Customary Law

NonEntity's picture

The idea of Customary Law has been informing my thoughts now for several years, since first I read in Bill Bradford's (R.I.P.) "Liberty" magazine about the Somali Customary Law.
Today at Lew Rockwell's place is an article by Lila Rajiva which really bears reading as it reflects upon the very nature of law and how humans behave in social settings.

As more and more of our world is no longer made by us, we understand it less and less. We're forced to fall back on theory and speculation, on isolated reasoning.

But thinking, as Vico pointed out, is hopeless when it remains isolated reason. It has to include practical wisdom and rhetoric. The Cartesian cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am) is just not enough.

Like a broth which has simmered long over a low fire, there is a richness to human experience with which simple reason cannot begin to compare.

- NonE

Another Rajivanation

And here is another article by Lila Rajiva on Customary Law which is well worth examination. It's a lot longer than the Lew-site-article above (which appears a derivation of this one). Very thoughtful and thought provoking stuff, I think you may find.

- NonE

OK, now that I have had a

OK, now that I have had a chance to look it over, I think it makes sense.

I am not sure that an American version would work, although maybe taken with a few pieces of Heinlein it might.

The Basic Difference That I See


The core issue I see is that in the Somali Customary Law mindset you have no interference in the actions of others until and unless there is a conflict, and then the sole issue is to resolve the conflict in the most fair manner to all concerned. This just seems to make fundamental sense to one who believes in freedom and respect for others as well as one's self.

In most of the rest of the world, it seems to me, the idea is turned on its head and rules are laid down FIRST, presupposing that anyone operating outside of these rules is doing something wrong. It is making the situation all ass-backwards, if you follow me.

Another thing is that all interactions (almost all) are voluntary. Example: if a judgment is made against you it is up to you to choose to follow the judgment. If you don't, then it is up to others to decide how to deal with that, and one way is that they will no longer trust you and so you become an outcast, or maybe they just trust you less. And so the system would appear to me to have a feedback mechanism which would induce one to become a better citizen from one's own choice and incentives rather than from fear.

How this would work out in a global community is a huge question, but the ideas inherent in the system seem so vastly superior to the command and control nature of most other solutions that I find it very refreshing.

- NonE

(If you find it worth more of your time, I highly recommend Michael van Notten's book.