The Meaning and Purpose of Law


Law is a term commonly used to describe the rules and principles that govern a society. Whether the law is written or not, it represents a set of guidelines that people must follow to stay within the boundaries of what is considered morally right and wrong. Some of these laws are formalized, whereas others are more informal. In some cases, people may even decide their own laws, or be a law unto themselves, which can be dangerous and lead to criminal charges.

The word “law” is also often used to refer to a person’s legal career or the practice of law. Zola had always dreamed of becoming a lawyer and worked hard to achieve her goal. However, some believe the profession is more vulnerable to economic shifts than other industries, and this was proven during the Great Recession when many firms reduced hiring or laid off staff.

Jurists have debated about the meaning and purpose of law, but most agree that it is an instrument for securing social justice. The concept of law has changed over time, with new ideas influencing how it is interpreted and applied.

Some theorists define law as a system of rules that binds citizens by specifying what is permitted and prohibited. Other theorists define law as a means to an end, and argue that the purpose of law is to protect and promote the interests of its citizens.

Other theorists define law in more general terms, describing it as the “order of society” or “the system of social control.” These theories are usually based on the idea that a just society requires law to maintain order and ensure justice.

A more functional definition of law, influenced by the work of Joel Feinberg and Stephen Darwall, emphasizes that rights are a natural product of a legal system that provides for duties to be respected and safeguarded. Feinberg and Darwall argue that rights function as claim-rights, and that these claims require correlative duties owed by the public to individual beneficiaries.

For example, the “law” that states that anything thrown up, unsuspended in space, must come down, is a law because it expresses an imposed consistent reality. When this reality ceases to be consistent, the enactment is no longer a law but a fact.

Another important consideration in defining law is that it must be enforceable. For example, the “law” that states a person who commits murder will be killed is an enforceable law because the consequences of breaking this law are clear and obvious to all. This feature of enforceable law is important to the legitimacy of a legal system. Without it, the system of law could be corrupted by the whims of individuals and groups. In addition, a legal system that relies on subjective judgments can be inflexible to changing social conditions and insensitive to the needs of its citizens. This would undermine the authority and effectiveness of the law. A well-functioning legal system therefore relies on enforceable rules rooted in historical precedent, inferred structural rules (power relationships between institutions, for instance), and judges’ independent, present-day moral reasoning.

Indonesian Democracy – The New Order and the New Electoral Democracy

democracy in indonesia

Amid rising economic hardship, Indonesians increasingly view democracy as a tool to improve their lives. This instrumentalist view of democracy explains the disconnect between low democratic ratings produced by international rating agencies and high levels of public satisfaction with government performance. Indonesia’s institutional strengths—particularly a robust civilian bureaucracy, independent courts and free and active media—can help roll back the illiberal currents that continue to flow from New Order civil-military relations and erode the country’s electoral democracy.

In a society marked by racial, ethnic and religious divisions and a history of communal and political conflicts, Sukarno sought to unite the country through a “co-operative” Nas-Agama-Kom or Nas-Akom-Kumuh (“Nationalism-Religion-Communism” or Nas-Kom) governmental concept. He envisioned blending secular nationalists, the Indonesian People’s Revolutionary Party (PKI), and Islamic groups into a co-operative coalition government, but he never achieved this goal. His administration was plagued by divisions and a series of cabinets fell apart, with only one lasting cabinet surviving for over two years.

Sukarno’s failure to achieve a stable state led to the rise of Soeharto, who consolidated power with military support and ruled as a dictator, even though Indonesia had been a democratic republic since 1945. Soeharto reformed many of the institutions of the state after 1965, but his reforms did not fully dismantle military and police influence in politics. Moreover, his attempt to impose a secular constitution on the country resulted in a wave of protests and violence by Indonesian Muslims in response to perceived discriminatory provisions in the document.

In the decade following Sukarno’s death, Indonesia underwent a painful transition to democracy, known as “reformasi” or “reform”. It was a time of restoring trust in key institutions and rolling back corruption. The New Order was replaced by an electoral democracy, but illiberal currents remained rooted in the country’s political culture and civil-military relations.

Today, Indonesia’s electoral democracy is strong, with elections broadly seen as fair and democratic management bodies generally seen as impartial. But the reform era vision of electoral democracy has given way to an instrumental logic, with elites safeguarding elections and presidential term limits not because they believe in these principles but because they provide convenient rules of the game for structuring elite competition and preventing potentially destabilising elite splits.

