All about Begman Law!
The Unbreakable Laws
While the Law in Begma is often considered a playground for those who do not have the talent for Engineering, this does not mean that Begman jurisprudence is an entirely mutable construct. Indeed, there are four laws that are considered Unbreakable, and no amount of legal gymnastics will allow one who breaks them to escape his dire fate. Inventions that violate these laws are known as Infernal Devices, and are subject to immediate confiscation by the Government if they are discovered. The laws, and the rationale behind them, are as follows:
- No Mind Control. Begma prides itself on the right of its citizens to Free Thought, and any Infernal Device that removes a man's Free Will is abominable in the eyes of any Right-Thinking Citizen. Mind Control is a form of Slavery and Bondage, and cannot be allowed.
- No Artificial Life. While many Artificers have pursued the goal of a Mechanical Man capable of Free Will, none are known to have succeeded, and the attempts are ruthlessly suppressed. Should a Mechanical Man be successfully invented, the Crisis of Conscience that would arise could tear Begman Society apart. Either the Mechanical Man would be subjugated to Humanity, in which case it is Slavery and Bondage, or else the Mechanical Man would be superior to Humanity, in which case the Overthrow of the Government by the Mechanized Menace is an inevitability.
- No Instant Death. While the tradition of Weapons of Power for Peaceful Purposes is a longstanding one, such inventions are always intended for the Betterment of Man through the Careful Application of Destructive Energies. However, when an Infernal Device is constructed with no other purpose than the Cessation of Human Life, it is in Defiance of the Rightful Law of Begma and must be confiscated for the Good of the Nation.
- No Unlimited Power. Power is Work. Work is Labor. Labor is Industry. And Industry is the Lifeblood of the Nation. A source of Unlimited Power means there is no need for the Working Classes, which will foment Dissatisfaction, Sloth, and Rebellion, and cause the Ruin of our Society.
The Begman Safety Inspectors
Who, then, will protect Begma from the mad Artificers who craft these Infernal Devices? Why, the Corps of Safety Inspectors, of course! Informally known as "Regulators", the Safety Inspectors are men who have been exquisitely trained in investigation, law, and personal defense. Their sole task is to investigate violations of the Four Laws, capture the Artificers responsible, and either confiscate or destroy the Infernal Devices. The unofficial motto of the Safety Inspectors is 'One man, one Mad,' referring to their slang for such illegal Artificers.
- The Municipal Hygiene and Water Act of 274 - made hot water a civil right for citizens of Begma City. In practice, this means that all but the poorest districts have hot and cold running water in every household, and the truly poor still have communal access.
- Foreign Experimentation Act of 271 - Defined what Begmans abroad were and were not allowed to experiment with, to prevent International Misunderstandings and Damage to the Begman Reputation. It is an Act more honoured in the breach than the observance.
- The Immigrants and Immigration (Census) Act, 308 - Puts a duty on Harbourmasters to gather basic information for central tabulation, regarding the goings to and forth from Begman ports. The details of why this is needed are a little obscure in the Act, but it appears to be to do with keeping Tax records up to date.