Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Laws of the Land

He thought it proper however that the true nature of the existing confederacy should be investigated, and he was not anxious to strengthen the foundations on which it now stands.
The Anti-Federalist Papers, Opposition to the New Jersey Plan, pg 81
by James Madison
On social news sites I came across an interesting article "Do laws even matter today?".

Cushioning the consequences of people's bad decisions from hurting themselves makes me wonder sometimes why I bother to be careful. If everyone else is in debt and has no savings, why should I maintain self-discipline to not get into debt and save for retirement? The government will cushion the pain for people. If it can't then it is probably because it is buckling and breaking from its own paternal nature. At that point what good will my self-discipline have done me if money isn't even worth anything (fiat or otherwise)?

Another area I find interesting in this the effect of unavoidable law breaking has on the mores of a nation. I came across a quote from Bastiat (who I've now added every book of his to my reading list) that says

When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law. These two evils are of equal consequence, and it would be difficult for a person to choose between them.
The Law, by Bastiat

In college I took a course titled "History of Creativity" to fulfill my Civilization credit. One of the things we discussed was the affect of prohibition on the mores of the nation. Overnight the nation became a nation of criminals. When this happens people turn a blind eye to other crime. How can they condemn others in the court of law when they are criminals themselves?

This leads me to wonder about other things like the "War" on Drugs and Speed Limits. Are we making people tolerant of worst crimes by outlawing these? If we legalized these and other crimes become the new rage where do we draw the line on legalizing these verse taking a stand for what is right and what is wrong?