Institutional weaknesses remain, however. The judiciary has a poor reputation and police still engage in arbitrary arrests, particularly of protestors or those suspected of separatism. Freedom of religion is limited in practice, and Indonesian law reportedly permits coerced confessions in criminal cases. Property rights are protected in most areas, but indigenous communities and other groups have weaker rights to their land. Corruption is widespread, and due process of the law is often impeded by judicial delays. In addition, Indonesia’s repressive laws against speech and assembly have impacted minority communities. Overall, while Indonesia has made great strides in strengthening its democracy, it remains a work in progress. The consolidation of democracy in Indonesia requires strong civilian bureaucracies, independent courts and media, and an end to repressive policies.

Democracies and Democracy


Democracy is a form of government in which control over policy decisions is constitutionally vested in elected officials. These officials are chosen in frequent and fairly conducted elections, in which coercion is comparatively uncommon. Practically all adults have the right to vote in these elections, and citizens have a wide range of freedoms to express their views about political matters generally defined.

While democracy is celebrated as an advance over other systems of government, it does have some problems. Most importantly, it requires citizens to participate in democratic processes and engage in civic responsibility such as voting, activism, and public discourse. This participation is necessary if democracy is to succeed in making policies that reflect the interests and priorities of all people, rather than just a small group of the most powerful or wealthy people.

In order to do so, they need information about the issues facing their country and the policies that are proposed. They also need to understand how different policies might affect the lives of citizens, both now and in the future. Without sufficient knowledge and understanding, voters may make mistakes during election time that could have serious consequences for society as a whole.

Another problem is that in some countries, the process of democracy is not respected. For example, some countries have not had free elections in a long time, and the people’s voices are not heard by their leaders. This lack of respect is damaging to the legitimacy and effectiveness of democracy as a system of governance.

The fact that democracy is based on the consent of the governed makes it the most ethical and humane way to govern. As such, it should be promoted in all countries that have not already done so. The recent phenomenon of popular movements like the Arab Spring demonstrate that a higher level of citizen participation can take place even in countries that have not traditionally been considered democracies.

A final point to keep in mind is that democracy works best when it is accompanied by other democratic institutions, such as a free press and a wide variety of social and economic rights. When these other institutions are in place, democracy can function effectively as a mechanism for preventing dictatorship and promoting peace and prosperity throughout the world.

A good starting point for a discussion on democracy is the Student backgrounder – Democracy (Appendix B). Once students have a definition of democracy in place, they can then work in small groups to evaluate the ways their classroom and school model democratic principles by using the Teacher resource – Democracy report card sample in Appendix G. Students can then write their evaluations and rationales for their thinking. This is a great way to help students to become active citizens and take responsibility for the health of their own community. This activity can be used in any grade level. It is particularly useful for students who are preparing to enter high school or university.

Democracy in America Must Take a Good Look at Itself

Amid a global struggle for democracy, America must take a good look at itself before it can serve as a model for others. But, as a recent Stanford News report points out, if American democracy doesn’t address its flaws, the country risks losing credibility to those around the world struggling to achieve it.

The US needs to start with a new vision for democracy, one that goes beyond a system of elections and legislation. Instead, it must also focus on improving society’s fundamentals—address racial injustice, inequality, the economy and social services like education and health care. This will require more than partisan, get-out-the-vote messaging that deepens America’s divisions and entices Americans to turn to authoritarian solutions.

In a democracy, power should be balanced by an independent judiciary and the people’s right to protest and speak freely. But, in the US, political infighting, money politics and a corrosive culture of resentment have undermined these basic components of democracy. As a result, only 57% of Americans say democracy works well in their country, and only 19% say it does very well.

It is essential for Americans who value democracy, including elected officials who have sworn to uphold the constitution, to address the polarization, skepticism and distrust that is weakening public institutions. It is also important for philanthropists to speak up if the organizations they fund support a hierarchical image of the community with static, unchanging, thin identities—even if these images turn traditional hierarchy on its head.

The US must work with other nations that share democratic values to promote a global framework for democracy. But, in the meantime, it should not try to dictate standards or impose its own version of democracy on other countries, or use democracy as a tool to suppress them. When all countries are free to choose their own form of government, and when democracy is defended by people who understand it as a dynamic force for social change, the world will be a better place.

