Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Freedom, liberty are messy, like life

Freedom, liberty are messy, like life

(My Clovis News Journal column for December 6, 2013.  A huge amount was edited out this week, said to be "repetitive", which I sometimes find necessary to hammer a point home... but in this case I don't see that what was removed was repetitive at all.  Oh well.)

How is it that more things are illegal today than a year ago, and why has this been the trend for a couple hundred years? It's because there is an imbalance in how "laws" are imposed and eliminated. The scales of legislation are tipped in the wrong direction.

Even if only one out of every hundred proposed liberty violating "laws" is passed, liberty still shrinks, gradually, but inexorably. Because those "laws" almost never go away. Even when they seem to get abolished, in truth another "law" was probably passed to counter the first "law", rather than the first "law" being struck from the books.

But the biggest culprit is all the new "laws" that get proposed to pander to the folks crying "There ought to be a law" over every little thing that upsets their delicate sensibilities.

Of course, not every one of those bad "laws"- and they are all bad "laws"- gets passed the first time it is dreamed up. However, every time one of those "laws" fails to come to life it keeps getting proposed repeatedly until it eventually becomes "law". The political climate is always in flux, and even the most ridiculous or draconian "law" will eventually find a time and place to take root. The proposed "laws" never die and a "no" is never allowed to be final. "Laws" are held to be sacred, and liberty is an inconvenience to be sacrificed on a whim.

This leads to the condition I call "law pollution", where "laws" come to cover the world like so many "tumblebags" and burrito wrappers drifting against every fence and wall. Where everything not forbidden is mandatory.

That needs to change.

It is never valid to impose a "law" that violates individual liberty or property- no matter how many people want that "law", but pretending for a moment that it was sometimes OK, a "law" that would violate liberty or property should get, at most, one chance to be passed. After that, it should never be permitted to be proposed again. Not by changing the wording, not by tacking it onto another bill, and not by bureaucratic backdoor rule-making.

One shot at violating liberty, and then it's done. Forever.

And that's if you ignore the clear fact that it is very wrong to propose, pass, enforce, or obey that kind of "law" regardless.

Freedom, like life, is messy. Only the dead are predictable and stable. If the liberty of your neighbor scares you, that is your malfunction, not his. You are the one who needs to adapt. No new "laws".


  1. Can you post full version here on your blog?

  2. I can, and will, after 30 days. At that time I'll post the entire thing, as originally submitted, above and update the date. So bookmark this post and come back the evening of January 7, 2014.
    All my CNJ columns get posted here, as originally written, after the paper's 30 day exclusivity expires.

  3. You can click on the "Clovis News Journal" label under the post and see all my CNJ columns (other than the ones which are still under exclusivity).