When an injustice or problem comes before us we instinctively want something to be done to fix it. If someone is down on their luck or a person is being unfairly victimized based on something they have no control over, we want to see the little guy ‘win’ and beat the system that is causing their pain. So many times we say to ourselves, ‘There Ought To Be A Law’ to prevent this from happening again! But is making another law really the best way to handle these events?
When a law is made, no matter the intention, the reality is that every law carries behind it the force of the police over the citizens of the state. With each and every new law is a new encroachment on the lives of the citizens and the possibility that those who enforce the laws will abuse that power entrusted to them. No other institution can legally ‘force’ another do to something that they don’t wish to do other than the government.
There are many times where there are other ways to resolve issues that do not involve bringing in the government and their enforcement of laws that are made. For example in dealing with the less fortunate, should we be involving the federal government into such issues or should the community, each individual deciding for themselves how best to help, or even if help is warranted in each case, get involved and resolved the problems as they occur without creating a bureaucracy that invariably leaves some who are deserving out in the cold while rewarding those who know how to ‘grease the system’?
In many cases the laws create new problems that need to be addressed by, yes, another law. We want a law to stop people from committing prostitution, but in effect we push the behavior underground, preventing the community from adequately dealing with the issue while involving the police state into the personal lives of two consenting adults. A similar issue with abortion, gambling and the use of recreational drugs like tobacco, alcohol and marijuana. We ignore the history of prohibition in regards to alcohol many decades ago and recreate the same situation in an unrealistic War on Drugs that has had little effect on the use of drugs while creating an underground mob culture, criminals out of people who need help and the filing of our jails with people who’s only offense is the smoking of a plant that grows naturally in the wild.
Of course, I am not advocating anarchy. Many will say, wrongly, that anyone suggesting a reduction of the influence of government in our lives is just trying to bring anarchy to our society. There are times when laws and government are definitely needed. The protection of an individual’s rights as prescribed by the constitution being the highest priority, the regulation of interstate trade and commerce, protection of the country from outside forces, etc. But when confronted with an issue that needs to be corrected, we should be asking first what we can do to resolve these problems ourselves without involving the institutionalization of rigid laws.