Friday, March 11, 2011

No More Laws

Is there an infinite need for legislation? Will there ever come a time when it can be said that we have enough "laws" and congress can cease meeting except to perhaps vote on the budget?

Laws impinge on man's free will, so with the passage of every so-called law - whether it compels or forbids - freedom of action is diminished. A fraction of the population - fairly large, I think - seems to think that "progress" is not being made unless the government is constantly churning out new laws. Every time a crime is committed, somebody will propose drafting a law specifically tailored to that situation or propose a remedy for the act even though the act is unlikely to recur.

Several years ago, a man held up traffic on I 75 by threatening to jump off a bridge onto the expressway below. Instead of lamenting the inconvenience, the state (or city) spent millions of dollars erecting fences along all the overpasses to prevent a similar incident. The remedy is totally ineffective since anybody wishing to jump from the bridge can either climb the fence or bring a pair of wire cutters with them and cut the wire.

The shooting in Arizona is likely to produce idiotic reactions from "lawmakers" - otherwise known as politicians or legislators - even though we already have laws against assault, murder, threats, discharging firearms in the city and so on. If superfluous laws must be passed, I would propose that no law can be named after anybody.

Little Johnny Doe is robbed of his allowance, abducted, tortured and murdered by his Uncle Sam. His uncle is found to be the perpetrator. Congressman Richard Roe proposes "Johnny's Law" that states that no relative shall rob, abduct, torture and/or murder his nephew. No politician is going to vote against Johnny's Law unless he wants to be pilloried in the press and denounced as someone who "doesn't care" about his constituents. Congressman Roe can then run for reelection and claim that he's tough on crime and is the author of Johnny's Law even though everything done to Johnny was already illegal.

God revealed to Moses only ten laws to regulate moral behavior: eight negative and two positive. There are corollaries to these laws, but so far the number has not been increased. How is it that the entire moral code can be summed up so succinctly, but something like a "free trade agreement" takes thousands of pages?
If government were drafting commandments you can be assured there would be many more than ten.

As long as I'm violating my own thesis, I would propose that only those laws that are based on the natural or moral law, such as laws against stealing, murder assault. etc, shall be permanent; all others expire automatically in three years or five years or so. All legislation not based on the moral law would have to be re- passed as though it were a new proposal. It is almost impossible to repeal even a bad law, but this would put the burden on politicians to vote for them over and over again and would have the added benefit of lessening the amount of new legislation. This would be a sort of anti-legislation.

Many people think that laws don't concern them if they don't directly restrict their freedom. I can't count the times that some ostrich has said something like, "This is the freest country in the world, blah, blah , blah."
This is sort of like a person who owns 100 acres, and every year the government seizes 5 acres, but it doesn't matter because they've got plenty of land. After 10 years they start complaining, but the neighbors tell them that they still have more land than anybody in the neighborhood. In 10 more years they have nothing.

Since laws diminish freedom they should be passed very sparingly if at all. There are already laws against all the real crimes that can be committed. There is an apocryphal story that says the head of the patent office wanted to shut it down because everything that could be invented already was. The capacity for invention is limitless, the need for legislation is very small. Perhaps we should shut down congress and sell the building or give it to the Indians.


  1. I couldn't agree more! I don't believe we need any more laws! It's gotten to the point that the government is intruding on our civil liberties. Go ahead, X-Ray me at the airport!... Check my receipt as I leave the Best Buy... If I want to talk on my cell phone while driving, then I should be able to. I believe people should make their own decisions and live with the consequences. I don't drive while on my cell phone because I don't feel comfortable doing it. However, those that do shouldn't be penalized with a ticket! Why do we have the CHP anyway? LOL! Now I'm on a tangent! Anyway... couldn't agree with you more! No more laws! Great article.

  2. You are a genius! This article may be 2 years old but it's only going to become more and more relevant in less something changes. I also think laws should expire and rarely if any should be passed.

    We don't need all these ridiculous preventative measures like numerous types of search/surveillance/over criminalization that go against the Bill of Rights and is basically saying that you're guilty until proven innocent. I also think much less taxes are needed so they can't just make new departments to automatically renew these laws, create such numerous and atrocious millitary and surveillance technology or just waste resources.

    If you hit someone when when you drive and it's your fault then regardless of what you're doing (drinking/texting), you should get the same punishment (there's no penalty for talking to someone in the car, but that alone increases the chance for an accident as well). If you don't want to wear a seat belt you should be allowed to take the risk as it's your body, your right, and if you're hurt of course YOU'd be forced to cover any medical bills (eventually). What I DON'T agree with is punishing someone for drinking/texting/not wearing a seatbelt etc. when they didn't commit theft, assault, or murder. Oh and what kind of law doesn't let you use a mobile device or built in car phone but still let's you use the radio while driving?