of us live under certain sets of rules, regulations, and laws. Some of
these rules make sense; many of them do not. People sometimes disregard
the rules that make sense. Contrarily, they also sometimes assidulously
obey and enforce those that don't. This might actually be funny if the
end results were not frequently less than amusing.
believe that there are too many absolutes in this world where "acceptable"
behavior is concerned. The one rule that I do consider sacrosanct is one
that should be much simpler to follow than many have made it out to be,
and that is this: You should do whatever you like as long as it doesn't
infringe the rights of others. This, of course, covers everything from
the most heinous of crimes to the merely annoying.
a problem even with this simple notion. There are some people who claim
infringement when all they'd need to do to avoid it would be to mind their
own business. As much as some criminals seem intent on hurting others
for their own personal gain, there are those who will impose almost any
curtailment of liberty solely so that no one can do anything anywhere
that might offend their own sensibilities. Personally, I see that as one
of the greatest infringements of all.
not to say that I don't have my own sensibilities to be worried about.
In fact, as I was enjoying a bit of shopping the other day, I took note
of a few of those sensibilities which were being grievously offended at
the time. Of course, once I got started on addressing all that was wrong
in the world, I couldn't stop:
large sizes of clothing should not have horizontal stripes .
should not come in extra large.
accompanied by badly behaved children should not dine in nice restaurants.
shouldn't be in movie theatres no matter what the rating of the movie
happens to be.
who spend $10 on a ticket to see a movie just so they can talk throughout
the feature should not be allowed to see whatever I'm seeing.
of course, are merely those things I find personally aggravating. But
the obviousness of each of these "rules" got me thinking about
other more serious matters. And you know what? Most of those are pretty
obvious, too. Consider some issues that have tied our courts and our legislatures
up in knots for years:
Second Amendment and Gun Control
- A stupid
person with a gun who shoots himself or somebody else can't blame the
gun. He's stupid. (Several years ago, an Ohio man said to his girlfriend,
"Look at what I can do, honey!" He proceeded to put a shotgun
into his mouth and manipulate the trigger with his toe. The gun was
loaded. See? Stupid.)
- A smart
person with a gun who shoots a stupid person who is assaulting or otherwise
threatening him shouldn't be blamed, and neither should the gun. The
stupid person is stupid, and sometimes stupidity is a capital crime.
- If someone
is hurt or dies because he does something stupid, the manufacturer should
not change its warning label nor should it be held liable. The stupid
person is stupid. (A west coast sporting goods company was sued —
and lost! — after a would-be burglar came crashing in through
the skylight and broke his leg. He sued because there were no warning
signs on the rooftop that suggested it might be dangerous to come in
through the skylight. Stupid!)
who do stupid things and somehow come out of the incident unscathed
may be stupid enough that they don't learn from their experience and
do it again without such fortunate results. No one should be blamed
for this but the stupid person.
- If someone
brings a complaint to court believing he is not one of the above referenced
stupid people, juries should decide the case on two levels: First, is
the defendant liable, and if so, how much is his liability worth? If
not, the jury should then decide whether or not the lawsuit was frivolous
(or stupid) and, if so, impose the burden of court costs on the stupid
plaintiff and - on an equal basis - his stupid attorney.
- No legislation
should be proposed that's longer than the Constitution itself (one of
the primary problems with passage of the PATRIOT Act shortly after 9/11
wasn't the rush alone, but the fact that it was so large that copies
weren't yet available - and if they had been, few would have taken the
time to read all of it).
- No legislation
should be approved that's not specifically authorized by the Constitution;
every proposed bill should cite the authorizing section of the Constitution
(Congressman Ron Paul [R-TX] has said this for years, but the fact that
he's both eminently sensible and completely right has fallen on deaf
ears - which in and of itself says something else about the majority
of those in Congress).
- No one,
most especially Congress, is to be made exempt from any laws.
Bill of Rights is not an alá carte menu.
tax code should be simple enough for a sixth grader to understand. And
take note: sixth graders also understand "fair" and "unfair."
oath to the Constitution politicians must swear on taking office should
be ruthlessly enforced.
should only serve one term in a given office. Professional politicians
are the ones who ensure that much of the political process stays that
way. If ordinary citizens served and then went back to being ordinary
citizens, I'm willing to bet they'd have more care as to what they did
that had an effect on ordinary citizens!
is nothing wrong with existing (unconstitutional) federal government
programs that couldn't be solved by privitization and the resulting
free market competition.
- If a
TV show offends you, change the channel or turn it off (most recently,
one NBC show was cancelled and another pulled before airing because
some Christian groups didn't like the content, essentially prohibiting
the rest of us from even seeing what they found objectionable).
- If you're
upset your child sees something obectionable on TV, why weren't you
there to change the channel or turn it off?
- If you
believe your religion is the one true faith (and I'd hope you do, else
why would you follow it?), the least you could do is respect that others
probably feel the same about theirs.
other people believe that their religion is the one true faith, why
would anyone who values freedom do all that he could to make them renege
on their beliefs? (We all know that many Muslims apparently feel that
way, but so do an unfortunate number of Christians. And while Christians
don't typically blow themselves up to make their point, that doesn't
make the most zealous missionaries any less anti-freedom.)
crime is a hate crime, or at least a total-disregard-for-you-and-yours
crime. Why try to say that some murders are worse than others purely
by virtue of the color of the victim as opposed to that of the killer?
Worse, why suggest that some victims are somehow less important than
others and that their killers deserve a lesser punishment, again purely
by virtue of ethnicity?
everything is about you being black (or Hispanic, or gay, or female,
if it is about you being black (or Hispanic, or...), someone else's
ignorance and stupidity isn't a crime. It's not very nice, but it's
still not a crime.
- If someone
commits a crime, they should be punished. This is true whether it had
anything to be with you being black (or Hispanic, or...) or not.
enforcement officers who commit crimes should be jailed with those they
put behind bars for doing the same thing they just got caught doing.
who are deliberately cruel to animals should be punished by having done
to them whatever they did to the animal. (An Ohio judge garnered national
attention when he sentenced a woman to spend a winter night in a Cleveland
area park without food or shelter after she did the same to a number
of kittens - most, including me, applauded his choice of punishment.)
I can think of more! But the point is - and I think you'll agree - that
many things are made far more complicated than they need to be by those
in power. That seems to hold true no matter which of the major parties
is largely in charge at the time. Of course, there are a couple of reasons
my suggestions won't work, at least not right now. The first is that there's
far too much of an entitlement mentality combined with far too little
willingness for personal responsibility among the general public. And
the second is yet another rule.
I speak of was once penned with as much combined facetiousness and solemnity
as I wrote all of the above, but it's proved to be one of the truest of
all. In fact, it's likely more immutable than the speed of light or the
constant of gravity. It's called Murphy's Law, and it states: Whatever
can go wrong will go wrong. I'd just like to add Lady Liberty's corrollary:
And when politics and politicians are involved, it will go completely
wrong, and sooner rather than later.
note: Eventually, stupidity is the ONLY captial crime. All real crime
is inherently stupid)
is a pro-freedom activist currently residing in the Midwest. More of her
writings and other political and educational information is available
on her web site, Lady
Liberty's Constitution Clearing House. E-mail Lady Liberty at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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