The Purpose of Law

Law is a set of rules imposed by social or governmental institutions to govern behavior and shape politics, economics, history and society in different ways. The precise definition of “law” is a subject of debate but it generally covers a broad range of legal principles and guidelines. It is enforceable by government agencies and courts, and is designed to ensure fairness and safety. It has four main functions: establishing standards, maintaining order, resolving disputes and protecting liberties and rights.

The first function of law is to establish a standard of acceptable behaviour in a society. For example, it is a crime to injure another person without justification, as society has determined that this behaviour is not acceptable. The second function is to maintain some semblance of order in society. This is important because a society cannot function without some degree of stability. This is achieved through the laws that impose sanctions on people who break the rules and provide mechanisms for dealing with these violations.

Resolving Disputes

In a society made up of persons with diverse needs, views, values and beliefs, disputes are unavoidable. Law provides a formal way to resolve them by providing a court system that judges must follow. This can prevent violence from occurring and allow justice to be served.

Some scholars argue that the purpose of law is to protect society’s shared values or social norms. They believe that a well functioning society requires a shared set of values or norms that people must agree on in order to live together peacefully. However, this view is controversial because it implies that there is a definitive list of values and norms that constitute the common law and no room for individual interpretation.

Other scholars argue that the law should be left to a judge’s discretion because it is best able to adapt to social change and new circumstances by way of judicial interpretation and creative jurisprudence. This can be seen in the common law system of the United States where judges follow precedent based on previous case law. This differs from other countries that use a civil law system in which judges follow predetermined codes of conduct. This can cause significant differences in the law that is enforced, for instance adultery is a criminal offence in India under section 497 of IPC but not in America where it is not. This is because of the cultural and religious influences that influence how a country’s laws are interpreted.

The Next Test for Indonesian Democracy

The next big test for Indonesia’s democracy is an enormous one: On 17 April, 193 million people will enter hundreds of thousands of polling stations across the vast archipelago to elect a new national parliament, provincial and district legislatures, and local governments. It is the world’s largest single-day election.

Twenty-two years after the fall of Suharto’s dictatorship, the country’s democratic institutions have largely proven to be durable. The most important pillars of this infrastructure are the nation’s free, fair elections and its independent judiciary. But the democratic system has also been strengthened by the growth of civic activism and an array of nongovernmental organizations focused on democracy and human rights.

These civic groups have made their presence felt both inside and outside the ballot box, with citizens willing to protest when politicians fail to uphold economic development, social pluralism or democracy’s survival. And they have pushed the government to embrace deeper democracy through public consultations. Unfortunately, these civic groups have not always been respected, with journalists and publishers routinely subjected to extrajudicial threats or intimidation and NGOs relegated to a marginal role.

Another pillar is the country’s independent judiciary, which has proven to be a formidable force in combating corruption. The Indonesian Supreme Court and the Corruption Eradication Commission are two of the most robust and active bodies in the world. Yet this system has been under pressure, with prosecutors increasingly under the control of entrenched interests like business and religion and police frequently implicated in violence and intimidation.

Then there’s the political class: Indonesia’s established parties, Golkar and Megawati, have adapted to democracy. Their most important reform was the abolition of Suharto’s presidential veto, which paved the way for Habibie’s election in 1999 and later, Abdurrahman Wahid’s, as well as the subsequent transitions to civilian rule. Moreover, no Indonesian president has sought to reverse the democratic experiment and restore military rule, as has happened in neighboring Thailand and Burma.

For all its flaws and weaknesses, Indonesian democracy is a global model worth defending. It is a model that can inspire confidence in weak democracies and help those struggling to break out of autocracy that they are not at the point where everything is lost. It makes little sense for aspiring democracies to seek out some shining democratic city atop a hill: Rather, they should take lessons from loose analogues that can teach them how to make their own way up the mountain.

It is time for the Indonesian government to start acting on its normative plans for a more consolidated democracy, particularly those that entail expanding the democratic space beyond elections. Indonesia’s citizens deserve a government that is committed to democracy’s survival and that genuinely welcomes the challenge of governing under its conditions. It is up to Indonesian voters to hold the country’s politicians accountable, no matter how much they talk about embracing a deeper democracy. If they don’t, their days in office could be numbered. Fadhilah Fitri Primandari is an independent researcher and a senior research assistant at the CoronaNet Research Project.

