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Laws differ from society to society and even from region to region; as such, they serve to shape the code of expected behaviors and even the values of the people who live there.

Laws also serve as a means of settling conflict between people. When differing values or codes of...

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Laws differ from society to society and even from region to region; as such, they serve to shape the code of expected behaviors and even the values of the people who live there.

Laws also serve as a means of settling conflict between people. When differing values or codes of conduct create disputes, laws serve to mediate a path of recourse and allow both parties a path for continuing together in society with resolution.

Having laws is vital in keeping society from collapsing. As people agree to abide by the laws of the land, they are able to exist peacefully and without falling into a society of chaos, where "survival of the fittest" and "each man for himself" become norms of behavior. By alleviating this type of structure, people have the mental and physical freedom to pursue their talents, engage in noble careers, volunteer to help those who have differing abilities, and seek higher forms of education. All of this is only possible in a society of structure and where people feel reasonably secure. Laws bring such security.

Laws are also used to reflect and to create social changes. As the values of a society collectively change, so do its laws, but this takes the collective support of the people whom the changes in law will affect.

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Laws exist to provide for an orderly society. Without laws, the strong would terrorize the weak and no one would be safe. Both secular and religious societies have laws. Religious societies have laws based on their religious texts. The Ten Commandments provided a set of laws for the Israelite people. Secular societies have laws based on personal safety, civil rights, and managing precious resources.

According to Locke, laws exist to preserve man's natural rights of life, liberty, and property. Thomas Hobbes believed that man is naturally selfish and needed strict laws in order to function. People need laws in order to successfully coexist. While philosophers have differed on who should provide these laws, whether it be God, a monarch, or the people themselves, it is impossible to find a civilization that did not have some set of laws and consequences for breaking those laws.  

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Laws exist to protect the rights of the members of a society and to ensure that they do not have to protect those rights through their own actions.

Philosophers like John Locke argued that without laws, human societies would be brutal places.  They argued that a society without laws would be one in which individual people only had as many rights as they could protect.  In other words, you only had the right to life if you could keep others from killing you and you only had the right to your property if you could keep others from stealing it.

Locke says that societies devised laws and governments as a way to get themselves out of this state of nature.  The people would give up some of their rights to the government.  In return, the government would protect their major rights like life, liberty and property.

In this view, laws exist in order to protect our most fundamental human rights.  Because we have laws and ways to enforce them, we all have rights even if we would be too weak to protect those rights in a state of nature.

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