• Complex Societies Need Simple Laws

      How many laws will you break today? America now has so many laws that the average person runs afoul of several criminal offenses daily. Even the American Bar Association can't estimate how many regulations are on the books. A far cry from the simple rule of law envisioned by true liberals like our country's founders...

      In my syndicated column this week, I look at the unintended consequences of all these regulations:

      When so much is illegal, common sense dies. Out of fear of breaking rules, people stop innovating, trying, helping.

      Think I exaggerate? Consider what happened in Britain, a country even more rule-bound than America. A man had an epileptic seizure and fell into a shallow pond. Rescue workers might have saved him, but they wouldn't enter the 3-foot-deep pond. Why? Because "safety" rules passed after rescuers drowned in a river now prohibited "emergency workers" from entering water above their ankles. Only 30 minutes later, when rescue workers with "stage 2 training" arrived, did they enter the water, discover that the man was dead and carry him to the approved inflatable medical tent. Twenty other cops, firemen and "rescuers" stood next to the pond and watched.

      The ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, sometimes called the first libertarian thinker, said, "The more artificial taboos and restrictions there are in the world, the more the people are impoverished. ... The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be."

      For more on the crippling effects of America's rule-making orgy, the rest of my column here.

      Syndicated Column
      government regulation