Laws in The US
In the US, it turns out that you don’t need to look far to find some pretty ridiculous laws. Most of these laws are left-over from many, many years ago. Like the example above, it wasn’t uncommon for a flagman to be required when cars first came out. I read someplace that was because horses had never seen a car before and would panic.
OK, I stand corrected, that’s just goofy no matter which century you live in.
I suppose that answers the “why” question: They are just little criminals.
If you know about a completely crazy law where you live, tell us about it in the comments below.
Laws in The UK
This dates back to 1313, in times of huge political instability in England. Not relevant today, you may suggest – but bearing in mind how much instability there is at the present moment, maybe a good time to remind that buffoon B. Johnson, should he get the top job soon, that it is still illegal, and to leave his armour at home.
London only, this is the Metropolitan Police Act of 1854, section 60, subsection 3. Apparently, there is a partial dispensation for doormats, which may be beaten, but only before 8am. It is difficult to think of a punishment sufficiently cruel to deal with this most heinous of crimes.
The self-governing dependency of Jersey, my home for over three decades, has only relatively recently repealed this law. Previously, every club on the island would be obliged to stop the music at midnight on a Saturday night, cover the dance floor with tables and chairs, and then continue with the music. You could get as drunk as a skunk, but you were not allowed to dance on a Sunday anywhere in the island.
Laws in RU
Peter the Great was truly a great reformer but he was doing his reforms the typical Russian way: by force.
So here’s the example how he was dragging his country into the enlightened West.
This weird law was informally called the ‘Beard law’, adopted in August, 29 1699.
It was officially titled
In fact, it wasn’t really weird by nature because it was all about getting more money into the budget. The law wasn’t popular at all: almost 100 per cent of the Russian society were fiercely against it.
Still, the Czar’s will did prevail. Only three people in the country were officially allowed to keep their beards, including the head of the Russian Orthodox church, the Patriarch, without paying a fine. Plus, of course, the Orthodox priests were OK to have a beard.
They didn’t know how/how much money to collect but finally, years, later, it was fixed on 50 roubles per year which was a rather big amount. If you kept your beard and paid the money, you should have kept your traditional cloth, too, it was a must.
The weirdest thing about this law is the myth that Peter was cutting off the beards himself. Though he is depicted doing it on the painting, it was just a myth. He never did it himself.
This law was finally terminated by Catherine the Great decades later, in 1772. But it was much later when Alexander III, in 1881 – 1894, became the first bearded Russian Emperor since the law was adopted.