Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Does Law Shape Society or Does Society Shape Law?

This quote from Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr.’s address to the Methodist Student Leadership Conference in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1964 may be used to spark student consideration of the relationship between law and society:

But I must go on to give the other side, because I am convinced that those who say that legislation can’t deal with this issue happen to be uttering a half-truth. It may be true that you cannot legislate integration, but you can legislate desegregation. It may be true that morality cannot be legislated, but behavior can be regulated. It may be true that the law can’t change the heart, but it can restrain the heartless. It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me, but it can restrain him from lynching me and I think that’s pretty important also. And so while the law may not be able to change the hearts of men, it does change the habits of men. And when you begin to change the habits of men, pretty soon their attitudes will be changed and their hearts will be changed.

I wonder if these comments are relevant to the present gun control debate?

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