Archive for the ‘laws’ Tag

Hacking that Bramble Patch   5 comments

If you could write one new law, what would it be?

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We don’t need more laws!

I sincerely believe that. In the United States today, it is estimated that the average adult citizen commits three felonies a day and doesn’t even know it. Our legal system is so complex, that we have made common day activities into criminal enterprises and we have failed to notify people who have engaged in those activities for their entire lives that what they are doing could put them in jail. The only people who are aware of the law are those people who lobbied to have the laws enacted in the first place.

Libertarians are notoriously anti-law. It’s not that we don’t accept rules. Most of us are down with the laws of physics, for example. The non-aggression principle is a rule, after all. We don’t have an issue with structure that makes sense. It’s that we believe laws should be few and easily discoverable through general principles. Should it be against the law to murder your neighbor because he won’t let you date his daughter? Yes, of course. Should it be against the law for you to rape your neighbor’s daughter? Goes without saying.

But why?

Not because someone decided “there ought to be a law” but because your neighbor has a right to live and you’re violating his right to that if you kill him. Your neighbor’s daughter has a right to control her own body and you’re violating that if you rape her. These laws make total sense. Why is it against the law to steal? Because you’re depriving your victim of something that belongs to him – that he might need to survive. If you feel you need something like what your neighbor owns, go out and earn the money to buy it or build it yourself.

All laws should be based on whether the action being criminalized violates the rights of others. We could get into some really complicated discussions about what is a right – but going back to John Locke, a right exists as a function of being a living human being. As part of the autonomy required of you to provide for your own needs, you need to be able to pursue and guard your own life and property. This means, conversely, that others may not try to take your life or property. At the same time, you cannot try to take theirs. You also have a right to what is called “liberty” – to hold your own opinions and to state these in a peaceful manner, for example. That’s a very basic overview of natural rights theory.

A BAD law it took 13 years and countless lives to get rid of

So, what ONE law would this anti-law libertarian pass? Ah, did you know that in order to repeal a law in the United States, you have a pass a law? Go look at the Constitution. The 18th Amendment famously made buying and selling alcohol illegal in the US starting in 1920. It was proposed by well-intentioned people who just wanted to make the world a better place and never thought of the negative consequences of taking away people’s favorite stress-reliever in a country where people are generally law-abiding, but have a deep understanding of natural rights theory because our Constitution is more-or-less based on it.

Within two years, it had become obvious Prohibition was a REALLY BAD idea. It made the whole country into criminals who were proud to break the law. The 18th Amendment turned something unconstitutional (confiscating the personal property of citizens) into something “constitutional” by amending the Constitution. Thus, the only way to get rid of it was to re-amend the Constitution. A constitutional amendment is a law with a (deliberately) very high bar for passage, so it took until 1933 to pass another law (the 21st Amendment) to rescind the REALLY BAD law that was tearing the country apart and legitimizing government tyranny and murder of citizens. That’s where laws are a really bad idea, generally, because unless they’re based on easily articulated principles (i.e., natural rights) they have a tendency to become ingrained and impossible to amend without concentrating the negative consequences. Our extremely complicated and increasingly dysfunction medical system is a prime example. The system wasn’t broken a century ago when the first regulation came into play to, supposedly, “fix” it. We already had one of the best systems existing in the world at the time and we have managed to maintain that foothold, but since the 1970s regulatory laws have distorted a great system into a very expensive system and now we’re looking at making it totally dysfunctional by making it into a government program, as if we can’t see how badly Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans, and Bureau of Indian Affairs handles medical care that are already government programs.

My thoughts on “Medicaid for All”

The lesson we should have learned already is that government doesn’t do much so well as the private sector, but it does medical care far, far worse and we need to just stop, repeal all the laws and regulations and allow the system to reset organically to see if there are actually any problems that need to be addressed rather than creating more problems. But we aren’t going to do that and, in the end, we will destroy the most dynamic medical care system in the world and our kids will never know what it felt like to be able to actually get medical care that doesn’t resembled like the lousy service the Department of Motor Vehicles is known for. We’ll have to travel to Lebanon or Thailand for halfway decent medical care.

