Thursday, May 11, 2006

A Plea for Sensible Laws

Someone (I think it was Robert A. Heinlein) once wrote that whenever you pass a new law you create a new class of criminals. There’s a great deal of wisdom in this thought, and it should inspire all of us to be careful what we wish for in regards to legislation.

Law is necessary in a civil society to maintain order and preserve the commonwealth. Wise laws are the wise servants of the people, but only laws that apply equally to all members of society should make it into the books or be allowed to remain on the books. Frivolous, regressive, repressive and purely punitive laws should be immediately stricken from the books and banished forever.

Prime examples are the laws prohibiting marijuana. Laws that punish one group of people at the expense of a second group of people for the benefit of a third group of people are not just laws. They are laws of tyranny and oppression that make a mockery of justice and damage society far more than they benefit it.

Striking anti-marijuana laws from the books would serve society in a myriad of important ways; achieving energy independence, building a stable, sustainable economy, protecting the environment, saving taxpayers money, and freeing up jail space to incarcerate dangerous criminals are among the most obvious.

If we really need to have stupid laws on the books, let’s consider a law making it illegal for people not to know how to find Iraq on a world globe. Punishment for violating such a law could be a two-year tour of duty in Iraq, courtesy of the U.S. Army.

Not only would this solve the military’s enlistment problems, but it would also give incentive for students to learn their geography lessons. Best of all, it wouldn’t cost the taxpayers an arm and a leg to fund it.