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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • To take a legal example: are the courts obliged to mindlessly repeat the patterns in precedence, for the sake of consistency (which is argued to be a specific form of "equal treatment under the law"), even when precedent is plainly unfair in other aspects?

    First, IANAL, but I have received impeccable legal training from The Networks over the years through such fine programming as Ally McBeal, LA Law, Law & Order (all three), Philly, and The Simpsons. :-)

    Now, with the disclaimers out of the way, I

    • by pudge (1) on 2002.02.13 13:49 (#4440) Homepage Journal
      But "law in this particular instance" I think missing what TorgoX is saying. What if even that is unfair? What if we decide previous precedents are *wrong*, and if we had to do them over again, we would judge them differently than we did at the time? Are we obligated to go along for the sake of consistency?

      I think Yes, we are, *unless* we decide that we were wrong before and therefore set a new precedent (all other things being equal, the more recent precedent wins out). That is exactly what happens often: we break precedents, set new precedents, because we determine that to follow precedent would be the wrong thing to do. However, there's a greater bar to break precedent than to follow it, which can be a good thing, and can be a bad thing. In close calls, someone can get treated "unfairly," even when it's considered that the previous precedent might be wrong.

      As to the Axis of Evil, I think what separates them is that they have shown a desire to actively use those weapons against their enemies, or to provide them to those who would. China and America, even at their worst times these days, aren't doing that. Few people seriously worried that China or America would actually use their nuclear weapons when China captured the American plane. I am no fan of China's government, but I didn't believe for a moment that they would take that step, and I am sure America wouldn't.

      Sure, economics plays a role in how they react to us, and vice versa, but even if it didn't, China just isn't going to try to use their weapons against us in the forseeable future. I suppose they've sold to people who would use them, but I don't know how much that practice continues to today.

      Anyway, I aim to be consistent. I miss the target most of the time, but the more I try, the more I hit the target, which is more than can be said for most people who don't try.
      • Sure, economics plays a role in how they react to us, and vice versa, but even if it didn't, China just isn't going to try to use their weapons against us in the forseeable future

        If not for economic reasons, why wouldn't China's government start a war with the US's government, and/or vice versa?