Nearly everyone says, about anything they deem unpleasant, “There ought to be a law!” For example: “There ought to be a law requiring people not to use their cell phones while driving.” Will the law be enforced? Does it punish people who use their cell phones and still manage to drive safely? Shouldn’t unsafe driving be punished, rather than something which some people blame on unsafe driving? No matter. There ought to be a law. “There ought to be a law against trans fats.” Don’t people have a right to put into their body what they want? Do fats cause everyone to get fat — or only people who eat too much of them? No matter. There ought to be a law.
These may seem like innocent or, at worst, silly things human beings have invented to make them feel better about themselves. I say: Not so much. Giving the government the power of dictatorship in some areas is to concede the point that government has the moral right to dictatorship in all areas — or any area. You can better believe that someday government, given the lack of restraint we have put on it, will have control over everything. That’s what governments do. Don’t want a dictatorship in America, of either the right-wing, left-wing or even religious kind? The only way to prevent a dictatorship is to restrict a government from doing anything, except for the bare minimum required to preserve property rights and protect individuals from physical force. I call that a “bare minimum,” but it’s a profoundly important bare minimum that we must have a government to accomplish. With government involved in everything else, it’s not possible for it to do well in those areas. In fact, dictatorial governments play favorites. They protect those they like, and fail to protect — or even harm — those they dislike. Government allowed to go beyond its proper limits becomes a mafia (only much more dangerous than the mafia). That’s what happened to American government, or is happening in slow motion as we speak.
So the next time you choose to utter the words, or even think the thought, “There ought to be a law…” keep in mind what you’re saying. Are you saying, “There ought to be a law to protect individuals from force, fraud and even from government itself”? I would vote for that law. But I’d vote for few, if any, others.