There has never been a freer system of laws like those we have seen throughout the English-Speaking nations. The formation of common law therefore has been a few hundred years ago a triumph for the rights of men, where the epitome was achieved with the U.S. Constitution, where man-the individual-was given liberty, and the system vowed to defend him/her from the entire collective. There are no rights of greater salience as those ascribed to the individual, to his property, and his freedom from coercion. Yet men seek power, they seek to control and coerce fellow men, which is why goverment tends to become one of men, not of laws. One of tyranny, not one of liberty.
A system of laws therefore within republicanism is one where precedent gives claim to changes over time, it is flexible, but it is above all a law which is objective, not because of its rigidity as one may suspect, rather because of its accordance by a citizenry that respects the laws of its nation. It essentially comes down to individual responsibility.
Yet, you might ask: is it not the case that the rigidity of laws under a civil system, as that found in Quebec, when compared to those found in common law have more rigidity, and thus are a place of laws and not men? The answer is No. In places where civil law reigns, laws are passed by men without limit. They might begin regulating everything they wish and desire. Legislatures which are run by men in power are conducive to passing laws restricting and encroaching on the rights of men. Yet, in a common law system although you might believe it is one where men have more responsibility to affect the due process of law, it is precisely because of this responsibility that leads to greater individual freedoms.
In nations where civil law reigns, law is not in fact “objective” but works under the guise of objectivity in order to delineate some overall truth. This is the making of those driven by power, by those who use laws to control men for there own ends. It is rather under common law, where law is truly objective. The first amendment in the U.S constitution, or the right of freedom of speech under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms are excellent examples of this. They are the most rigid, objective and constant ideals that make up both nation’s framework, and in no other countries have they been so fervently defended. The reason they are truly objective is because they defend man, and his right to liberty, a right that is natural and inalienable. In court, precedent exists only to defend these laws, and best implement them. On the other hand, under civil law where man’s voice is extinguished because of what he might say might offend someone is not objectivity, it is rather the denial of reality, the coercion of freedom, and the rule of men, not laws.
At the end of the day the state passes legislature to control its population. A great deal of these laws are meant to protect the masses from those that wish to impose force on others, yet a great deal of laws are also meant to control men into hopes of standardizing the weaknesses of all men. Coercion are unjust laws, and are usually conducive of despotism. In every single instance throughout history where common law has been the dominant form of a justice system, the rights of men were reasonably of greater importance than in countries where law was purely and continually adjudicated by bills.
The great irony therefore is that in order to have a nation of laws, greater individual responsibility must be encouraged, laws must be adjudicated to never crush the liberties of the individual unless he breaks the moral code by which he is bound. Consequently, it is usually under a system of laws, set by standards that fit the individual, not by the oligarch, not the despot or totalitarian leader that passes law for the welfare of society. Law is meant to protect the individual, never to protect society. It is only through the force which it gives the individual to live a life free from the coercion of others, including the state, that society becomes better. This is the truth of objective law.
Laws that give men liberty, yet under precedent which gives man the right to protect himself under the fairest system of trial. Anything but common law is a step towards Orwellian dictatorship. Laws are not there to benefit some far off idealization of a better society, system or state, whatever the nature of the law is. For instance, a law that protects intellectual property is there to defend the rights of the individual, not society.
Holmes, author of the famous The Common Law defines the complexity by which laws must adjudicate their own worth to the individual, and that their purpose are for civilization, yet one of limits. It is for this reason why the U.S constitution which has given man the most freedoms, and most protection from state coercion has led to the creation of a nation which has taken since the 1990’s the titled of “hydra-power”, a considerable and important step up from “super-power”.
Civil Law is a system where men gain more power under the pretense of objectivity. Under a common law system men lose power over others through the objectivity of the laws that bind them together. Rethink the labels that you have been throught all your life, of the ones that have come to dominate your thinking. The ones that have been fully fabricated by the men who wish to control you under their laws, making you believe that they are objective and thus totally valid. These are the differences between the most advanced nation states, and those who are not. Between the individual who lives in freedom, and the one who cannot conceive what it might mean.
This is the difference between the freedoms men enjoy in the United States, and those they cannot enjoy under the European Union. The former is a representation of the individual, the latter is one of a collective mob. Unfortunately in the past few decades the U.S has been treading down a path away from liberty, back to the despotism of a continent it fought to escape. Away from a nation of laws, towards one of men.