PRESENTATION BY WALTER P. HELMKE
THERE OUGHT TO BE A LAW! ORy DO WE HAVE TOO MANY?
January 4, 1985
Some 5,000 years ago, on Mt. Sinai, God gave Moses two tablets
of stone on which were written the Ten Commandments. These were God's
laws drafted for the benefit of the people of Israel. Since that
time there have been an estimated 45 million pronouncements by the
nations of the world on those first known laws. Just as those
original tablets were broken by Moses when he saw his people worshipping
false gods upon his descent from the mountain, so have those original
laws been ignored and violated many millions of times over in the
If laws are made to be broken or ignored, why do we continually
adopt more and more each year? Of course, the answer is simple.
Society cannot long endure without a framework by which we attempt to
be civilized and civil one unto another. The fabric of society
would most assuredly break apart if we suddenly terminated every
known law adopted since the beginning of the written word.
However, the question posed for us today is not whether we
should have a body of laws to guide us, but whether that body is
too large. Has it become so large that we can no longer fathom all
of the rules by which we are to live our lives and thus become
oblivious to the consequences of ignoring all laws? Among those who
believed in the theory of the fewer laws, the better, was the Sixteenth
Century author, Michael deMontaigne, who wrote "I am further of the
opinion that it would be better for us to have no laws at all than
to have them in so prodigious numbers as we have." An irreverent
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Members of the Quest Club authorize the Allen County Public Library to digitize and publish past, present and future Quest Club papers for dissemination on the Allen County Public Library website (Board of Directors of Quest Club, Inc., Resolution of May 2010).