Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Forgotten Purchase

As followers of this trail of chips  might have detected, we chipsters are devotées of the Middle Ages and adamantaly reject the canards of  certain vituperative Frenchmen and  the propagandists of capitalism. 

There is no question that history has witnessed a steady and progressive march of technological progress of which our Age is the latest beneficiary.  However, the chrono-centric notion that we have advanced in our concepts of humanity is so highly dubious as to be considered false.

Equally false, in our view, is the notion indoctrinated into impressionable minds that the Middle Ages were a time of brutish, barbarism.  In our view, a subtler, finer appreciation of the paradoxes of existence permeates medieval consciousness than the matter-bound modern mind set.

We recently came across another Nugget of Interest that corroborates our bias.

Laws of King Canute (995-1035)

“Merciful punishments shall be determined upon for the public good; and the handiwork of God and the purchase which He made at a great price, shall not be destroyed for trivial offences”  (Leges Regis Cnuti, Inst. Leg. Secularium II. De Misericordia in Judicio Habenda, given in Thorpe's Ancient Laws and Institutes of England, (1840) pp. 528-529 [Trans. per. P.H. Sawyer, From Roman Britain to Norman England, (1998, 2d Ed.) ISBN-10: 0415178940, at p. 190.].)

Magna Carta (1215)

“For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood. (Id, (1215) Art. 20.)

Laws of Chief Justice Rhenquist (1980)

"The length of the sentence actually imposed is purely a matter of legislative prerogative.  This is not to say that a proportionality principle would not come into play ... if a legislature made overtime parking a felony punishable by life imprisonment."  Rummel v. Estelle (1980) 445 U.S. 263  274 and fn 11.)

But for an unsignaled lane change?  Well, in that  case...

We would not be so foolish as to think that the Middle Ages were an Age of Perfection but they were a time when men had not forgotten perfection.  Today's jurists thrash about in the swamp of expediencies and, like Rhenquist,  consider "the purchase which He made at a great price" to be an arbitrary "subjective value" which cannot be relied upon in the brave new world of realjur.

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