The old clarion cry of law and order demands the acceptance of law as the necessary precursor to an ordered society. If one operates under this theory, then fear of the law and the pain it can inflict on law breakers is the motivating force that restrains all citizens into orderly conduct. The law implies punishment. Punishment causes pain. Pain is feared, so citizens behave themselves to avoid pain. By threatening and creating pain we establish order. This is human history and the theory of human governance in a nutshell.
Out of the law and order theory we derive its corollary- the need for legal agents with the power to inflict the necessary pain. These agents are the intimate interface between the average citizen and the human government which attempts to bring order.
So if we distill the theory of law and order down, we arrive at this conclusion- order arises when pain is sufficient. If order breaks down, more pain is necessary, pain applied through the legal agents.
This connection between law and societal order creates a weapon, just like a gun, which can be used to defend or oppress. To the extent the law becomes oppressive to a significant degree, the law fosters resistance and chaos. This chaos is the result both of the actions of the oppressed and the response of the legal agents. The one acerbates the other in a vicious cycle.
The real problem with seeking order from law is the very nature of the law. The law is coercive, i.e. seeks to force compliance through fear and pain. This necessary evil is applied to counter what is perceived as a greater evil, a disordered society. So law and order pits one evil against another. As in all such situations, the moral ambiguity involved invariably creates disorder. This is the history of law enforcement, warfare, and humanly inspired coercion going back to Adam.
The fundamentals of Jesus addressed this very point. The human conscience inspired by universal love is what creates peace, which is simply another words for order. Jesus rejected the law with its enforcement by human agents as necessary and proper.
Yet, the church today is the loudest and most influential proponent of old fashioned law and order. That is especially so if the law can bring order in alignment with church doctrine and its desire for continued cultural dominance.
If we ever attempt to be true followers of Christ, the words law and order and what that implies will have to be rejected. The Apostle Paul hammered on this point, admonishing his hearers to leave the law and embrace grace or love instead. The church has narrowly applied Paul’s warnings to the religious law of Judaism, but the very principle behind Paul’s words is the fact that all law systems, religious or civil, are corrupt and corrupting in their enforcement. How could it be otherwise when they are administered by fallible humans using tools like threats, fear, and suffering.