Democracies and Sustainable Development

Democracy is a political system based on the free choice of the governed, with respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It provides a structure for governance at the national level that ensures people have a say in decisions and can hold decision-makers accountable. This helps to achieve sustainable development and is an integral part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The ancient Greeks are credited with creating the first democracy. Theirs was a direct democracy – in other words, instead of relying on elected representatives to govern on their behalf, citizens themselves debated issues and created policies. The modern world has many different kinds of democracy, including those with representative and participative systems. It is important to distinguish between these different forms of democracy, and to understand how they function.

Throughout history, governments have attempted to control the public’s thoughts and beliefs in order to maintain their power. But this approach suffocates the development of new ideas, and prevents society from evolving in healthy ways. The best way to protect a democratic system is to allow individuals to express their views freely, and even to criticize those in power without fear of being punished or imprisoned.

One of the most basic requirements for a democracy is the freedom of association and assembly (UDHR, Article 20). This right allows people to form groups in which they can discuss their ideas with others, to gather together to protest against government decisions they disagree with, or to meet with friends to discuss a common interest. This is often inconvenient for governments, but it is vital if different views are to be made known and taken into account.

Another essential feature of democracy is the free and equal right to vote (UDHR, Article 21). This guarantees that all eligible persons have the right to take part in a democratic process by voting for candidates representing their views, interests and aspirations. It also guarantees that all votes will be counted, so that every person has the same opportunity to participate in the democratic system.

Finally, a democracy must provide effective and accessible remedies for complaints or grievances raised by individuals. For example, it should have independent bodies which investigate allegations of electoral fraud or malpractice and which are not subject to veto by political parties or other interested parties. This will help to maintain transparency in the political system and strengthen the confidence of citizens in it.

It is not helpful to try to measure the quality of a democracy using a single yardstick or compare different countries against each other, as this risks overlooking important differences. Instead, international organizations such as Freedom House, the Economist Intelligence Unit, and Varieties of Democracy use a variety of factors to determine the extent to which a country is democratic. Ultimately, a democracy is a system that should be judged by its own citizens, who should decide how their country is governed and in what ways they want to be involved with it.

Democracy in America

The US is not a straight A student when it comes to democracy. The world has a discerning eye and a deep sense of pessimism about American-style democracy, especially when it comes to US hypocrisy in exporting democratic values and acts of bullying and hegemony around the globe. The gunshots, farce and squabbling on Capitol Hill have revealed that beneath the gorgeous exterior of US democracy, there lies corruption and dysfunction.

In the 16 years since Donald Trump was elected, US democracy has deteriorated at an alarming pace. A recent survey found that only 16% of Americans think their democracy is working well or extremely well. This is a sharp decline from 38% who said this in 2004. The squabbling and the infighting are not only distracting from quality governance, but they also erode people’s faith in democracy. This is because they encourage citizens to view the state as a “black box,” an unaccountable power that is always out of control. In addition, the power of the media has distorted the function of the supposedly democratic system of checks and balances that was designed to prevent the growth of despotism in America.

This is a profound crisis of democracy. The public is disillusioned with politics and pessimistic about the country’s future. Amid this climate of cynicism, the world is entering its sixteenth year of democratic recession, with authoritarian leaders rising to power as voters abandon their democracies in favor of security and economic stability.

One of the most influential books of modern times, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, is still regarded as a landmark breakthrough in our understanding of democracy as an extraordinary political form that stirs up people’s sense of contingency and makes them aware of how much of their current way of life might change if other conditions were to prevail. Tocqueville was fascinated by the new American society of civil associations, and he saw in it the germ of what he called the new mode of self-government that he had long dreamed of.

Tocqueville’s book is remarkable for its openness to paradox and its ability to juggle opposites. It is a work of profound intuitions, but it is also a work of immense scholarship, carefully gathered by a man with an adventurous spirit and the capacity to see the beauty in the midst of chaos.

