Caesar Augustus Law’s Unintended Consequences

Why Christmas? unintended consequences
Unintended Consequences in Our World

Caesar Augustus Law’s unintended consequences

Luke 2:1. In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.

Law’s unintended consequences

It is always a concern of law makers that there might be unintended consequences of their decrees. They might intend that the health and welfare of the land be improved only to find out a consequence is that a new danger is introduced. Most of our legislators’ work is to fix the unintended consequences of their tax laws. At the same time they spend too much time burnishing their own legacies for future generations.

The intended consequence

The intended consequence of Caesar Augustus’ decree was to raise taxes and to remind him and future generations of the length, breath and greatness of his reign as ruler of the western world. What would the conversation be like if someone went back in time and tried to explain to him that few remember that he arrived in Rome when it was brick and when he left it all in marble because his Rome is now in ruin? Explain to him that all most people of earth remember of his Pax Romana and all of this other law making actions is this little one. Explain that no one remembers the results of the census or how much tax money was raised.

Moving a Pregnant Unwed Peasant Girl

What most people only remember of Caesar Augustus is that this one decree unintended consequent was to force an unwed Jewish peasant girl to move about 111 kilometers in the ninth month of her pregnancy – from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It would have taken the threat of a Roman Legion to do it as well. From personal experience, I know that it is impossible to persuade a pregnant woman to travel more than 10 miles from her preferred place to give birth. It would have been against her obstetrician orders.

Our Unintended Consequences

This could be a lesson of all of us. None of us know the unintended consequences of our words or actions. It could be a smile or a kind word, or a good act. Or it could be the off handed remark, the indifferent look, or the omission to act. We have no way of knowing. We can only go by the unintended consequences of others in regards to ourselves. We need to spend less time burnishing our future greatness and more time in the here and now.

Ken Strongman, MediatorAbout the Author: Ken Strongman ( has years of experience and a growing national reputation as a mediator and arbitrator.  He has successfully resolved more than a thousand disputes in the fields of construction defects, real estate, intellectual property, and employment.  He is also a Mediator and Arbitrator for FINRA.

© 2020 Ken Strongman. All Rights Reserved. Please do not copy or repost without permission.