GRE Issue: Laws and Human Nature

“It is possible to pass laws that control or place limits on people’s behavior, but legislation cannot reform human nature. Laws cannot change what is in people’s hearts and minds.”

Laws are made for there two basic functions; to provide every person with basic rights and to restrict other persons to encroach on a right of an individual. Although these may seem to converge at a single point, but they have subtle differences. I agree with the concept provided to a certain extent that these laws cannot change what people think or feel about something.

Lets start from the very starting of the human life, the schooling period is foremost period in which an individual comes in touch with laws or restrictions. Some of the rules like not bunking the classes, not making noise, etc. Every student faces these laws, some like them as it enables them to be in a disciplined life, some others are indifferent about them as they already are disciplined, and some others scorn them for they believe that these laws debar them from the right of freedom. Among these students, some follow them from the fear of being punished while others keep on violating them inspite of the fact that it causes them harm. They keep on following what their heart and mind believes and others who are not violating these laws, from the fear of being punished, also have their heart and mind in the same things.

Further, we are able to see in day-to-day life that there are innumerable laws to restrict persons from encroaching on the other people’s rights. But the maximum the laws can do is to restrict them from not doing so but it doesn’t changes the laws. Like, in India, showing public affection is considered to be a crime and there are strict laws against it. But again, you can see the young generations, cuddling and kissing in public places like parks and restaurants, though quite secretly. And like in the previous case, those who are not showing public affection illicitly doesn’t mean that they want to abide by the rules willingly, but they are not doing so just from the fear.

Although these examples quite explicitly show us that human nature is irreparable, but there are other examples which show, though not explicitly, that human nature can be reformed. Take for example, the life of a person to whom it is inculcated right from his birth that we should respect the laws and behave accordingly. These persons become those law abiding residents of the society who believe in the things they do, even if they are imposed on them in their unconscious mind. Also there are felon who through community service, a part of their punishment, come to know that their violating of rules was very harmful to some other. These people get a change in the way they think and do.

Concluding over here, I would like to say that, most of the times, I go with the authors believe that human nature is immutable and although they will abide by the laws of the society but these laws cannot restrict them from thinking the way they do. But, in some cases, which are more than exceptional, humans do change and thats why the concept of society is still intact. It is because of this, I believe, that humans are different from others. It is their power to reason over something, as is illustrated by Mario Puzo in his book “Godfather” very efficiently.

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