The first and most important insight Tocqueville gleaned from his study of the young American republic was the centrality of a culture of civil associations. These institutions, which Tocqueville referred to as a “societe civile,” are an integral part of the democratic system and have radical social implications. The art of associating enables men to soften their customs and become more civilized, and it is through the practice of this art that democracy has been able to achieve its success. This is a powerful argument for democracy, and it is a case that has never been more relevant than today. – David Heldt, Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

The Concept of Freedom

Freedom is the power or right to act, speak or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. People in jail often long for freedom, as do those under a despotic government. In the United States, people have “freedom of speech,” which allows them to express their opinions without governmental interference (although this doesn’t extend to expression that defames, causes panic, incites rioting, creates fighting words, incites to sedition or is obscene). In addition to this freedom, there are many other types of freedoms, such as freedom of religion and freedom of the press.

The concept of freedom appears in Kant’s writings, including the Critique of Pure Reason, the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgment. In all of these works, freedom is used in a varying number of different ways.

For example, in the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant sees freedom as a transcendental idea that is independent of the necessity of being a physical object, and in the Critique of Practical Reason, he uses it to define an objective moral law.

In the Critique of Judgment, he defines freedom in terms of liberation from the arbitrariness of one’s drives through sensuality and a sense of freedom that grounds a factum of moral law. Freedom is also seen as an absence of necessity and constraint in choice or action, and freedom from slavery or from the power of another.

As a result of these different uses, freedom has numerous definitions. It is most commonly defined as the ability to do what one desires without interference from others, but taken too far, this can be dangerous to society. In addition to this definition, freedom is a necessary component of self-fulfillment and the pursuit of happiness.

The word comes from the Latin frein, meaning “to love.” It is a quality that everyone should be able to enjoy, especially those in prison or under a tyrannical regime. In addition, freedom is a crucial ingredient in the success of a democracy.

For example, it is essential to the process of enfranchisement, which allows citizens to vote, run for office, and participate in a representative democracy. Freedom is a fundamental human right and should be respected by all nations and individuals.

To illustrate the concept of freedom, many teachers use a visual aid called a fence chart. It consists of a dot representing an individual and a closed line immediately around the dot to represent a limit on freedom. Each time an individual gains a new freedom, it forces the fence to back away from the dot. This adds a bulge of the new freedom to the area enclosed about the dot, and the more skills gained, the larger the bulge. For example, if someone learns to play the violin, this can cause the bulge of their freedom to expand in a violin-shaped fashion. This is a good way to show students that the more freedoms acquired, the more prosperous and happy a person will be.

What Is Law?

Law is a set of rules created and enforceable by social or governmental institutions to regulate behavior. Its precise definition is a matter of longstanding debate. Law has been variously described as a science and as the art of justice. In a nation, law can serve several purposes: (1) to keep the peace and maintain the status quo; (2) to preserve individual rights; (3) to protect minorities against majorities; (4) to promote social justice; and (5) to provide for orderly social change. The degree to which a law accomplishes these goals varies from nation to nation, and the nature of legal systems also varies. Governments range from autocratic to democratic, and the way in which they establish and enforce laws reflects their political and economic structures.

A key feature of the law is that it is a normative science, meaning that its statements about what people ought or should not do are deprived of descriptive characteristics (such as those of a physical law like the law of gravity) and are instead prescriptive in nature. However, this makes it difficult to use standard methods of empirical scientific research to test the content and effectiveness of a law.

Some scholars argue that a law can be evaluated only through its practical effects. In this view, a law’s function is to provide its citizens with certain minimum standards of human behaviour, such as not injuring other people or destroying their property. These standards are established by the legislature or by a legal institution, such as a court.

Other scholars have argued that the primary function of a law is to resolve conflicts between groups. This is the theory behind modern civil law jurisdictions, where a central legislative body sets the rules and judges interpret them. This is in contrast to common law jurisdictions, where judges create law through their decisions in a case-by-case manner.

Another important issue in law is determining the proper role of morality and values in a legal system. The philosopher Richard Posner has argued that a law can only be as valid as the values that supposedly support it. This has been called the moral impact theory of law. Some scholars argue that this theory has serious problems, and that it fails to account for the ways in which law can be abused by authoritarian governments. Others, including Salmond and Greenberg, have proposed other theories that can better account for the role of normative factors in a law’s content.

Indonesia’s Democracy in 2024

democracy in indonesia

More than 193 million Indonesians are expected to head to the polls on 17 April, choosing a president and vice president along with members of parliament and provincial and district legislatures in one of the largest and most complex single-day elections in history. They will be voting in the latest instalment of a democracy that has proved remarkably resilient and adaptable to a host of challenges, but one that now risks losing some of its sheen as a global model for democratic practice.

