Law as a subset of protocol

Is law a subset of protocol?

Taking the definition that a protocol is a structured process that organises participants’ behaviour in the interest of achieving a collective goal then a system of laws (and corresponding mechanisms of enforcement) seem like a subset of protocol.

I was listening to Louis CK’s reflections on Murder:

Some choice fragments:

“The law against murder is the #1 thing preventing murder”
“If murder was legal, there would be so much murder”

Louis goes on to indulge an alternative universe in which murder is merely a misdemeanour… All idle musings, all true.

One reflex I find myself developing as I dig more into summer of protocols is imagining a human system in the absence of a particular protocol (e.g. driving with no convention or enforcement of ‘sidedness’)

1 Like

I also like the formulation of

“Law + Enforcement = Protocol”

Many societies share a baseline of laws (littering, smoking, ‘jay walking’) but vary widely in the rigor of their enforcement. This nets a different collective goal. Some societies have loose enforcement and high personal freedom, while others have tight enforcement and generalised compliance.