How to #AbolishIce and Other Lessons from Ancient Iceland

  
0:00
-1:09:16

You might not think the laws of ancient society can be applied in the modern American context. But, it was a society without a king. The formal government was established by having annual meetings for freemen who negotiated with each other until they came up with a set of laws to govern the land. The more curious aspect: they had no police force to enforce these laws, yet they had arbiters, in a court, that kept these laws enforced. Another curiosity is that the Icelandic people kept an oral tradition of sagas, which can be thought of as sordid soap operas of various encounters with others. While in most cultures, we have ample diaries, letters of the nobility, we know very little about the peasant. But, here, in a way, we can get the true “people's history.”

This curious society may teach Americans how to be more Democratic and to address the issues facing us. Today, Professor William Ian Miller, a law professor at the University of Michigan joins us to talk about this curious society.

You might not think the laws of ancient society can be applied in the modern American context. But, it was a society without a king. The formal government was established by having annual meetings for freemen who negotiated for their idea of a best government.