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There Ought to be a Law!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"There ought to be a law!" you hear the person yell as they watch a fellow citizen do something that does not meet with their approval. What is this person really saying, though? You could substitute into their statement, the formal definition of law for clarity: "There ought to be a rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority." The latter better expresses this persons goal to try and get another citizen to conform to their own personal belief of what is good and proper behavior in a civilized society.
I'm not saying that all laws are bad. We have to have laws to protect our persons and property from harm and injury. A set of written rules that anyone and everyone can consult for what the society on the whole expects from them. Laws like: don't murder, don't steal, don't trespass... laws like that. What about laws that go much farther in dictating how you live your life. How about laws that require you to wear a seatbelt in an automobile or require you to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle? Are these laws necessary? Do they protect you and your property from other people? Or do these laws simply compel you to act in a certain way?
The Law's StrangleholdIs it any wonder why we constantly feel like our government has a stranglehold on us? We now have so many laws that tell us how to live our lives, how to conduct our affairs, that there is no possible way that a person could ever hope to carry on his private business without running afoul of the law. When we've come to this point--of having so many laws that total compliance is simply not possible--we can only hope to live in government's good graces. Furthermore, if we ever do raise their ire, we're forced to throw ourselves on their mercy; because we most certainly will be found to have broken at least one of the many laws they've enacted. At this point, the law--which was created to serve and protect mankind--becomes the tool by which those who are charged with administering justice become our masters. 


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