Occam’s Razor and the Reformation of Law

John C. Rankin (September 27, 2007)

The term, “Occam’s Razor” (a 14th century philosophical device) means to “reduce needless redundancies.”

As applied to law, Occam’s razor cuts out all the dishonest complexities which have grown over the years, which self-serving lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, business and ideological lobbyists, unions and others insert for their own special advantage. It restores law to its godly purpose to serve unalienable rights for all people equally, to multiply both justice and mercy, and to serve religious, political and economic liberty. It restores law to simple constitutional and statutory purposes, devolving all political decision making power to the most local level possible. Only biblical ethics, fulfilled in Jesus the Messiah, can accomplish this — namely thus far, in my new book, The Six Pillars of Honest Politics [see johnrankinbooks.com], reducing Connecticut law from some 17,000 pages down to 33, and federal law from 48,000 down to 25. The work on Connecticut law can serve as a model for all other states. This will also dramatically cut the size of government so that government can so what it is meant to do well, and dramatically reduce taxes and set the marketplace free for maximum job creation and prosperity for the most people possible.

For example here, in the Declaration of Rights in the revised Connecticut Constitution, in keeping the original language and structure of the document as much as possible while simplifying it, I bring in two crucial elements:

  1. When people form a social compact, all are equal in rights, and none are entitled to special or hereditary privileges from the community; all people are made in God’s image, and are to be protected by due process of law for the entire natural duration of their lives.
  2. The social compact is dependent on the prior integrity of man and woman in marriage insofar as attainable, and on the fullest presence possible of both father and mother in the raising of children.

In the first item above, I employ one of only several mentions of God, actually one less time than the current Constitution, but crucially so in terms of the only basis for an equal humanity. In a 1996 Mars Hill Forum at Dartmouth College with Ann Stone, chairman of Republicans for Choice, she agreed to the last clause in the first point above. This language does not force contemporary political pro-life language, but goes deeper to the constitutional language and celebrates a level playing field for a debate over what “entire natural duration” means, something precluded by the 1973 U.S. Roe v. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing human abortion. The president of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Nadine Strossen, in a 1997 Mars Hill Forum, also agrees with me that if we can show legally that human life begins at conception, then such life deserves constitutional protection. The way to do this is to have a level playing field for an honest debate over “entire natural duration” and the biology of a haploid spermatozoon fertilizing a haploid ovum to produce the biologically whole life with its genetic uniqueness as a diploid one-celled zygote. This is conclusive biology. Let’s have the real debate, finally. The only way abortion rights partisans can oppose this is by opposing a level playing field for all ideas to be heard equally, which is what they have always done. At the deeper level, as I have ministered across years, we need to address the male chauvinism reality that drives most abortion decisions, and such ministry is foundational to having the real political debate prove fruitful.

In the second item above, an inclusive statement on the social foundation and health of man and woman in marriage, and the well-being of children is in place. The historical and sociological evidence is conclusive. By the same token, this is a positive statement which does not impinge on private associations which otherwise do not harm the life, liberty and property of others. The social compact of man and woman in marriage has always been deeply assumed in English Common Law and the antecedents to U.S. Constitutional and State laws, so that there was no need to mention it. This is no longer the case, so now this language, along with the language of “entire natural duration,” needs to be included in the rights sections of federal and state law. Let’s invite our dissenters to a truly level playing field of political debate and let the facts emerge. Truth will be served.

Thus, the best way to address the brokenness of human abortion and minister to the pain of homosexual struggles in the legal arena is not by reacting to its pains, but by proactively presenting the true and dignifying foundation which protects life as God’s gift.

Here is another example that could have profound implications for the rule of law:

  1. In the Common Courts, power is vested in committees of common judges; seven members in each committee, elected by the local municipalities annually; with as many such committees as each municipality sees fit; and with rules of procedure set by the same; these committees have the power, in non-felonious matters, and upon the written consent of all parties to a given complaint, to resolve issues so that they need not go through the regular court system; the location for the complaint is the town or city of the defendant’s residency or business; for defendants who live and work outside the state, the location reverts to the town or city of the plaintiff’s residence or business; the committees of common judges guarantee a public hearing and resolution within six weeks of filing, with all decisions being final, and with no appeals in the regular courts [24].
  2. A statewide Common Court board exists to settle issues between the local Common Courts, including jurisdictional issues and concerns for mutual cooperation, and consists of thirteen members elected annually by the Common Court members, and sets its own protocol.