“They have but few laws…” From Thomas More’s Utopia

They have but few laws, and such is their constitution that they need not many. They very much condemn other nations, whose laws, together with the commentaries on them, swell up so many volumes…they think it an unreasonable thing to oblige men to obey a body of laws that are both such a bulk and so dark as not to be read and understood by every one of the subjects.

I chose this quote because it describes a society that is so well kept, it does not need books of complicated laws to govern it. In theory, laws are created to keep people in control and avoid chaos. Therefore, there is no need for extensive laws in the utopia because people follow the system set up in the utopia and those who do fall through the cracks are punished accordingly. The utopian society is meant to work with everyone caring for each other– wives serve their husbands, children serve their parents, and the younger always serve the elders. Furthermore, theft is not common because “there is no reason for giving denial to any person, since there is such plenty of everything among them.” Lastly, people are happy and have no reason to protest since ” the chief end of the constitution is… to allow people as much time as necessary for the improvement of their minds, in which they think the happiness of life consists.”

 In the utopia, there are few laws and they are clear to all its citizens. I would assume that More specifically stated that the utopia “think it an unreasonable thing to oblige men to obey a body of laws” that are both extensive, dark and confusing because of how he viewed his own society in England. Even today, there are thousands of laws governing society in the US that many of us do not fully understand and will probably never fully read.