Amid today’s acute threats, it is crucial to invest in a new vision of democracy that will inspire Americans to fight for their freedom and the freedom of others. The US must reclaim its role as a leader in the struggle for democracy worldwide, and that will not happen until the nation addresses its internal problems—including corruption, cronyism, inequality and social injustice—in order to truly defend democracy. The future of the world, and our very own, depends on it.

Focus on Your Goals With the Freedom App


Freedom is the ennobling quality that allows people to be the best versions of themselves. It is not just something that can be measured with a vote or walking out of prison; it can also be found in many things, such as the ability to choose one’s work, where one lives, and what they believe. Freedom is a human right that should be protected by society.

However, true freedom is not simply the freedom to do whatever one wants – this would be dangerously close to complete anarchy. Rather, it is a more complicated idea that includes being able to do whatever you want, but only until you start to hurt others. Freedom is shaped by the ‘horizontal duties’ that each person owes to other individuals and the community as a whole (Knox, 2018). If a person’s choice will cause harm to other members of their society, it is their duty not to do it.

In this context, freedom means that each person is free to pursue their own goals while respecting the rights and responsibilities of others. This is the foundation of any successful democratic society. However, it is a concept that is easily distorted, which is why it needs constant vigilance.

A person who does not have a good sense of what is important in life may lose sight of the value of freedom and be consumed by a desire for gratification and pleasure. The only way to avoid this is to focus on the goal of being a good person, which requires self-control and restraint.

For people who struggle with these problems, there are a few tools they can use to help them stay focused and productive. One of these tools is the Freedom app, which helps users block distracting websites and apps on their computers or mobile devices so they can concentrate on their work.

To set up a blocking session with the Freedom app, you can either use their pre-defined list of common distractions such as news or social media, or create your own custom list of sites you find particularly distracting. Then, select the start date and time for your block to begin and choose which devices it will apply to. Once it is activated, the website and app blocks will be in place until the end of the blocked period.

The Freedom app is available for desktop computers running Windows and macOS, as well as mobile devices running Android and iOS. It is easy to install and works quickly once it has been configured. It will run in the background so you can still access all your other apps and features, but it will prevent you from accessing websites and apps that you have blocked until your block session ends.

Although the Freedom app is paid, it comes with a generous seven-use trial that gives you seven free blocking sessions. These are enough to give you an idea of whether or not the tool is worth the price. You can then decide to either pay on a monthly basis, or purchase the annual plan and save around 30%.

What Is Law?


The law is a set of rules created by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Its precise definition is a longstanding subject of debate. The law serves several purposes, including establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights. The legal system also provides a means to punish those who do not obey the law.

The most important purpose of law is to establish and enforce standards of behaviour, such as respect for other people’s property, privacy, freedoms and liberty. This includes ensuring that public officials, such as police officers and government workers, are accountable to the law and must act fairly in their dealings with citizens. It is vital to a well-ordered society, providing a level playing field for everyone and enabling people to resolve their differences peacefully.

Law can be divided into two types: public law and private law. Public law governs all actions of the government and its agencies, while private laws govern the conduct of individuals and businesses. For example, a private citizen can sue a business over a contract breach, but the government cannot sue a private citizen for violating the criminal code. The law also protects the health and safety of citizens, ensuring that food, water and air are safe for them to consume and to breathe.

Normative justification is an aspect of law that determines the validity of legal norms, such as the notion of a right to a good name or the enumeration of a set of legal powers and immunities. Justification involves a comparison of the normative claims of a particular right with those of other legal norms. The stronger the legal justification, the more valid the claim.

A common theory of the function of rights is called the Interest Theory, arguing that legal norms such as privileges, powers and immunities serve to protect or further the interests of those who hold them. It is important to note that, unlike the Will Theory, this view does not require that a right-holder have an active choice about whether to exercise the right or not.

Rights are sometimes granted without correlating duties (as is the case with most civil rights, such as the right to sue for defamation). These are often referred to as ‘claim-rights’ or ‘demand-rights’. Joel Feinberg and Stephen Darwall are among the most prominent defenders of a different theory of the function of rights, focusing on the capacity or power of claim-holders to demand or exercise their rights.

To become a law in the United States, a bill must be passed by both houses of Congress (the Senate and House of Representatives), signed by the presiding officers of each chamber, and sent to the President for signature. If the President decides not to sign a bill into law, it is known as a veto and the bill will return to Congress. At this point, the House of Representatives and Senate can override the President’s veto with a two-thirds majority vote.

