What Is Law
The governing body in primitive societies typically enforces the useful traditions that are widely practiced in the community, while those practices that are novel or harmful fall into disuse or are discouraged. Much of INTERNATIONAL LAW is a form of primitive unwritten law. For centuries the RULES OF WAR governing hostilities between belligerents consisted of a body of unwritten law. While some of these rules have been codified by international bodies such as the UNITED NATIONS, many have not. For example, retaliatory reprisals against acts of TERRORISM by a foreign government are still governed by unwritten customs in the international community. Each nation also retains discretion in formulating a response to the aggressive acts of a neighboring state.
For example, if Congress enacted legislation that mandated that all motor vehicle emissions be reduced by 30% by 2010 and authorized the EPA to determine how to achieve such a goal, the EPA would write specific regulations to ensure compliance with the law. These regulations would then have the full force of federal law behind them. States have similar administrative agencies.