Thus, the ONE law I would pass if I had the power is – a Constitutional amendment that would rescind EVERY law and regulation on the books that cannot be directly and clearly linked to the original Constitution or the Bill of Rights. Would that cause chaos? I think a lot of control freaks would panic and demand something “be done” immediately, but the basic laws that we all rely on for the world to function would continue forward. It would still be illegal to murder, rape, steal, kidnap, defraud, break contracts, beat your spouse, riot, arson, etc., because everyone would retain the right to their own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and be constrained from violating the rights of their neighbors in their pursuit of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Even some pollution and environmental laws would still exist because they can be discovered through natural rights theory and a thoughtful reading of the original Constitution. No, there is no appetite to reinstitute slavery in the United States, so you wouldn’t need the “Civil War” amendments – and getting rid of the 13th Amendment would stop the practice of creating a permanent underclass of felons. Law enforcement would have less to do because a lot of things wouldn’t be artificially illegal anymore. A lot of people who are currently incarcerated would have to be released because their “crimes” would no longer be illegal. A lot of lawyers would no longer have work because companies would not need to consider how what they want to do must be walked through the regulatory process. A lot of economic activity would be freed up for the benefit of ordinary people. In Alaska, according to a University of Alaska economic study, such a repeal would save $2 billion a year in lost economic activity and we’ve got a tiny economy compared to the US economy, where we’re probably talking about annual savings in the trillions of dollars. What it would do is simplify our laws so that Americans would actually be back in control of our own system rather than this Irish “democracy” we are currently forced to live under where if we even know that what we’re doing is illegal, we no longer care and break the law in order to survive..

By the way, this is not a new idea. Alaska Representative Don Young and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul have been working on the REINS Act aimed at regulations. It seems to pass the House every year, but stalls in the Senate. What I am proposing is more far-reaching and eliminates further complicating a system that is fraught with complications already. In reality, I would be passing a law to repeal about 90% of the laws currently on the books. I personally believe this would lead to a much more peaceful, law-abiding and productive society than currently exists.

And appropriately for today, one of the laws that would be repealed would be the 16th Amendment that has us all enthralled on this lovely Monday. I wouldn’t worry to much about that because 90% of what the federal government does is designed to justify its own existence enforcing regulations nobody authorized them to make that require them to spend our tax dollars justifying their agency’s existence. See how that works? If we could just go back to what the Constitution says, we’d all be a whole lot better off – unless you’re a control freak that just has to have power over your neighbor’s activities.

See, libertarians can pass laws — but only if they repeal laws that cannot be justified under natural law or the Constitution.

Posted April 15, 2019 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop

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Alaska Plans to Confront the Feds   4 comments

Alaska has been talking about secession since 1978 when President Carter used the administrative state to lock up over 1/3 of the land in Alaska, violating the Alaska Statehood Compact that had guaranteed Alaskans access to 80% of federal lands in Alaska. The federal government claims to own 65% of the land here in Alaska.

Alaskans have been complaining about the feds for a long time and it hasn’t done us a lot of good. Now our legislature is actually waking up and getting with the 10th amendment.

We’re talking about jailing federal officials

Alaska is not the only state contemplating this. Confrontation between the states and the federal government is coming and a lot faster than anyone expected.

Civil Liberties and Cell Phones   Leave a comment

How do cell phone restrictions and bans affect our civil liberties?

http://www.aashtojournal.org/Pages/012513RITAreport.aspx

Nobody wants bad drivers on the road. This survey shows that most of the country agrees with that statement. I personally think there are very few drivers who can even talk on the phone hands-free safely, let alone holding the phone. I see evidence for this on the road every day. And texting while driving is pretty high on the stupidity meter.

That said, I wouldn’t ban those activities anymore than I would ban other driving distractions like talking to your kid in the passenger seat, changing the radio station, monitoring your GPS, or – if you’re wealthy and cutting edge – getting updates from your smart-car computer. None of these activities are particularly conducive to safe driving, yet we do them every day while behind the wheel of our cars. Some of us also apply makeup, eat food, drink sodas and coffee, pet the dog, and ….

These activities are all contributors to distracted driving and are bad ideas. Note that we don’t have laws against most of them. Also know that if you have an accident while doing one of those activities you may face negligent or reckless driving charges. Cops, seeing you weaving through traffic, make a judgment call if your distractions crossed that line. Distracted driving has always been negligent/reckless driving. So why do we need a law specific to cell phones?

