Whoaa! That’s a lot of Laws!
In fact the number of pages of new rules published each year has gone up by more than 3,101% since the system was put in place back in 1935. Moreover, these mandates are on top of the ever growing stack of state and local laws (some of which are driven by, some of which are confounded by the federal statutes).
No problemo you say? Some argue - it’s a big country needing a lot of rules to keep all those other people and businesses in line. But do any of us know what laws apply to us on any given day? James Madison pointed out the pitfalls of this situation 225 years ago.
According to James Madison ..
- democracy is pointless
- corruption is incessant
- business is discouraged
- people are robbed of their spirit and confidence
..when government produces laws that defy comprehension by virtue of their excessive number and complexity.
Why do Too Many Rules lead to a System Breakdown??
Madison outlined in the Federalist Papers (#62) why a condition of too many rules and too much change will work to destroy the stability of nation.
Who can realistically comprehend 82,000 pages of new laws per year?
“It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man who knows what the law is today can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule which is little known, and less fixed?”
The crucial point here is that democracy is negated when, for whatever reason, laws overwhelm the public with their shear number and complexity.
It’s a system built for corruption.
This situation can only benefit those in power who would use it to selectively reward themselves and their associates while punishing adversaries. Far from being an accidental by-product of evolving modern society this was a condition clearly understood by the framers of the constitution. Madison continues to outline the evils that follow from incessant and overwhelming change in government policy:
“Another effect of public instability is the unreasonable advantage it gives to the sagacious, the enterprising, and the moneyed few over the industrious and uniformed mass of the people. Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue, or in any way affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change, and can trace its consequences; a harvest, reared not by themselves, but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow-citizens. This is a state of things in which it may be said with some truth that laws are made for the few, not for the many.”
If you honestly endorse ‘social justice’ in it’s truest sense you must certainly oppose big government for this reason alone. At this juncture it is pure naivete to ascribe only benevolent motives to the government. This point differentiates the tea party and like minded individuals from those who continue to support big government.
On the other hand if you’re interested in economic prosperity (which provides the bounty for charity) the situation is just as deplorable.
“The want of confidence in the public councils damps every useful undertaking, the success and profit of which may depend on a continuance of existing arrangements. What prudent merchant will hazard his fortunes in any new branch of commerce when he knows not but that his plans may be rendered unlawful before they can be executed? What farmer or manufacturer will lay himself out for the encouragement given to any particular cultivation or establishment, when he can have no assurance that his preparatory labors and advances will not render him a victim to an inconstant government?”
Yet the most egregious aspect of this Jabba-the-Hutt government, is the stultifying effect it has on the public at large.
“But the most deplorable effect of all is that diminution of attachment and reverence which steals into the hearts of the people, towards a political system which betrays so many marks of infirmity, and disappoints so many of their flattering hopes. No government, any more than an individual, will long be respected without being truly respectable; nor be truly respectable, without possessing a certain portion of order and stability.” James Madison Federalist 62
Land of the Free, Home of the Brave?
Federal regulations are binding authority on the conduct of our lives and so must be accounted laws. These are laws made by bureaucratic employees of the federal government who exercise, at this date, near complete centralized control of our economy and our lives.
Let’s face it, when the Federal government can dictate what you can and cannot pack in your child’s school lunch, when they claim dominion over every puddle, pond and stream under the pretense of swamp preservation, when they regularly diminish the value of your life savings through the apparatus of monetary policy .. freedom is a fast fading memory.
Here’s the Happy Remedy
So, what can we do about it? First, support candidates who will shrink the federal government. OK we’ll probably have a few lemons but if we keep at it we’ll succeed.
Second, we can concern ourselves with local government in order to form a habit of self-governance and to learn how the systems work. Be it town, city, village,ward, school district – just pick any one. If all you can do right now is to monitor what’s going on – that’s a great start! ( getting involved with the tea party is also a great way to get clued in!
Third, we can communicate with our family, friends and neighbors. Recall a few years ago there was a fad called “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” ? Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that everyone is on average approximately six steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person on Earth, so that a chain of, “a friend of a friend” statements can be made, on average, to connect any two people in six steps or fewer. If this is even half true we have enormous power to win the hearts and minds of our fellow citizens.
Yet, communication is a tough problem for most average people for several reasons. To begin with, we don’t want to alienate those around us who currently have different outlooks or don’t want talk about politics. But it doesn’t have to be that way - we can find ways to open communications in a positive frame with those around us. For instance, if we’re involved in our local community (see step 2) we can start conversations with anecdotes sharing information that is real and immediate to those around us.
SIMPLE & IMPORTANT -> make a bookmark, set a few minutes aside on your schedule, make it part of your weekly routine to check up! AND attend at least one meeting of your local governing body in person this year. Don’t depend on other people to do this for you and don’t be discouraged. Yes we know you’re busy but isn’t freedom worth a few hours of your time this year?
For the sake of clarity there are several important issues related to this body of law not addressed here; including:
- the lack of constitutional authority for laws made by unelected bureaucrats;
- the lack of constitutionality for the scope and/or jurisdiction of many of the laws – even if they were made by elected officials;
- whether any one of these new laws is good or bad in itself