Democracy in Indonesia

democracy in indonesia

The Indonesian democratic process has been characterized by an extended and painful period of reform, known as reformasi. In this era, the country painstakingly rebuilt its institutions of government and democracy while combating entrenched corruption and rooting out the military’s long-held control of key sectors of society. While there remain challenges to democracy in the nation, including a slow pace of structural and cultural reform and the prevalence of elite-driven politics, there are also signs that the Indonesian regime is evolving towards a new political era, one characterized by competitive elections based on policy outcomes rather than on a cherished ideology or vision for the future.

The instrumental conception of democracy

Elites in power in Indonesia have embraced an instrumental conception of democracy that is not only central to their political philosophy but is increasingly a major force shaping how democracy works in the country. President Jokowi and his main challenger in the 2021 presidential election, former general Prabowo Subianto, have both emphasized that voters should judge politicians and political systems on their ability to improve people’s lives. This utilitarian logic of governance makes a strong appeal to elites, who find it difficult to build committed bases of support among the population and must therefore compete with other elites for the public’s attention and votes.

This instrumental approach to democracy has profound implications for electoral rules in the nation. As the president and his allied parties seek to rewrite the country’s electoral laws, they are considering a range of options. Some of these would revert to indirect regional elections. Others, like the proposal to construct an index that judges regions as competent or not to hold direct elections, could lead to institutionalized discrimination against voters in poorer areas.

The case for preserving direct regional elections

In repeated surveys, the vast majority of Indonesians have declared their preference to continue with direct regional elections over a return to indirect regional elections. They are willing to pay a higher cost in terms of election expenses for the benefit of having direct say in who governs them.

A move to revert to indirect elections would represent a significant setback for democracy in Indonesia. It would reduce the quality of governance in the nation, and it would send a dangerous message that Indonesians are not capable of making their own decisions about who should govern them. It would also undermine the democratic gains made by the Indonesian political system during the transition from the New Order to democracy. The Indonesian government should resist pressure to revert to indirect regional elections and instead address the problems that plague the nation’s local governments. Those problems can be addressed through pragmatic political deals and compromise. The current electoral model is not ideal but it is far better than the alternative of going back to a less democratic era in the nation’s history. Sana Jaffrey is a nonresident scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She is the author of “The Limits of Democratic Reinforcement: Indonesia’s Political Dynamics after Reformasi.” She was previously an associate professor at the Australian National University and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Security Studies.

Democracies and Democracy


A democracy is a form of government where the people choose and elect their rulers. This form of government encourages equality in a positive way. It also ensures that the ruling officials are accountable and responsive to the expectations and needs of the citizens. It is the duty of all citizens to work towards a more democratic world where everyone has equal opportunities to pursue their dreams and aspirations in life.

Democracies tend to grow faster economically than other forms of governance. This is because people tend to be more interested in pursuing their personal goals without sacrificing their community’s well-being. This type of governing system also works to reduce issues with exploitation. For example, the structure of a democracy requires all voters to voice their opinions through a ballot that is counted equally, regardless of their social or economic status, ownership of property, or gender. This ensures that the tally of votes will reflect what the majority of the population believes is morally correct, rather than being led by money politics or wrangling between political parties.

However, despite the fact that most people do vote in elections in order to voice their opinion, many still feel that their government acts in the interests of only a small group of individuals. This can be a problem because democracy is supposed to be about “people power”. In order to address this, efforts are made to define and limit power, often through written constitutions and other checks and balances that make sure a single individual or small group does not wield too much influence.

In addition to this, there is a freedom of association in democracies that allows citizens to gather together and discuss their opinions on specific topics, or lobby government for policy changes they believe should be made. This can be inconvenient for governments, especially when there is an uproar over a decision that the public disagrees with, but it is essential for democracy to function.

Although there are problems with democracy, it is a system that can be improved in most cases. This is because there are ways to improve both the “people” part of democracy (how people are represented in government), and the “power” or “will” part of it, by giving more real power to ordinary people. These improvements should be the focus of all democratic movements around the world, and the main goal for those who advocate for this form of governance.

Ultimately, democracy is the best option for all nations as it provides the most benefits to humankind. This form of governing is the most efficient way to promote economic development and security, and to protect and respect human rights. It is essential for countries to embrace this ideology if they are to compete and thrive in today’s globalized economy. However, there is no perfect democracy that should be held up as a standard for all nations to follow, as every country has its own unique history and circumstances. This is why it is important for the international community to support all countries in their quest toward a more democratic world.

