... but it will foreseeably be the case that minorities/ruled will have different strategies for success, and hence some of the laws will restrict or enslave them in ways that they do not consent. Hence it will be in their self interest to disobey the law if they can get away with it.That made me laugh, but it is a decent analogy/counter-factual. If cattle were sapient and moral creatures, they would hire lawyers for the humane (human-like) treatment of cattle. There would be class-action lawsuits. They might even revolt against being forced into living for some kind of a collective with some supposedly "higher" purpose. They would reject self-sacrifice for the "greater good." But that doesn't mean that all law has to be law that always or only maximizes an ultimately-ineffable notion like "greater good."
For a simple example, take humans and cattle. If the cattle had their way, they'd probably vouch for: no fences, humans/sheep dogs guiding them to the best grass, more land devoted to grass/hay, no wolves, and no slaughterhouses. Humans on the other hand have different preferences.
Laws are most shaped by the preferences of the most powerful/forceful. Potentially differing groups of entities can abide by different sets of laws within the same geological area. If there are contradictions between the laws between groups, there may be some sort of use of force/domination by the more powerful.But this -- that laws are shaped by unwieldy rulers in a social context of tilted power asymmetry -- was dealt with by Plato 2500 years ago [conversation between Socrates and Thrasymachus; ~~500 BC]:
Listen, then, he said; I proclaim that justice is nothing else than the interest of the stronger. And now why do you not me? But of course you won't. Source:
Let me first understand you, I replied. justice, as you say, is the interest of the stronger. What, Thrasymachus, is the meaning of this? You cannot mean to say that because Polydamas, the pancratiast, is stronger than we are, and finds the eating of beef conducive to his bodily strength, that to eat beef is therefore equally for our good who are weaker than he is, and right and just for us?
That's abominable of you, Socrates; you take the words in the sense which is most damaging to the argument.
Not at all, my good sir, I said; I am trying to understand them; and I wish that you would be a little clearer.
Well, he said, have you never heard that forms of government differ; there are tyrannies, and there are democracies, and there are aristocracies?
Yes, I know.
And the government is the ruling power in each state?
And the different forms of government make laws democratical, aristocratical, tyrannical, with a view to their several interests; and these laws, which are made by them for their own interests, are the justice which they deliver to their subjects, and him who transgresses them they punish as a breaker of the law, and unjust. And that is what I mean when I say that in all states there is the same principle of justice, which is the interest of the government; and as the government must be supposed to have power, the only reasonable conclusion is, that everywhere there is one principle of justice, which is the interest of the stronger.
Now I understand you, I said; and whether you are right or not I will try to discover. But let me remark, that in defining justice you have yourself used the word 'interest' which you forbade me to use. It is true, however, that in your definition the words 'of the stronger' are added.
A small addition, you must allow, he said.
Great or small, never mind about that: we must first enquire whether what you are saying is the truth. Now we are both agreed that justice is interest of some sort, but you go on to say 'of the stronger'; about this addition I am not so sure, and must therefore consider further.
I will; and first tell me, Do you admit that it is just or subjects to obey their rulers?
But are the rulers of states absolutely infallible, or are they sometimes liable to err?
To be sure, he replied, they are liable to err.
Then in making their laws they may sometimes make them rightly, and sometimes not?
When they make them rightly, they make them agreeably to their interest; when they are mistaken, contrary to their interest; you admit that?
And the laws which they make must be obeyed by their subjects, --and that is what you call justice?
Then justice, according to your argument, is not only obedience to the interest of the stronger but the reverse?
If justice is the interest of the stronger, but the stronger happen to be fallible humans, then justice will also (sometimes) turn out to be against the interest of the stronger. And, therefore, by reductio ad absurdum, it is proven (for all time) that justice is not that which is in the interest of the stronger. The phrase, therefore, that 'might makes right' is false.