How do the law and government affect me?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The law and the government do not always affect each person in the same way.  Some people are affected more and others less.  However, the law and government do affect us all in some common ways.

Most importantly, the law and government affect us by allowing us to live in a society where we are not related to most other people and we generally do not even know who they are.  Without law and government, we rely on the goodwill of others to keep us safe.  This is only possible in a small community where everyone is connected in some way.  In larger towns and cities, there is a need for law and government.  Law and government make sure (or at least make it much more likely) that other people will respect our right to our life, our liberty, and our property.  They protect us and allow us to live a relatively safe life.

The other side of this, however, is that the law and the government constrain our actions.  In return for government protecting our life, liberty, and property, we have to give up some of our freedom to act as we wish.  Government and law affect us all by limiting what we may and may not do.  Because of the government and the law, I cannot drive my car as fast as I wish.  I cannot dispose of my garbage by throwing it in a vacant lot.  I have to obey all of the laws the government lays down.  We are all affected in this way as well.

Finally, some of us are more affected than others by government.  Many people work for the government and thus owe their living to the government and the law.  Some people work in industries that are highly regulated by the government.  They have to be much more aware of the laws than other people do.  In these ways, the government and the laws affect us all in some similar ways, but there are also individual differences in the extent of these effects.

thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As an eNotes educator not personally acquainted with you, I cannot say what aspects of law and government affect you personally; that is something only you would know.

Laws affect every person living in a country. Criminal laws, such as those prohibiting murder or theft, ensure penalties for those who violate the law. Laws also regulate the use of various substances—the use and sale of alcohol and tobacco is restricted—and various other substances such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana are either illegal or legal only in specific areas under specific conditions. Laws also regulate many professions; it is illegal to practice medicine without a license, for example.

Governments affect the lives of citizens through the laws they make. Governments also create policies which may create a social safety net and minimize income inequality or which may increase inequality and favor rent-seeking. Governments collect taxes which pay for many common goods such as roads, sanitation, fire departments, policing, and infrastructure. 

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