Saturday, March 31, 2012

No butts about it....

I suppose there have been rules of some sort since the beginning of time, though probably not as many as we have today. Adam and Eve lost some pretty sweet accommodations because they broke just one. We had several rules back at Millville Grade School too, but they didn't have the same effect on everybody. My old buddy Stinky Wilmont spent a lot more time down in Principal Walter's office than Bernice Hawkins did, even though the same rules applied to everybody. I don't imagine Bernice ever even considered breaking one of the rules, but I figured Stinky broke most of them whether he considered them or not. I'm guessing he never would have made it through with the rules they have in place today.

I read an article the other day that listed some of 40,000 new laws and regulations that state and local governments put in place for 2012. I kind of side with Stinky on this, in that we already have more laws than we can consider. I've asked several people over the years to name 3 things that the government doesn't tax or regulate. Most people couldn't come up with an answer, and it just got a little tougher this year.

Not to say that all laws are bad. Just like some of the rules at Millville kept Stinky from injuring another person, some of the laws we face as adults serve the same purpose. And even if a law doesn't serve that or any purpose, I find as an adult some of them are pretty easy to follow. I don't know if there is still a rule about not running in the hallway, but if there is, I can safely say that I haven't violated it in a number of years. In fact, I think I can say that I haven't violated it if there is a rule about not running anywhere.

There are a lot of laws on the books that are probably good ideas, even if they don't really make good laws. There's a law in Ohio that makes it illegal for more than 5 women to live together in a house. Being raised with four sisters in a house with one bathroom, I can see where this might be a good idea. Not sure it should be a law, though. And I'm not sure who it is supposed to protect. I feel the same way about laws designed to protect us from ourselves. Like mandatory adult seat belts. Good idea, bad law.

A lot of the old laws and new laws don't affect most of us, so we probably don't pay much attention to them. There's a law in Alabama that you can't chain an alligator to a fire hydrant. Now, I don't know about you, but I would never consider chaining my alligator to a fire hydrant. I never even considered taking him to Alabama.

There's a new law in California this year that makes it illegal to buy, sell, or produce caffeinated beer. I didn't even realize caffeinated beer had become such a problem. I'm sure it won't be for people that don't drink beer, and I can't imagine it would be for any self-respecting beer drinker. But then, I'm not from California, either. There's also a new law in New York that you can't possess a bear's gall bladder. Although it doesn't state so explicitly, I'm assuming bears are exempt from that one.

I also saw that Merrillville, Indiana, is considering an ordinance that would make it illegal for people to wear saggy pants. They define saggy as being more than 3 inches below the hip. Since my waist and hips aren't as easily definable as they used to be, I'll probably just try to stay out of Merrillville, so as not to create a scene. The town council says a violation would result in fines, but not criminal charges.

I'm not sure how that works. I guess it would be alright as long as the violator agreed to pay the fine, but as George Washington so aptly pointed out, "Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force." Every time the government passes a new law, that law is backed up with some type of punishment if we don't obey it. And if we disagree and don't comply with the stated punishment, the government ups the ante and takes us into court. And if we refuse to submit to the court, the government comes to get us with guns.

Eventually, every law is backed by the threat of eventual government violence, which makes me believe that the only laws we should have in place are the ones that protect us from force and fraud.

And then we can tell people that we think it might be a good idea for them to fasten their seatbelt, or pull up their britches, or buy health insurance, but that we're not going to put them in jail, or shoot them if they don't.


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