Sunday, July 28, 2019

Illegitimate laws poison society

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for June 26, 2019)

One way you can tell laws are not legitimate, ethically or morally, is in the way they vary from place to place. Those of us who live near an arbitrary political line-- a state line or a national border-- have the opportunity to notice this more easily than others might.

Something which is legal on one side of the line becomes illegal once you cross it. Without otherwise changing your behavior in the slightest you can go from law-abiding to criminal, by law, simply by pacing back and forth across this imaginary line.

Laws against actual wrongs like murder are less variable. You can't take someone on a road trip to find a place where killing them for a reason other than self-defense is legal. These types of laws are legitimate... and unnecessary. A law forbidding murder doesn't need to exist before you to have the natural human right to fight back and stop someone from committing murder.

A good illustration of the arbitrary nature of laws are the various laws concerning guns.

There is no such thing as an illegal gun or a legitimate anti-gun law according to the clear language of the U. S. Constitution. You'd never know this by looking at the thousands of laws which have been passed and are being enforced by the national, state, and local political class. These illegitimate gun laws create an arbitrary patchwork for travelers to navigate in a fruitless attempt to try to stay legal as they travel.

Laws concerning the substances commonly called "drugs" are the same way. Depending on which side of a line you find yourself, you might be law-abiding or you might be a criminal.

Even kids' lemonade stands are subjected to laws. They remain legal, without permits, in only fifteen states. This is so ridiculous that one thoughtful lemonade mix company has set up a program to help kids pay fines and license fees.

Yet some people still seem to believe if something is illegal it's automatically wrong. This has never been true.

While most laws are illegitimate, you can't safely ignore them. Every law, no matter how seemingly trivial, is a threat to kill you if you are caught ignoring it. This threat isn't usually carried out immediately; those enforcing the law must normally escalate their enforcement attempts a few times before that happens. Yet it does happen.

Do you see the problem? Illegitimate laws poison society. They get in the way of telling right from wrong.

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Fireworks stand update.

Well, that turned out even worse than I feared. We lost money on the fireworks stand.

I realize I have a near-magical ability to cause money to flee from my presence, but this is ridiculous. We were told we would "make so much money" from running a stand, by someone who has been running one for 30 years. All the qualifiers cropped up after we were committed.

I had been afraid we would end up not making much, but now that my dad (who was actually running the stand) has gotten the check from the fireworks company, we discover that they didn't pay us 15% of what we sold, but 15% of their profits on what we sold-- a big difference. One which we have no way of verifying and which wasn't made clear in the paperwork, if it was mentioned at all.

I've already written about the troubles we had. But I was still believing we would end up with a little money out of the two week's work. Nope. It cost us more to run the stand than we got in the end, which was $298 split two ways after some of the operating expenses were subtracted. And those operating expenses didn't include things like the gasoline for running back and forth between home and the stand. Plus they required us to buy other supplies-- some of which we didn't actually need. Almost every issue we had we were told "that's YOUR responsibility".

Well, screw them.

Needless to say, I am not very impressed with Mr. W Fireworks right now. Not impressed at all.

Their lack of support was appalling. Their lack of communication was almost as bad. I don't feel they were honest dealers. If you ever decide to run a fireworks stand, avoid that company. And if I buy fireworks in the future, it won't be from one of their stands.

Update to the update--
We looked over the records we kept and discovered they were claiming we turned in a lot less money than we did. So we contacted them and provided all the evidence they demanded. They finally "discovered" that they hadn't counted our largest deposit, so they sent another check. But, suddenly they decided we had turned in a lot less unsold inventory than we should have, so they deducted that amount from the new check- which ended up being most of what we should have gotten in that check. So we came closer to breaking even, but not a lot. Mr. W Fireworks is NOT an honest company-- either that or they are completely incompetent (or both). Avoid them!

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