Legalism (LEG)

Adhering to the letter but not the spirit of the law...

AKA:

Legalistic+ Thinking, which claims that the task of the judge is to ascertain the answer to a legal question following an essentially mechanical process, rather than taking the circumstances of the litigants into account.

Design Principles:

  • Be less prescriptive in the what or how, and more descriptive in the why
  • Have fewer, more generalized laws, rather than many specific laws
  • Have consequences redound on the individual for not adhering to the spirit of the law
  • Have formal mechanisms to arbitrate when the letter has been disregarded, in respect for the spirit; and when the spirit has been ignored under the cover of legalism

Discussion:

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  • Respect for law is most important during Key Behavioral Moments+

Quotes:

These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men Isaiah 29:13

The executive exists to make sensible exceptions to general rules. Morison, Elting E. (1968). Men, Machines, and Modern Times

Websites:

The great Satans of Chinese history, the group of philosophers and administrators known as the Legalists


Further Reading