Sunday, August 15, 2021

Legislative damage takes time to undo

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for July 14, 2021)

Why are legislative messes so quick to be made but so slow to be removed once in place? After they are shown to move society further from the goal used to justify them, they should be immediately reversed.

If politicians can hide their mistakes without admitting or reversing them-- and get away with it-- that's what they'll do.

At most, cleaning up these messes is done piece by piece, as though searching for a way to keep as much of the mistake around for as long as possible.

Even the failed scheme of alcohol prohibition is still around; handed off to local governments, rather than completely reversed by the 21st Amendment in 1933. Governments are still allowed to get away with unconstitutional restrictions, taxes, and enforcement powers. The ghost of alcohol prohibition still haunts America. It's why there are still "dry counties", liquor licenses, and Sunday alcohol sales bans. If it's wrong when done by the federal government, it's still wrong when done locally.

It's happening again with drug prohibition. It hit society all at once-- not coincidentally just as the federal government was looking for excuses to keep employing all the useless prohibition enforcers-- but only gets removed a little at a time, state by state. Never enough to stop the prohibition-fueled violence.

Maybe it's finally moving in the right general direction, but replacing the eased prohibitions with prohibitions on new things-- vaping for example-- isn't a net gain. Government has never had any business being involved with what people voluntarily consume.

It's the same story with gun prohibition. Sure, more states than ever have passed watered-down relief for the rights violations, dishonestly calling it "Constitutional carry" when the Constitution allows no exceptions whatsoever, but other states and the federal government keep looking for new ways to enslave Americans on the perverse altar of "public safety".

It's said people get what they vote for, but most people either voted for the opposite or didn't vote at all. They shouldn't be shackled with the bad ideas other people supported. Those who vote for something should be the only ones who have to live under it; let everyone else be exempt.

Liberty must be restored, in every case where it has been criminalized and regulated with legislation. No matter what excuses are used to keep violating natural human rights-- even those rights you care nothing about-- it needs to be stopped.

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Encounter at the thrift store

I was in a thrift store this weekend and an older guy with a little "service" dog approached me with some mystery kitchen appliance and wanted to know if I knew what it was. I didn't, but I looked up the answer on my phone. He thanked me, then, out of nowhere as I was turning to leave, asked if I'm a Democrat. 

I guess he doesn't read my newspaper columns.

I said, "No, I'm a libertarian so I don't believe in any of that government stuff."

He appeared shocked. He said he likes government because it does things for us and gives us stuff. I said, "Yeah, paid for with money stolen from us, after they skim their cut off the top. I'd rather they just go away. I don't need them."

Then it happened. I've never gotten the "But who would build the roads?" question in real life, but he actually asked in those exact words.

I said, "Don't you think businesses would build roads so you could get to them and spend money?"

He said "Well, they might, but why would they build roads to...?"...and he paused. I saw the wheels turning. He said, "Oh, I guess the roads would have to go everywhere or it wouldn't work..."

I mean, has he never actually thought any of this through?

So, he suddenly changed course and started asking if I'd had the "vaccine". Normally, I wouldn't even answer such a question, but this guy was fun, so I said "No, I decided against getting the rushed-through Trump vaccine". Again, he looked like a deer-in-the-headlights. 

He finally found his voice and said, "Well, the vaccine was the right thing for Trump to do, but anyone would have known that and done the same thing and everyone knew it could be done fast." Strange, I remember hearing the opposite: that a vaccine would take years, and Trump was lying when he said it could be developed quicker. But memory is easy to re-write.

He started telling me how many thousands of people are dying because they won't get the vaccines. I said, "Why would I believe those numbers? Or anything government sources claim?" He said "But government... but why... You don't believe them?" Could he finally be getting the picture?

So then he asked, "You didn't support Trump, either?" I said, "No. Like I said, I don't support any of that".

I left him there pondering and mumbling to the air (honestly, it sounded like he was trying to reassure himself) and I went on about my business.

I was later told that local businesses don't like him because his little dog poops in the stores and he won't clean up the mess. Why was I not surprised?


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