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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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