You can’t legislate behavior or regulate appetite.

Posted: March 2, 2012 in Big Government, Favorite Posts, Libertarianism
Tags: , , , , , ,

You can’t regulate appetite.

We continue to hear that greed is the cause of our nations problems. Am I wrong when I say that greed is a basic human instinct?

We are individuals that want and desire things to improve our lives, entertain us, or satisfy any appetite that we may have be it nutritional, sexual, vanity based, etc.

This yearning to satisfy our appetites does not only hold true on the individual level, it applies to our family units, workplaces, sports teams, etc.

Consider, we feel bad if the family down the street loses their house but every person thinks, better them than me. Our businesses compete to get the most and best customers at the expense of our competition. We cheer for our sports teams to win at the expense of all of the fans of the other team who will lose.

We are greedy, we want what is best for us as individuals and as groups of like minded individuals.

Sure there are caveats to each of those situations, we may raise money to help the family down the street or let them stay in our extra room for awhile, but we don’t trade them places. We may not intrude on another businesses turf simply out of respect for the man operating it, but if their customer comes to us we take them. We’ve all been preached to about good sportsmanship. But still we seek what benefits us and satisfies our appetite whatever it may be.

I suppose it is obvious that there is a form of greed that is bad and negatively effects the lives of unwilling participants. I would call this merciless greed. People engaging in merciless greed are actively pursuing what they want and desire with the knowledge that they are infringing on the life, liberty, or property of others in doing so. They are criminals of natural law, and violate said law for the embitterment of their own lives.

With all of that said, why does our government pass laws and regulations attempting to engineer behavior and regulate appetite.

Drug laws have not stopped drug usage.

Illegalizing prostitution has not stopped prostitution.

Taxing cigarettes has not eliminated smoking.

Banning smoking in private establishments has not stopped smoking.

Illegalizing the sale of alcohol on Sundays didn’t ever stop people from drinking on Sundays, it just made them plan ahead a day.

Not allowing homosexuals to get married has not kept homosexuality from existing, it is an infringement on the liberty of that group.

People who want to do harmful things to themselves will always find a way to satisfy that appetite.

This is true regardless of government imposed rules and regulations, why are our prisons full of repeat drug offenders? If the system of drug law and imprisonment worked, they would never come back a 2nd, 3rd, 4th time…..

The law is intended to protect an individual or groups life, liberty, or property from being negatively effected by the actions of another individual or group.

Any infringement of their life, liberty, or property is punishable by the enforcement of law. Where does this cover self destructive behavior? Or, immoral or religiously unsatisfactory behavior between consenting adults?

The reason for the existence of law is not to tell people what they can and can’t do to themselves.

People as an individual or as a group should be able to freely practice whatever they want as long as it does not infringe on the life, liberty, or property of another individual or group of unwilling participants.

You can’t legislate behavior.

Our nation has begun to legislate based on principle and morality and begun to shy away from the basic rights of natural law. Principle and morality are virtues that an individual or group instills in its children or members. In my opininon, these virtues should be carried through life and applied to daily activities right alongside natural law. But, it is not up to government to enforce morality or principle on citizens, as some may not share the same morals or principles. This enforcement of virtues is a perversion of the law that is not effective for government and is counterproductive for fostering morality and principle in the population.

This is not a fact based post, this post is my assessment of current conditions. If you disagree with me please help me understand a different viewpoint. I encourage respectful and courteous discussion.

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Comments
  1. Jeff says:

    For some reason, I never read this post before. I agree with you about behavior-based legislation. As a general rule, the law should stick to protecting life, liberty, and property. That sometimes becomes clouded, however. I would like to ask you, as a libertarian, what should be done to prevent an unregulated free market from leading to the kind of corporate dictatorship we see today. In other words, those with the gold are always going to make the rules. This is where I break from the Libertarians. While many regulations go too far, there has to be someone watching to make sure the wolf isn’t about to come to the door. What’s the solution here? How do we get rid of the stupid regulations without getting rid of the ones that we need?

    • swburke21 says:

      Here’s the major difference between an unregulated free market and the facist government/corporate partnership.

      An unregulated market doesn’t raise armies and enforce the purchase of products or services by the way of the gun, the government/corporate partnership has, does, and will. If an unregulated market was allowed to exist it would be Anarchy (and I do mean anarchy, not chaos). I don’t personally think that Anarchy can work because there are always men with big ideas who are not afraid to exploit others in order to benefit themselves, this is where I think government can play a vital role. I am for a limited, defined government that is held accountable by its people.

      Maybe I don’t follow strict Libertarian stances, Im not sure, but I am for free markets (I find a significant difference between Free Markets and Unregulated Markets). I don’t want to see tariffs, embargos, sanctions, etc., let the market decide what product succeeds. The role of the government is to make sure that the law is fairly applied to all competitors and that no one business is given an unfair advantage over another through the enforcement of the law.

      In my estimation most of the regulations in place have actually created an environment that benefits the mega wealthy over the little guy. The road blocks and obstacles created by government are de-motivational, difficult to maneuver, and often lead to the demise of start ups. Massive amounts of deregulation need to occur to level the playing field. I have seen many of these intrusive regulations first hand and seen the limits that are put on small businesses as a result. I have also seen and gladly participated in regulations that exist with good reason…..it’s not cut and dry in my opinion.

  2. Jeff says:

    Couldn’t agree more. The real question becomes, “how do you get people out of the two-party, left versus right, mindset?” I’ll admit, it’s hard. There are differences in the two parties. But as my friend says, they’re arguing over sprinkles while the ice cream melts.

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