The Indonesian political establishment is justifiably proud of the country’s democratic bona fides, but it’s also understandably concerned about its reputation as a flawed democracy. For many in the global policy community, particularly in Washington, Indonesia’s hesitance to condemn and isolate Russia’s aggression or side with the United States in its disputes with China makes it look less than fully committed to democratic principles. And the country’s failure to lead in addressing the threat of climate change could have a similarly damaging effect on its reputation abroad.

Those concerns have become more acute as Indonesia approaches the 2024 presidential election, scheduled for simultaneous nationwide local elections. The key question is not whether Indonesia will have a genuine electoral contest, but rather how well it will play out.

Indonesian elections are often messy affairs, replete with electoral clientelism and vote-buying. But they are also highly competitive. For two decades, the winner of a presidential election has been the candidate most willing and capable of drawing support from Indonesia’s widest range of identity groups. This is what Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, did to win the presidency twice in 2014 and 2019, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by foreign observers.

Jokowi’s successes have been a product of his ability to tamp down religious polarization. In both 2014 and 2019, the enfant terrible of Indonesian politics, former general Prabowo Subianto, came perilously close to winning the presidency by whipping up Islamist and antiminority sentiments, but was defeated by a more pluralistic candidate with better credentials.

A similar dynamic is at play in the 2024 contest, but with a twist. Prabowo leads a small party that would need to coalesce with another significant one to clear the electoral threshold and run for president. The potential candidates to succeed Jokowi—Ganjar Pranowo, the governor of Central Java, and Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the leader of the country’s governing coalition—all have favorable ratings above 50 percent in public opinion polling and are more likely to assemble broad-based coalitions. The question is whether they will do so, or succumb to the pressures to revert to an authoritarian style of governance. It is a question that is resonating around the world, not just in Washington and Brussels but in Beijing and Jakarta as well. A version of this article first appeared in the New York Times on 23 January 2019. Read it here. Copyright NYT Media Limited 2019; all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

What Is Democracy?


The word democracy comes from the Greek words demos (“people”) and kratos (“rule”). In its most basic sense, it is government of, by and for the people. It is an idea that has been cherished by many people throughout history and promoted by the United Nations. It is a concept that encompasses the principles of human rights, including freedom of expression and assembly, and good governance.

The defining feature of a democracy is popular sovereignty – in Abraham Lincoln’s words, “government of the people, by the people, for the people”. This means that people are guaranteed to be involved in running their own countries through regular, free and fair elections. Democracy also entails the principle of the majority rule, in which decisions are made by the largest group of voters. However, it must be emphasized that this does not mean that the majority’s will is absolute or infallible, and that there is always room for improvement.

A democracy also entails equality and the rule of law. It means that women and men have equal rights and that all people are protected from discrimination, including sex, religion and ethnicity. It requires that decision-makers are accountable to the citizens, and that laws are not used to discriminate against anyone. A democratic system must be fair and free of corruption.

It must also guarantee the right to freedom of speech and the press, allowing citizens to express their opinions freely without fear of reprisal or violence. Moreover, democracy must allow for the peaceful assembly of citizens, allowing them to hold protests against issues they believe are important. This is the very essence of the concept, and this can be seen in the so-called Arab Spring, when masses of people took to the streets to demonstrate their dissatisfaction with their governments.

Lastly, it is necessary that decisions are taken on the basis of the broadest possible consensus, ensuring the involvement of a wide range of interests and viewpoints. This is why, in a democracy, the government should be composed of many political parties and coalitions. This is the essence of democracy and this is why it is different from a dictatorship, where one person or a small group of individuals has total control over all aspects of politics.

While democracies are widely considered to be the preferred form of government, they are not the only model for a country’s political system. There are parliamentary, presidential and federal democracies, proportional and majoritarian voting systems, and even monarchies that have democratic features. It would be impossible to measure the many diverse democracies in the world with a single yardstick and to compare them to each other.

It is also not easy to measure the effects of democracy on development. This is due to the fact that democracy involves a complex set of institutions, and it can be difficult to study their impact on different phenomena, such as inequality or poverty, in detail. Furthermore, it is difficult to measure democracy within a country because of the differences in electoral procedures and institutions that can vary widely between different countries. As a result, the academic literature on democracy has largely focused on cross-country comparisons.