It’s a Bandaid to make people similar to me who loath cell phone use while driving feel better, but it’s also a huge moneymaker for cops wanting to write tickets. Stuck in traffic? Decide to check that text? Now you’re a law-breaker and subject to the tyrannical arm of government. You weren’t moving! You were behind the wheel of a car, which is driving, so it doesn’t matter. It’s no longer about endangering other drivers. The focus of control has moved from protecting the public to controlling the public.

The more laws we have, the more opportunity we give the government to oppress us. We have become like Gulliver, bound to the earth by a million tiny, individually-insignificant threads. Today, I restrict the liberty of my neighbor. Tomorrow he restricts mine. Next week we’re both going to restrict yours and the week after that, the three of us will restrict someone else’s liberty. We’ll say it’s for the greater good – we’re protecting someone – but really, isn’t it more about controlling one another?

“They who would give up essential liberty for a little security deserve neither liberty or security,” Benjamin Franklin

Gridlock Is Good   1 comment

Back when Ross Perot ran for president, a friend new to Alaska expressed her concern that this man was getting involved in politics. “We should leave that to the politicians,” she said. “They know what they’re doing.” The younger adults of our church, all gathered in someone’s kitchen, all stared at her like she’d grown two heads. That was soooo not an Alaskan way to think of things. Apparently she didn’t realize that voting was established to give people a say in politics.

So, these days, a politicalyl naïve position is that gridlock is bad. Seriously? Apparently. The idea is that we send politicians to Congress to get things done. Compromise. If you’re the minority, just go along with the majority so that the legislation gets passed. We want progress. Of course, if you’re a voter on the minority side, you might object if your representative ignores the reason you voted for him was to represent your values, but then he compromises and moves things further from your values.

So, if you’re opposed to a legislation like, for example, the Affordable Care Act, you’ll take gridlock over it being rushed through both houses of Congress without review. Of course, when we as a nation give both houses of Congress and the presidency to one party, gridlock isn’t a problem.

What many people don’t understand is that the United States Constitution was written to create gridlock. The Framers planned it that way. They didn’t trust government. They thought government was inherently tyrannical. They wanted to keep it small and controlled by the people.

The design of the constitution was to pit faction against faction to gum up the works until there was broad consensus. If they never reached that point – all the better because that wasn’t a law the people wanted. Bills would start in the House where everyone has to stand for election every two years. So they’re going to be careful not to irritate the folks back home. Then things pass through the Senate, where they stand for election every six years and can get away with voting against the people (at the time, they were appointed by the legislature of their states and often voted accordingly. This acted as a brake on the people’s passions.  Then there’s the president who can veto any legislation. Beyond that, there’s the Supreme Court that can declare laws unconstitutional.

The framers were all about making legislation hard. In periods of gridlock, smaller legislation gets bottled up while bigger legislation gets through – at least in the past. Tax reform in the 1980s, welfare reform in the 1990s happened during times of divided leadership, but they were large and rather consensus based.

So why are we concerned with gridlock in the 21st century? Is it worse than it was in the past?

Not necessarily, but I think TV plays a huge role in convincing the public that gridlock is bad. The more strident the political opinion, the more likely the quote or sound bite are to be printed, broadcast or communicated over the Web. The loudest shouting often reaches the most ears. Keep complaining that the “other side” is creating gridlock in an environment where people expect action, and it may work to get you reelected.

But, let’s ask ourselves something honestly. Are we really helped when Congress acts in concert without gridlock? Think about the mass of legislation that swept through both houses of Congress during the first two years of the Obama administration. Many of us were very unhappy with that avalanche because we didn’t agree with much of it. At the mid-term election in 2010, the House saw the greatest turnover from one party to another since 1950, indicating that the people instinctively embrace gridlock. We like divided government if the alternative is masses of legislation we don’t approve.

Do laws make our lives better? I will submit that we’d be better off if Congress spent the next year reviewing all the old legislation and regulations and dumping anything that is too complicated, too heavy-handed, outmoded, etc. We’d be better off with FEWER laws rather than more.

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