Yesterday’s post about the false dichotomy of the Republicans and the Democrats and their capitalizing on the tragic events of our time has caused me to think about another aspect of politics that really bothers me. Why is it that every time something tragic happens government thinks that they need to pass yet another law? It doesn’t necessarily even need to be a violent crime. It can because someone crossed a crosswalk at the wrong time and got serious hurt. There is clamoring for a new law or regulation.
Just for a second, lets imagine a grocery store that decided to create a new rule every time a customer injured themselves while in the store. Also, lets say this same store added a rule for every known theft that occurred on their premises. While we are hypothesizing, let’s say (just for arguments sake) that they would close the store at the time that the thefts or injuries happened because they believed the time of the day was the reason for the incident. Eventually, you wouldn’t be able to walk into the grocery store because they would have so many mandatory closing times, that they would probably only be open about 5 minutes every day.
I know that example is a bit exaggerated and absurd. But it helps me to illustrate my point. Eventually every new regulation or law builds on the other. It’s like a wall. Each brick makes it harder and harder for people to live. It traps freedom.
Earlier this month, we talked about not allowing emotions to override our principles. This is exactly what is happening when we allow our reactions to events dictate our laws. We are not looking at founding principles to guide our decisions. We are putting governing ideals ahead of what might feel right at the time.
I am currently reading the Steven R. Covey classic, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. While, I am enjoying the read from a personal level. I am amazed at how much we can learn about politics. The first habit Covey talks about is Proactivity. While he goes into it more in depth than would be appropriate four our discussion, one of the concepts of proactivity is avoiding reactivity. Avoid allowing the emotion of the moment to over take you.
I feel the first habit of proactivity is help by the third habit which is putting first things first. Putting our priorities in order is about having a foundation in principles that govern your actions. Again the concept of principle before emotion is presented.
If we could only get our politicians, regardless of which side of the proverbial fence they are one, to recognized that reactionary law making is part of the problem, perhaps we could have more principle based laws, which if those principles were founded in liberty and personal responsibility we would move back toward the country our founders were trying to establish.