Is the US a Democracy?

democracy in america

Whether or not one accepts the American presidential system as a model of democracy, it is undeniable that it has serious flaws. The Electoral College, winner-takes-all rule for state legislative elections, the political party machinery and money politics are among these flaws that undermine the basic principles of democracy.

The US has also frequently used democracy as a pretext for meddling in the internal affairs of other countries, undermining world peace and stability, as well as social tranquility in other countries. This makes people around the world wonder if the US is really a democracy.

As the world struggles with issues like climate change, food and water shortages, poverty and inequality, the US is in a desperate need to conduct some soul-searching, especially about its own democratic status. Many US allies, including those in the EU, regard its democracy as a “shattered has-been” that needs major reforms.

Even though the American public is disillusioned with US politicians, it seems that few have a sense of responsibility for promoting reforms. The polarized political atmosphere and the party-centric focus of the two major parties prevent the formation of coalitions that can push forward reforms. Instead, the focus is on re-election and winning big votes in the upcoming elections.

The problem is that the American governing process has been hijacked by interest groups and capital. The principle of “government of the people, by the people and for the people” has been lost. Politics has become more like a scene in a Hollywood movie, with public pledges of dedication to the people but behind-the-scene deals. Political infighting, veto power and the influence of money are all making it impossible for quality governance to be delivered.

One of the biggest problems is the fact that, although the founding fathers enshrined the principle of equality in the Constitution, racism has never been completely eradicated. The COVID-19 crisis was a clear example of how the country’s inequalities and social injustice can affect the nation’s ability to manage a crisis.

The partisan divisions have even spread to the judicial system, where the Supreme Court has become nothing more than a battleground for the control of the country’s constitutional institutions. As the institution that has shaped the Constitution and American society for 160 years, it is important for the judicial system to retain its independence from partisanship. Otherwise, the US will continue to be seen as a threat to other nations rather than as a pillar of international stability and peace. In short, if America wants the world to believe in its self-proclaimed “democracy”, it should pragmatically reassess its diplomatic methods and make changes accordingly. Only then will the world have reason to trust the US as a model of democracy.

The Truth About Blocking Distractions


Freedom is an important concept in our world. It represents a basic human right that we all want and should be able to enjoy. However, there are many different definitions of freedom, and it’s not always easy to know what the true meaning is. One of the most common definitions is freedom from constraint, or the ability to act as you choose. However, this definition does not take into account the fact that there are always constraints imposed on everyone and everything. Even if we don’t realize it, the world around us is constantly restricting our freedom, and it’s up to us to discipline our actions accordingly.

A good example of this is multi-tasking. Everyone is convinced they can watch YouTube while writing a report, but in reality, you’re more likely to spend 3x – 10x longer completing the report than if you were simply focusing on it. This is because it’s impossible to properly focus on two things at once. This is one of the many reasons why Freedom is such a useful tool: it allows you to block websites and apps for specific periods of time, so you can focus on your work without being distracted.

The process of signing up to Freedom is fairly simple, and the site doesn’t ask you for a credit card or any other financial information. Once you sign up, you’re taken to the dashboard where you can select when you want to start blocking and which devices you want to use it on. You can start a session straight away, schedule a block-time for later, or set it up to recur at a certain interval.

One of the best features of Freedom is that it syncs across all your devices, so you’ll be able to block distractions on any computer, tablet or phone you have access to. This is great because it means the same addictive app that was stealing your attention on your laptop will be blocked on all of your other devices too, and you’ll be able to concentrate on the task at hand.

Another cool feature of Freedom is the option to lock your blocks, which will prevent you from deleting them or exiting the app until the blocking period is over. This is a great way to build your self-discipline and stop yourself from giving in to temptation. If you do happen to accidentally exit Freedom before your block-time is over, you can contact support and they’ll get back to you within 30 minutes or less. This is a great feature that really helps to boost your productivity. Freedom also offers a range of other cool extras to help you become more productive, such as ambient noise, an auto-pause and the ability to customize your own productivity playlist. This makes it one of the best tools to help you achieve your goals and stay focused. This is especially important in this day and age where so many of our distractions come from online.