked well in the past would be helpful.

Let's take a specific example for a moral code.

It is wrong to break into a stranger's house and kill them.

So... it sounds pretty cut and dry... but what about war? What if this stranger has built a military base within a city and is pillaging? Now it's illegal to remove his presence with lethal force.

So now it's:

It is wrong to break into a unknown civilian's house and kill them.

That has lots of problems too. It's never going to be perfect.

Let me know if I should delete this question and why. I'll be checking back often. I suck at SE questions. I asked this in SE Law... got two downvotes and was told to ask it here.

  • Sorry. I think I just found a duplicate to my question. ["Cannot legislate morality" -- principled arguments] I'm reading the question now
    – saintmeh
    Aug 30, 2022 at 22:39
  • No. I think that question helped me rewrite my own question. However, that question is more interested in finding arguments against the attempt at legislating morality. I presuppose that one can legislate morality and I look for past examples. Maybe I ask this in History? Politics? idk.
    – saintmeh
    Aug 30, 2022 at 22:56
  • Good question. I don't think morality gets legislated, I think some cultures are just compliant. I do think that the world is becoming so complex and dangerous that only AI will save our bacon.
    – Scott Rowe
    Aug 31, 2022 at 1:56

1 Answer 1


I see two interpretations to your question.

1: What are historical examples of how societies have used legal systems to decrease the rate of actions they believed to be immoral?
In this case, you are actually asking about deviance, not morality. I just checked and Stack Exchange does not have a sociology site, but maybe if you went to the psychology site they would helpful. As far as I know, legal systems regulate deviancy simply by punishing people to do deviant acts.

2: If a more complicated legal system will result in better outcomes than a less complicated one, how have legal systems avoided becoming increasingly complex?
The tongue-in-cheek answer is that no examples exist since all modern legal systems are "a litany of unmaintainable spider web that, at times, confounds even a seasoned attorney". A more historically informed answer would be that legal systems that avoid this problem tend to rely on the unilateral power of one individual or a small group, which is undesirable for different reasons.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .