With the beginning of the year, we Illinoisans are subject to 300 new laws – 300 more laws, on top of the myriad on the books already; not to mention the thousands of local ordinances and federal statutes that regulate, condition, prescribe and proscribe our behavior. It’s truly said that we are a nation of laws, laws in ever-increasing abundance and, we’re assured, always enacted for the public good. No other Americans have had to obey as many laws as we do today – but do you feel you’ve benefited from them? Do you feel dangers have been averted or problems solved? Do you feel safe?
While it might authorize punishment for doing harm, the fact is that no law can truly protect you, nor can it enable you to do what you couldn’t do before; it can only take that power from you. Every time a law is passed, you lose the freedom to do something you might have done, or to refrain from something you didn’t have to do til now, without risking fine or imprisonment. Everything that is illegal today was once left entirely up to you and your good judgment. Have you become less trustworthy? Less responsible?
If Tom Paine and H.D. Thoreau were right that ‘that government governs best which governs least’, it seems that we have an awful lot of bad government, whether it’s Republicans or Democrats in charge. What we need are those, such as the Libertarians, who are truly committed to the idea of reducing not just government but governing, and giving you back the power that’s been taken from you.
Chair, DuPage Libertarians