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rojo's avatar

Isn't pretty much everything illegal? (details inside)

Asked by rojo (24176points) April 22nd, 2015

I was in a muni court today and saw the definition of illegal taped to the computer at each workstation so that the public could see it. I looked it up when I got back and found that matched word for word the definition found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

to whit – ILLEGAL: not according to or authorized by law

The Free Dictionary says – ILLEGAL: adjective actionable, ... not according to law, not allowed, not approved, not authorized by law,....”

So to my way of thinking, if it is not specifically approved or authorized by law then it is, by definition (these two anyway), Illegal . Who knew we were all criminals.

Do you agree?

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15 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

To a degree yes.

jaytkay's avatar

The signs are silly and misleading and wrong and dictionary definitions are not law. You can’t be convicted of violating a dictionary definition.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ Some people hinge everything on what the dictionary says it is.

Uasal's avatar

Dictionaries are flawed.

Someone cannot be convicted unless there is a charge against them. The charge must refer to the law that was broken. If there is no law broken, there was no crime.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central to a lot of people and I mean a lot, the world is only black and white, no grey what so ever.

Berserker's avatar

I suppose the definition of legal covers the rest of what illegal doesn’t cover, and which is isn’t stated, specifically, as illegal. If illegal doesn’t mention taking a shit as illegal, then it’s legal’s job to make sure it is legal to take a dump.

Afos22's avatar

And people think they have freedom.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Afos22 Exactly ,exactly!!! It’s just an illusion.

LuckyGuy's avatar

No wonder there are problems interpreting the Bible, Quran, Torah, or whatever ancient tome dictates the rules for your particular religion.

josie's avatar

Not a silly assertion.

Currently, the government and lots of you folks on this site too, believe that all the wealth produced in America is really the property of a collective treasury, and that the State owns it, and has a moral prerogative to determine who gets what share of it.

So it follows that a reasonable extension of that principle is to declare that everything you do is potentially illegal unless the State determines you are entitled to an exemption.

It’s all sort of the same thing.

CugelTheClueless's avatar

From the US Constitution:

Article the eleventh… The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

So in our system, if the law doesn’t explicitly say you can’t do something, then you can. It is “authorized by law” in that sense.

Stinley's avatar

I give you the common phrase ‘There’s no law against it’.

There is no way a government could put in writing every single thing we are allowed to do. It must make laws based on what’s not allowed since that is a limited list of things rather than having to make a crazy list of anything and everything ever.

rojo's avatar

But that is not what the definition says @Stinley

jaytkay's avatar

The definition is meaningless. It’s just words on paper (or the Internet).

Esedess's avatar

Nothing’s illegal if you’re brave enough.

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