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The Metaphor of Lawmaking

Module by: John Bosco. E-mail the author

     
A metaphor helpful to understand the process of making a law is the image of the hands of a Lawmaker grabbing conduct flowing from a Source to a Recipient through circumstances. Hands grabbing conduct - picture them in your mind.

     
A "hands on" Lawmaker grabs conduct, pushes it from a Source and pulls it to a Recipient through circumstances. A "hands on" Lawmaker interferes and does not leave a flow of conduct alone.

     
A "hands off" Lawmaker does not grab conduct as it flows from a Source to a Recipient through circumstances. There is no pushing or pulling. A "hands off" Lawmaker leaves a flow of conduct alone.

     
A "hands on" Lawmaker regulates; a "hands off" Lawmaker deregulates. Commands are "hands on"; push and pull are present. Permissions are "hands off"; push and pull are absent. A duty pushes; a right pulls; a no-duty (a privilege) does not push; a no-right does not pull.

John Bosco
Project Director
The Legal Literacy Project

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