Wednesday, July 08, 2009

What if people don't do the right thing?

What if people don't do the right thing?

Like just about everybody, I would prefer that people do the right thing. I get irritated when people do irresponsible things and I sometimes grumble to myself about their questionable parentage or diminished mental capacity.

However, I am not delusional enough that I am willing to sacrifice freedom in order to provide a way for the state to punish those who don't always do the right thing. That's all "laws" do- provide for punishment. Punishing others does not help me. It doesn't change the reality or teach people anything. "Laws" simply provide a commonly accepted way to punish those who do things the state doesn't approve of. While many of those things might be "the wrong thing" or irresponsible, many more are not.

Of course, "laws" to allow punishment of people who don't do the right thing ignore the fact that very few people even agree on what "the right thing" is, at least on peripheral matters. Even true lovers of individual liberty disagree on some specifics. When you add in the less-than-aware masses of public school indoctrinated "citizens", the situation gets even less clear. Some don't see the hypocrisy in talking about "liberty" while propping up the police-state with the labor of their lives or with their support of some government activities. Some don't understand that theft is theft, and having a government title or office doesn't excuse your immoral acts. Smaller matters are even more confusing to them.

The solution isn't to pass "laws" that enforce your vision of "the right thing". If this were justified, you could just as easily find yourself on the receiving end of someone else's bonnet-bee. Just like in the unworkable, chaotic system we live with now. I'll take my chances with free people doing the wrong thing from time to time, with no state ready to strike at me when I act in defense of myself and my property. The cost of having a state is too high a price to pay.