Disrespect For Law

Dec 23rd, 2005, in News, by

On the disrespecting of law in Indonesia.

Reading this post by Oskar brings up the topic of lack of respect for the law, a problem that plagues Indonesia. Oskar looks at intellectual copyright violation and how it is considered perfectly normal and acceptable, even though it is plainly illegal.

Some tentative explanations for the problem:

  • laws are made by the parliament with little expectation that they will (ever) be enforced. Making a law seems to be a statement of how things ought to be rather than how they are going to be.
  • laws are selectively enforced, many are widely ignored, including by the police.
  • the selective enforcement creates undue resentment on the part of those who do end up being prosecuted, a feeling of persecution.
  • from the Islamist perspective all laws emanating from a secular state are illegitimate. More on this presently.

Roger Scruton, in his The West and the Rest, has pointed out that in Islam there developed no legitimate political sphere as separate from the religious. All law must be holy law.

Compounding this is the argument that in Islamic societies the tribal social vision of the Koran, where there is no mention of institutions, corporations, societies, or procedures with any independent authority, allows for the view that one is answerable for one’s actions to God alone.

Further, sharia as a system of law is profoundly lacking in many respects. Thus rulers have to make their own laws to permit the collection of taxes, allow for administrative cohesion and the entrenchment of their power, etc. But these laws have no real authority, they are imposed by secular power, not imposed by authority, which stems from God alone.

Now the example as given by Oskar involves theft, theft from corporations. Theft is of course forbidden in Islam but there never developed in Islamic jurisprudence the concept of legal personality, the idea of the corporation as a legal person, with rights and duties.

Indonesia is not fully Islamicised in the Arabic fashion but these points may be borne in mind when considering the general disrespect for the law, in particular as it affects institutions.

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