I wrote a version of this as part of an email to someone who is working with me and feel that it is something everyone should be aware of . So here it is.
When people are sick, they often run straight to the pharmacy. They really don’t know what else to do or even consider that maybe there is a better way.
When societal problems crop up, there is a parallel problem. People make new laws. They really don’t know what else to do or even consider that maybe there is a better way.
For instance, a couple of years ago in New York City, a guy was hanging out under some steps looking up women’s skirts. A person in government said that it was frustrating to him that there was nothing they could arrest the guy for.
Are those the only choices we have, either have him continue or arrest him? Yikes.
How about just politely suggesting he get a new hobby? How about realizing that it is really not such a big deal? How about realizing that arresting that guy is going to cost a lot, solve little and create new problems?
Whenever a person faces the fact that he may suffer negative consequences imposed by government, he may change his behavior to avoid the consequences. All the same, the desire to continue the behavior remains. Conflict has been created. Information has been lost as the person is now hiding what he really feels like doing.
So laws perpetuate problems, by covering them up without really solving things, just as medication does.
The most famous law making fiasco is Prohibition. The thing people don’t realize is that every situation involving a restrictive law is a mini version of that.
I was at a library and some kids were outside in the park playing in some dirt and maybe throwing it around. One person suggested that maybe someone should call the police. Wow. What has happened to our society that even kids playing in the dirt are subject to that kind of response? People even want to make federal laws against bullying. What ever happened to parents sitting down and solving a problem?
Laws are an addictive and destructive form of medication and we in the United States live in a law happy nation where for every problem there is some misguided soul advocating for the creation of another law.