I just read this line in my accounting textbook:
...some issues may be resolved by reference to the application of general priniciples rather than the generation of further rules. (Accounting, an Introduction )
These words are as true for law in general as they are for accounting practice. The United States legal code is so monstrously huge, it is a safe bet that nearly anyone is alive, ever was alive, or ever will be alive is a lawbreaker in some way. And why this sad state of affairs?
We have no idea what the general principles of law should be.
Therefore, we just crank out one rule after another, with the certainty that One Big Law, the Law of Unintended Consequences, will always kick in and kick some poor shmuck in the teeth.
I have much more to say on this, but I'm behind in my studies...