Babylon, 1772BC, about tea time.
King Hammurabi is explaining the idea of laws to several learned persons.
Hammurabi: So these laws will regulate how we go about our business in society, backed by the coercive power of the state.
Learned Person 1: Hang on. These laws seem to create a causal and moral domain of their own distinct from mere human intercourse. What if they go wrong?
Learned Person 2: Yes, yes! And what if they act against society? Or are written to be evil.
Hammurabi: I’m your king. I would never write bad laws.
Learned Person 1: Yes but suppose a bad king took over. What then? We need something to protect society from these “laws” if they go wrong.
Learned Person 3: Indeed. Most indeededly so.
Hammurabi: Well alright. I’ll add some laws governing the creation and application of laws. That way, laws can be used to govern laws.
Learned Person 3: But that would be like asking the wolf to account for his consumption of lambs!
Learned Person 1: Yes I really don’t see how using laws to alleviate the potential harm of laws works. That’s just circular logic.
Learned Person 4: Yes. What next? Perpetual motion? You’re just begging the question.
Hammurabi: I’m your ****ing king! Shut up and agree with me!
Learned Person 3: If we shut up how are we to agree with you? What do your “laws” say about that?
Learned Person 2: Yeah. There should be laws against people like you…