Saturday, June 30, 2007

Good idea, bad law....

I think most of the people I know brush their teeth on a regular basis. And although I have no way of knowing, I suspect most of them also heed their Mother's warnings about the possibility of being in an accident, and put on clean underwear every morning. I've always thought that these were a couple of good ideas that didn't require an inordinate amount of effort. I also suppose that some people might have some reason to abstain from these activities, though I can't imagine what that reason might be.

There are a lot of things that I consider good ideas. I think it's a good idea to go to church every Sunday, and I think it's a good idea to visit your parents every week. (I do fairly well with these.) It's a good idea to eat healthy food, control your weight, and avoid substances that you know can't really be that good for you.(I don't do as well with the food and weight part.)

I think it's a good idea to graduate and get married before you start having children, and I think it's a really good idea to take your wife out to someplace really nice after you forget your anniversary.

I'm sure everyone has their own list of good ideas, and I'm just as sure not everyone will agree with my list. I know a lot of people think it is a good idea to wear a seatbelt. I think it's a pretty good idea myself, sometimes.

But good ideas don't necessarily make good laws, and I'm just as opposed to the seatbelt law as I would be to a law that required me to attend church, or visit my parents, or take my wife out to dinner after I forgot our anniversary. Or any law that required people to adhere to any of my good ideas.

On July 1st a new law takes effect that says I'll be a criminal if I don't wear a seatbelt in my truck. I think Ayn Rand had it right when she said:

"The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

I suppose the easiest thing to do would just be to buckle under and buckle in, but there's something in me that just won't let that happen. Oh, there will be times and situations when I'll wear the belt, but only because I think it's a good idea. Not because it is the law.

There is a certain amount of personal responsibility that we must have if we want to live in a free society. The assumption is of course that we still want to live in a free society.


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