Democracy in America and in the Hemisphere – A Year of Consultation, Coordination, and Action

democracy in america

The soaring levels of polarization and distrust in America have heightened the threat to our democracy. This is a time for all citizens to recommit to the fundamental principles of democratic governance.

The best way to restore trust in our democracy is to work together locally. That is why the Biden-Harris Administration will convene governmental, civil society, and private sector partners for a year of consultation, coordination, and action (“Year of Action”) to advance democracy, culminating in a Summit for Democracy next spring.

This Summit and the broader Year of Action will build on the Administration’s steadfast work to strengthen democracy domestically, abroad, and around the world. It will bring people from across party lines to share ideas and solutions to bolster the health of our democracies and help us all become more resilient in face of new challenges to democratic systems worldwide.

One of the most important things the Summit and the Year of Action will seek to do is to make democracy in America and in the hemisphere more relevant to the lives of ordinary Americans. Our democracy is more than a system for choosing political leaders; it’s an enduring, shared commitment to ensuring that the rights and responsibilities of citizens are met by government institutions in which they have confidence.

For too long, the American public has looked at its democracy through a lens that prioritizes national messages and issues, rather than local change that makes real differences in the lives of ordinary citizens. Those changes have created discontent and a sense of disconnection from family, community, and country. They have made Americans feel they don’t belong, and that their civic participation has become irrelevant to the quality of their lives.

In response to these growing concerns, some organizations and philanthropists are investing substantial resources into voting measures that will, they hope, save democracy. However, these efforts are not enough. Democratic decline has accelerated in the last five years because of two acute threats: the emergence of an antidemocratic faction of elected Republican politicians supported by safe seats and polarization; and a deep partisan chasm on the left that has led to a politics of alienation and competitive victimhood.

Efforts to revitalize democracy must focus on both of these problems. The first is to reduce the influence of an antidemocratic faction of elected Republicans by reuniting moderate Republicans with prodemocracy leaders. The second is to address the underlying causes of alienation and partisan polarization in America by reducing feelings of marginalization among marginalized communities and addressing the structural and economic barriers that keep them from being part of the democratic process.

To reclaim the American dream for all Americans, the right to live in a democratic society must be embodied in concrete, measurable progress toward addressing real and pressing social needs in communities where people live. For example, core democracy organizations need to recognize that poor and minority voters cannot rally around abstractions like democracy if they don’t see solid progress on the needs that matter most to them.

What Is Freedom?


Freedom is an important concept in politics and philosophy. It is usually defined as the absence of constraints on action, but it may also be viewed as the ability to do what one wants to do without being restricted by others’ rights or expectations. Freedom is often associated with the rights and civil liberties for which people have fought in war, such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

A person can be free in different ways: metaphysically or morally; physically or legally. In the metaphysical sense, freedom is an ability to choose one’s actions and thoughts without being constrained by fate, necessity or other factors outside of control. A person can also be free by recognizing what is morally good and aiming for it, or by being free to resist what is morally wrong.

Physically, a person can be free by not being in prison or being a slave. Freedom can also be a result of an agreement between a government and a hostage or prisoner, such as the agreement worked out by the United Nations under which all prisoners and captives would gain their freedom. Freedom can also be a state of mind: someone who is mentally free can think and act with confidence and ease.

Legally, freedom refers to a person’s right not to be subjected to laws or policies that violate their rights or liberties. This includes the right to freedom of expression (the ability to say what you want to others, with some restrictions), the right to freedom of religion and the right to freedom of assembly and petition. It can also include the right to freedom of choice, which includes the ability to buy and sell what you want to.

The freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States are among the most respected in the world, although they come under frequent attack. The first step in defending this freedom is a correct understanding of what freedom is. Freedom’s enemies have a good understanding of freedom and use it to their advantage, while its friends sometimes misuse it by failing to understand it properly.

The best way to preserve freedom in our society is to ensure that people who have been deprived of it get the opportunity and skills to acquire it for themselves. This can be done by ensuring equal access to education, jobs and security. It can also be achieved by limiting special privilege for the few, and by guaranteeing that everyone has access to the same civil liberties. This can be accomplished by passing laws that set clear guidelines and limits for what is allowed in any given situation. If these guidelines are respected, everyone will know what is expected of them, and they will be able to distinguish between what is necessary for the protection of liberty and what is not. In this way, freedom can be maintained in a democratic society. Exceptions to these rules can be justified when they are needed for national security, territorial integrity, public safety and public health or morality.