LAWS AND EFFECT
by Andrew Horning
1. They’re not like laws of physics. They don’t actually work. For example, murder and theft are illegal, but murder and theft still happen. Some laws actually harm what they try to help – for example, “Cash for Clunkers” and Obamacare.
2. Our laws have dramatic side effects; notably on that deadly abstraction we call “government.”
Number 1 should be obvious enough that we only need reminding from time to time.
But #2 demands some discussion.
What force does it take to enforce a law? Does it prompt more spying, more SWAT teams, more military hardware? Will there be new taxes? Will the new power added to government be for sale to the highest bidder? (hint: yes)
And will the law, like so many others, be much worse than the “problem” lawmakers meant to fix?
Let’s be serious, and put aside the emotional, political, partisan arguments that always attend everything in politics, and ask ourselves both what government can do, and what it should never do.
1. The clumsy force we call “government” can temporarily suppress, discourage, punish and/or lock up problems; government can’t really fix anything. Humans still suffer fraud, theft, coercion and murder; and government still institute slavery, genocide and war. We can only suppress these sadly-human things to a degree and for a time with concentration and diligence. For example, human trafficking has actually risen in recent decades in the USA since we’ve asked government to do so many other things. To concentrate on what’s important and doable, we should enforce laws against fraud, theft, rape, murder; and see how our resources hold up with that.
2. We should never think that what’s wrong for an individual is right for politicians. The “it takes a thief to catch a thief” morality, or “make my day” cops, may make for good movies. But it’s very bad, destructive reality. Giving armed highway robbery a name like “civil asset forfeiture” doesn’t make it right.
There is no such thing as “settled law.” Politicians violate their own rules every day. So it’s time to eliminate the laws that are too numerous to know, too corrupt and complex to understand, and too unjust, corrupt and destructive to enforce, so we can actually enforce the few that do make sense…like constitutions, for starters.
I know the preceding must sound strange to modern ears. But it’s called “prioritizing,” and it’s actually a very good thing to do.