Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The sky is falling, the sky is falling ...

The sky is falling, the sky is falling; let’s pass a law to ban falling skies.

The number of laws passed in this country is beyond all imagination. Consider that federal laws and laws passed in the 50 states each year must number in the hundreds of thousands; and if all enacted laws over the past are added together, surely the number is in the millions. Just imagine, as American citizens, non-citizens, legal and illegal residents; we are subject to millions of laws in this country. Does anyone know all these laws and how they affect you? It is not likely that any person, including those that pass these laws, have any idea.

Why do we have so many laws? The answer is scarier than the vast number of existing laws. Every time there is a perceived offense to someone or thing, or anytime anyone can think of some aspect of human behavior they believe 'should be improved', or anytime someone thinks they ‘know’ how to improve the human condition, or anytime someone wants to share the wealth ‘with those less fortunate’ by taking from those that have (usually from those that worked hard to earn what they have) to give to those that need (often to those that chose not to work as hard); the answer is to ‘pass a law’.

There are so many examples; it is almost impossible to choose a few. But anyone that wants the mental exercise can easily identify them as well. Nonetheless, there are some that readily come to mind. Of course, those that advocate passing laws to cure the world’s ills will disagree, and many will justify ‘passing laws’ (but without admitting it), as necessary because they know what’s better (or best) for us than we do.

Laws to protect ‘species’, such as lizards, insects and rodents, are rampant; notwithstanding that nature has had her own plan for species creation and extinction for eons, and no matter that the affect of such laws on humans and rights of property owners can be devastating.

Taking precautions for one’s safety is common sense but there will always be some people that are not sensible. To deal with those that choose ‘the low road’ of dangerous behavior, for their sake we mandate wearing seat belts in cars and helmets at other times. Smoking tobacco is a terrible personal choice; so we try to discourage it by with laws imposing nearly confiscatory taxes on its purchase. Lately some people are concerned that talking on a cell phone while driving is more distracting than screaming children in cars, drinking coffee or the like, applying make-up, talking to passengers, changing the radio station, looking at a map, noticing a pretty girl, etc.; so law makers feel obliged to ‘pass a law’ to single out and make such deviant behavior illegal. You may be someone that thinks these examples of human behavior that ‘needs’ to be addressed are trivial, but no law is trivial to those that are deemed to be in violation.

Will there ever be an end to ‘passing laws’ for any purpose some legislator or special interest group believes to be in their best interest; I don’t think so, passing laws is the modern equivalent the King demonstrating rule over his subjects, and mother saying eat your spinach, it’s good for you. The King passes new laws because he can.

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