There ought to be a law…
“The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.”
Have you ever been out in the world, and someone did something that annoyed or inconvenienced you? If you’re not a hermitic shut-in, I assume the answer is “yes.” Did you then think to yourself something like, “There ought to be a law against (fill in the blank with your annoyance du jour).” Well, knock it off. Seriously. Stop and think what you’re really asking for when, out of anger or frustration, you invoke government into your situation.
To clarify, I’m talking only about laws in the sense of legislation passed by a city, state, or nation. (Natural laws and laws of physics are each completely different topics of discussion.) When you’re saying, “There ought to be a law,” you’re saying a lot more than you may realize. Consider what laws (legislation) are, and what passing them and enforcing them require. I submit that when you say, “There ought to be a law…” what you’re really saying is, “The government should solve this problem (in the specific way that I want) using theft (taxes) and violence (enforcement) against me and my fellow citizens.”
Creating the Law
“Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”
— Otto von Bismarck
Laws are passed, in theory, by some sort of legislative body. In reality, laws are usually written by multinational corporations (in the case of federal law) or politically connected businesses (state and local laws) to stifle competition and enrich themselves in return for campaign contributions. Unless you are a part of this body, you will have little, if any, input into what goes into the bill. Sure, you may have voted for your representative or senator, but a vote is not a contract. You can’t take it back when your elected official behaves in a manner contrary to what he promised/you expected.
Whether you have a voice in the creation of the law or not, you are still expected to submit and obey, no matter how unjust or unwise the law may be. Also, even if you fully support the spirit behind the law being passed, chances are that the legislators have packed it full of taxpayer funded gifts to their financial backers and/or have combined it with another bill that you do not personally support.
Further, many laws that are passed at the state or federal level simply create a government agency to “handle” any perceived or real problem, and the language contained in the bill is very vague by design and purposefully open to interpretation. The dictates of the created agency become de facto laws with little to no congressional oversight. The public is then subject to the whims of a handful of bureaucrats who may not have any expertise or even competence in correcting the original problem. This is why you have a USDA wildlife specialist torturing animals and the EPA creating air pollution. Sometimes, like in the real-life case of the former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, someone wildly unqualified is selected to a post because he’s the governor’s lover.
After a law is passed, it must be enforced or it is no law at all. Who enforces the law? That’s tough to answer. Depending on the nature and jurisdiction of the law, it may be enforced by the local police, the ATF, the FBI, the DEA, the FDA, the SEC, or one of the many, many other government agencies. (Even the Department of Education buys ammunition and weapons.) What happens when the interests of two agencies conflict? A famous example is the well-known and bitter rivalry between the CIA and FBI. What happens if someone within one of these agencies has a personal vendetta against a taxpayer? What if the government agent uses the power of the state to stalk someone? Ultimately, the people who make up these organizations are people too, and are subject to the same faults and flaws to which we are all subject. Why should we willingly give them authority to enforce edicts written by corrupt and sociopathic politicians?
How do you pay for law enforcement? Taxes and fines. To me, this is the most disturbing aspect of the legislative process as it is today. We are forced to pay for what government agencies do to us, whether we like it or not. Remember, the job of a police officer is to enforce the law, not to help/protect/serve you. That’s his job. If a policeman pulls you over for having tinted windows and writes you a ticket, not only are you are paying for the fine he has issued you (or else you get locked in a cage), you are also expected to pay for his salary for the privilege to do so. Then he expects you to thank him for protecting you. Whom is he protecting?
I haven’t even begun to get into the incompetence and brutality of law enforcement because I would need another full website to catalog it all. Luckily for me, someone has already done that. I highly recommend reading Will Grigg’s Pro Libertate website if you are interested in the subject.
Another good online resource to visit (if you want to laugh and be disturbed at the same time) is www.dumblaws.com. Here, you’ll find a list of absurd laws passed by the feds and the fifty states. True, most of these are not enforced. However, as a taxpayer in your state, you had to pay for the legislator’s salary to write the law banning women from driving while wearing housecoats (California) or the law making it illegal to take more than three sips of beer at a time while standing (Texas). There is also always the chance that if you do something the government doesn’t like, they will enforce the “dumb” laws just to get you for something. Harvey Silverglate has written a book called Three Felonies a Day in which he discusses how all of us commit federal “crimes” every day without even knowing it. It’s a very chilling look at our current state of affairs.
In conclusion, the next time someone’s behavior annoys you, just remember that if you live in a society of more than one person, you will be offended and inconvenienced from time to time. It’s inevitable. That doesn’t mean you have to accept it, of course. The correct action is to lead by example and convince others to behave better by showing them your example. Be a little creative and try to think of a way to change people’s minds without using the brute force and incompetence of the state. The “there ought to be a law” mentality is just lazy and thoughtless.
A Disclaimer About My Politics
Thanks for reading this post, I hope I challenged you in some way. Agree with me? That’s cool. Disagree? Even better. I’m just a random guy on the internet, voicing his opinion (at the time of writing this blog post; opinions change as more facts and experience are gathered). But imagine if I had the political power and will to force you to agree with me! That would be terrible, and that’s the point of voluntarism and non-aggression. You should not be forced to agree with me. Please extend me the same courtesy.
“The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’ meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’ meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’.” -Larry Hardiman
Political Blog Posts
- The Democrats Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- The Republicans Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- The Libertarians Don’t Deserve Your Vote
- Democracy ≠ Freedom
- I Don’t “Feel the Bern.”
- Confessions of a Public Servant
- Leaders vs. Rulers
- Libertarianism is Better Than Progressivism
- Why I Do Not Vote (And Neither Should You)
- The Traffic Court Swindle
- Top Five Reasons I Don’t Argue Politics on Social Media
- Why Meaningful Debate is Impossible
- Dos and Do Nots for the Liberty Minded
- “There ought to be a law…”
- A Defense of Fugitive Slaves
- Conspiracy Theories are Dumb
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