Over the past couple years, I’ve bookmarked hundreds of news stories on stupid laws that take away our liberties.
Stories like how New York has amped up its fines on people who smoke in public parks. And how the great business minds who run Portland, Ore, have fined Groupon nearly $900,000 for…
Coupons, apparently, are considered anti competitive to the limo industry, which is highly regulated in Portland.
In the two days it took me to build this site over the weekend, I bookmarked seven stories on intrusive laws.
One was good: The Obama Administration, after facing a firestorm of complaints, reversed its decision to increase restrictions on how kids can work on farms.
The others weren’t good. At least not if you like freedom.
I’ll continue chronicling the antics of prying politicians and busybody bureaucrats on Breaking the Law’s new Diigo site.
One thing I’m certain of from this bookmarking madness is that the slippery slope is real. One thing, good or bad, naturally begets another. When you give someone power, they want more of it. When you take a little freedom away here, it becomes easier to take another one there.
We can see this on hundreds of issues, perhaps smoking most noticeably. Remember when municipalities, and then California, started banning smoking in restaurants?
It seemed Orwellian. I certainly never thought it would come to the South. Well, I’ll be…This process took only 10 years or so.
That’s more than a slippery slope.
It’s a water slide.
The scary part is that it’s easy to demagogue these issues:
We want to protect children against mangling their tiny hands in power tillers. We want to save hard-working limo drivers from destitution. We want to prevent people from killing themselves with cancerous, smelly smoke.
How can you argue with that?
The first step is to know that almost every mandate has a good goal. The second step is to know–because it’s the truth–that every mandate takes someone’s freedom away and that most of them have unforseen side effects.
The third step? I don’t know. Maybe it’s getting more media out there skeptical of government intrusion. More blogs. More newspaper stories. More TV programs.
As a former newspaper journalist, I can tell you J school taught me, incorrectly of course, that every problem needed a government solution.
Just wait till some kid loses his hand in a freak accident in Iowa. You’ll see headlines and Op-eds crying for the federal government to protect children from farm work.
And so, the slippery slope gets slipperier.