Compassion, not law, brings civility

This letter is a response to the letter “Without the law, we are not civilized,” published Aug. 4 by the TimesDaily.

The letter writer’s point that “without the law, we are not civilized” is a willful negligence of our own very recent past. “The law” comes from man; indeed from “civilization.” It is only as effective, moral and just as we are.

Here are some examples:

• The Alabama Slave Code of 1833 stated that “No slave shall go from the tenement of his master or other person with whom he lives, without a pass,” punishable by up to 20 “stripes,” with a lash.

The same code forbid slaves to own horses or mules; forbid freedmen to “settle within the limits of this state;” and forbid anyone to attempt to teach slaves or freedmen how to read or write.

Today we consider these laws uncivilized.

• The Supreme Court upheld legal segregation in Plessy v. Ferguson, and the 1901 Alabama Constitution disenfranchised African Americans; mandated separate schools for black and white children; and prohibited interracial marriage.

Today, we consider these laws uncivilized.

Importantly, there were people who lived during this time that thought these laws were barbaric and uncivilized. Their words were drowned out and overruled by people who insisted “without the law, we are not civilized.”

Law doesn’t make us civilized. Compassion does.

Winthrop Armistead


(3) comments

David Rau

Pasley is the king of hypocrisy he says elective abortion lacks compassion but where is the compassion in Alabama"s new abortion law that deny's a woman a abortion for rape or incest or would deny a woman an abortion if her life was in danger if she brought her baby to full term? Pasley your the poster boy of hypocrisy. Sincerely David Rau

Jacob Pasley

David Rau opens his mouth and firmly inserts his foot, yet again. Where is the compassion for the baby ol dave. Never understood why you libs love to kill babies. How compassionate!

Jacob Pasley

While compassion plays an important role in being civilized, it's not that simple. A civilized people are much more complex than that. An animal can be compassionate, does that make it civilized? Can you imagine what this country would be like without laws, can you imaging how uncompassionate it would be? I 'd like to add "elective" abortion to the list laws that lack compassion.

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