Often enough, laws respond to the serious needs and desires of a society. At other times, society will render the law essentially ineffective because it goes against the grain of society’s moral direction. Prohibition, as well as laws against abortion, fornication, and homosexual acts, all constitute other laws driven by society’s moral compass. “A law that fails to take into account the social ethos of the community it is supposed to guide risks being ignored and hence, remaining a dead letter, incapable of inducing change.”
Beliefs about life and death, good luck and misfortune, prosperity and poverty—changes that normally occur as societies undergo periods of profound transformation—are often prompted top down by colonial hegemony, or nudged by missionary proselytizing. Beliefs may evolve as a result of better education and health practices, or simply as an adjunct to the inevitable influence of globalization in communication and commerce.
In developing nations, a palpable tension develops if the “dominant group . . . enact[s] government policies that discriminate implicitly or incidentally against non-dominant traditions.” A society can ignore these problems and tensions, recognize them and refrain from proposing a solution, allow conflict resolution between groups to take its course, or enforce new norms with the force of law and punish offenders. . .