Unlike conventional moral standards and other social rules, laws can be deliberately laid down and changed by specified procedures. It therefore seems reasonable to think of laws as issuing from or adopted by lawmakers who are ordinary human beings. Since laws tell us what must or must not be done, and since there is some temptation to understand all laws on the same pattern, it is natural to think of them as either commands or prohibitions. This is indeed a traditional view.
David B. Lyons,
Logic and Coercion in Bentham's Theory of Law
Cornell Law Review
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