This is a long article. Over 9,000 words. It rambles in places. I chase down rabbit trails to the right and to the left. It includes some solid information and also some humorous anecdotes. It’s undisciplined and in need of at least two more proof-readings.
Nevertheless, I’ve been fooling around with this article for about two weeks, and I have to draw the line somewhere. I have other fish to fry. More, I believe the ideas expressed in this article may be so fundamental and so potentially powerful, that I’ve got to publish now—even if the text is not as clear as I might otherwise hope.
I think the implications of “Read is Guessing” are important. This may be one of the most important concepts I’ve ever presented. I hope you’ll take time to read and consider this article.
In the past five years, I’ve posted 23 articles that deal with “definitions” on this blog. You can find a list of those articles here: http://adask.wordpress.com/category/definitions/. Definitions aren’t simply useful or even important to the law, they are the essence of the law.
You can’t have law without words. You can’t have words without definitions. Definitions are the “sub-atomic particles” of meaning that turn a mere sound or collection of letters into a “word”. If you want to detonate the legal equivalent of an “atomic bomb” in the courts, start tinkering with definitions.
As I pointed out in A.D. 2011, “Definitions are the Law of the Law”.
As former President Bill Clinton once observed concerning the meaning of a particular law, “It all depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” In other words, if you want to know what a law says . . . if you want to know what a law is . . . you must first grasp the definitions of even the most trivial and innocuous words used to declare that law.