Enacting new laws reminds me of an old acquaintance of mine who had squirreled away so much stuff in his garage that he could never find what he needed so would head to the nearest hardware or auto store and buy “another” one. As a matter of fact, his garage was so packed that he had trouble even entering it. Which is a perfect description of the state of our legal system. Each new politician entering the “ivory tower” already has in mind an idea for new laws – while there probably are already many more on the books that more than adequately cover the situation. What would be unique would be the mindset of these new “lawmakers” to repeal most of the ones that neither add nor detract from the basic originals.
Thou shalt not kill. When you total up the insane number of laws related to killing, it’s disgusting. Kill an “ordinary” person; a policeman; a child; a farmer; a teacher; a Jew; a white/a black; a Muslim; a Christian … it’s endless. Was he/she killed with a hammer; a saw; a stick; a trap; a gun; a rope; a washing machine … it’s all the same: they’re dead. To take someone’s life should have consequences: imprisonment or death if it is intentional and premeditated, or carelessly accidental. I suppose one could find other reasons if the mindset is to fine-tune for some insidious reason. On the other side of the coin is protection of one’s own life and property or others’ lives and property that could only be accomplished by the death of the perpetrator.
I’m reminded of the famous Eighteenth Century Historian, Edward Gibbon’s account of law-making in his “Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.” He cites Cicero’s statement that the brief composition of the Decemvirs surpasses in genuine value the great Grecian libraries of philosophy. In Rome, the weight of the new laws was so great that the immensity of them was more intolerable than the vices of the city. The Decemvirs had a solution. When a Locrian proposed a new law, he came before the assembly with a cord around his neck. If the people rejected the proposition, the politician was promptly strangled. Perhaps if a similar requirement were placed on today’s legislators, there would be much more thought and reasoning to the result of such action as to render it a bad idea to begin with. I suggest that if one appeared before a legislative body with any destructive legislation in mind that he be reminded of the Locrians of the past. Take “common core,” “global warming,” “Law of the Sea treaty,” condemning coal mining and coal-fired power plants. I’m sure most anyone could add, ad infinitum, to the list of outright stupid, insidious and destructive legislation now being enforced or proposed.
Edward Gibbon was a historian. He passed on to us, as well as many other historians have, what has passed before us for our education and as a light to shine ahead. It has been said that if we fail to comprehend history, we will likely repeat it. If we learn from history, our future quite possibly will be much brighter. It’s not smart to keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
Now don’t forget to vote! Remember the past five years.
And let’s keep some “cord” handy.