Why not now? Why not us? A call for legislative change.
The mystic Chinese philosopher, Lau Tzu, once said, “The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.” I can’t help but think of an image regarding 6,899,000 people under the supervision of adult correctional systems in local, county, state, and federal custody (Glaze, Kaeble 1). The Unite States has more jails, approximately 5,000 (Stephan 1), than degree granting institutions, approximately 4,700 (“Fast Facts”). Our Judicial system is a blood sucking beast of a hundred thousand heads draining our country of its dwindling vitality and lying about its intentions, while telling us to shut up and comply because, “It’s the law!”.
Too much law leaves a smoking hole in the middle, where the practical problems of everyday life used to be worked out by practical means. This, “there’s a law for everything” is also the sum of unintended consequences and diminishing returns of a late-stage, bureaucratic, techno-industrial society cannibalizing itself to stay alive. Common sense laws have been around for thousands of years. Since the advent of the industrial age, they have become increasingly numerous and complex. These laws have created an entire class of victimless crimes and laws that oppress, suffocate, and imprison our society and overwhelm the judicial system. In these wheels of injustice, vague laws are the lynch pin, functioning in very much the opposite way than originally intended: they obscure, rather than clarify, the laws demands. Additionally our country’s regulations over the past six decades have cut our economic growth by an average of two percentage points per year (Dawson, Seater 2). This over-regulation of our society has led to the over criminalization and incarceration of our population, which has a significant fiscal cost. Additionally, this same over-regulation of our economy stifles entrepreneurship.
I will acknowledge the opposite argument that law in abundance is necessary, living in a industrialized and complex society. With millions of businesses and evolving technologies rapidly shifting, it may seem additional laws and regulations are needed. Maybe, sometimes, that may be true. However I reject this argument, because making more laws to control behavior has never worked. With too much law we have paralyzed our society with legal fear. Doctors are fearful and school principals immobilized. Little league coaches, scared of liability, stop volunteering. No one knows where one stands with almost any decision that someone disagrees with having the potential to become a lawsuit. We are caught in darkness, staring at the approaching headlights. Fortunately some changes have started.
The great awakening against the over-regulation of our society has started. People of all ethnicities from big cities to small towns in our nation are rising in defiance of an out-of-control legislative process. The people of our country have real grievances with the way this country is being run. Recent examples include, the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements, Bundy Ranch Standoff in Nevada, Occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, Sugar Pine Mine in Josephine County Oregon, the riots in both Baltimore and Ferguson, and most recently, like a dark age puppet show, the 2016 presidential election cycle rhetoric, which has mesmerized a nation awakened to our political class of lawmakers. With so much institutional judicial entropy, the people are making it clear, “Don’t tread on me or else.” If change doesn’t happen in the near future, I feel our judicial system, and more importantly our way of life, will not be sustainable. States or even small communities should consider their own version of, “A Declaration of Independence” or at least start to show some peaceful civil disobedience in an effort to force a debate and some much needed change on the local, state, and national level in regards to an over-regulated society. Citizens can show their displeasure through social media or peaceful protest to start this discussion. If an injustice is perceived in regards to a law and subsequent conviction it’s our moral obligation to appeal peacefully for change. Let’s take a look at the depth or our regulations. The following two graphs explain visually, at the federal level, why we desperately need regulatory reform (McLaughlin, Williams 1).
With this number of Federal restrictions in place, one needs an army of lawyers to decipher and navigate a mine field of litigation both in a court room and business atmosphere. On the state level, the National Conference of State Legislatures have released some statistics, which read, ” In 2013, all 50 states, plus the commonwealths and territories, met in regular session and enacted nearly 40,000 bills and resolutions”(Andrade 1). A nation of sheep now has a government of wolves. Year after year our parasitical elites are draining the body politic of its precious bodily fluids and are persuaded by the power of big business, big pharma, big prison for profit, big lobbyists, big campaign donations, big think tanks, and whatever else can buy their attention. Is there any public citizen in government with the moral courage to loudly oppose what our society has become? The entire judicial system is like an out of control sports car in search of a tree. How can we avoid this future car accident?
Let’s get back to some common sense law making and start with basic moral and immoral laws. Do we have a moral obligation for common sense law and regulation? Are some laws just or unjust and why? I believe it’s a good question to ask, because it’s important for us to consider for conversation an over-regulated society and the
How about some explanations for persuasion? The first is common sense, and it can be defined as good sense and sound judgment in practical matters. It would seem to me with millions of laws and regulations on the books and thousands more being implemented each year, the definition of common sense wouldn’t apply to our law making atmosphere. How come our politicians and, more importantly, “We the People” have strayed from common sense when it comes to law making. Let’s look at a couple of examples: First, in John Stossels’s article, America, the Law Crazed, he cites how a man with an old felony conviction found a cartridge, put it on his dresser, and forgot about it. A police officer, looking for something else, saw the bullet. Since felons may not possess any ammunition, this crime made him a repeat offender. He’s now serving a 15-year mandatory sentence for possession of ammunition. On appeal, the U.S. Eighth Circuit of Appeals upheld it, saying its hands were tied by the mandatory minimum set in law (Stossel 1). Yes, that makes sense. He committed a crime, paid his debt to society, and now that he’s free and trying to reestablish his life’s purpose, we slam him back in jail for 15 years for possession of one round of ammunition! Mandatory minimum sentences are the product of good intentions, but good intentions do not always make good policy; good results are also necessary. The second example: Did you know it’s a one thousand dollar fine to throw a Frisbee or football on a beach in Los Angeles county during the summer months? Yes, you read that right. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the ordinance in February 2012. (Bloomekatz 1) Clearly the morale suppression team has our beaches on lock down by creating a fun free zone. I could use thousands of more examples, but for the sake of brevity I won’t.
A second explanation is regulation. Regulation is a rule or directive made and maintained by an authority, and these often have the same force as laws, since, without them, regulatory agencies wouldn’t be able to enforce laws. Regulation comes from legislation, which can be described as the process of making law and regulation. Bestselling author, Philip Howard, in an excerpt from the book, “The Death of Common Sense: How Law is Suffocating America” makes his case arguing the American judicial system has become so complex with regulation that it’s beyond the understanding of the common citizen. Mr. Howard gives several examples of governmental regulation incompetence, ranging from how the EPA reviews pesticide use to potential breakthroughs in medicine that wait years for approval at the Food and Drug administration. Howard takes the information a step further by suggesting our regulations do not produce certainty and fairness but rather endless opportunities for lawyers, politicians, and big business to abuse angles and advantages (4).