Thursday, November 29, 2007

Searching for answers, coming up with laws

Dom at Bettnet has a couple of related posts recently well worth noting,  Can't Legislate Common Sense  and Every problem, a crisis.  His response to the Boston city council trying to legislate against every stupid act that ends in tragedy got me to thinking.  Specifically,

The only solution to this tragedy and others like it does not come written on a ticket or a summons. It is simple common sense and that’s not something you can legislate.

Unfortunately, people don’t want to hear that. They want to be told that the Columbine and Virginia Tech killers could have been stopped with more gun control laws. They want to be told that wildfires and earthquakes and plane crashes could be prevented with more regulation and red tape. What they don’t want to be told is that sometimes bad things happen in a fallen world and sometimes those bad things happen because a nice kid with a life full of opportunity does something stupid

Every time I hear the excuse or complaint that God wouldn't allow that or why is there evil in the world, I consider the same thing.  

What is so hard to understand about personal responsibility?

I do stupid thing, I get lazy, trying to do my seatbelt after I started onto the street and wham, a cop drives by.  Suddenly I am looking at $140 fine.  I could rant and rave about the draconian laws in this goofy state, the cops paying more attention to the money making seatbelt infraction rather than dangerous drivers and blame anybody but me.  But even if they are true, where did the responsibility lie and who failed?  I did, I knew the law (disagreed with it, but I knew it) and didn't comply.

Same with evil.  Same with tragedy.  Did I do anything to prevent it?  The article doesn't talk about the death or quote anybody involved.  I assume the parties involved are horrified and deeply affected.  But how many times do we hear someone close to the situation ask why nobody did anything?  Why is this allowed?  Well, the solution begins with number 1.  The person asking the question. 

It ties right into his second post

This is an entirely predictable reaction. Politicians—on both sides of the aisle—have trained us to believe that every problem in society is a crisis and every crisis requires a drastic solution and those drastic solutions can only be devised through arcane legislation passed by those very politicians (who helpfully include earmarked spending for government contractors in their districts) who are so necessary to fixing anything and so brave to stand up and call a molehill, a mountain.

Seatbelts, car-seats for kids into their teens, "Caution, this package of peanuts may contain nuts" ....  We have all seen them, ludicrous laws aimed to protect every idiot in the ever growing nanny state.  Well, for every idiotic law, there will be an idiot willing to ignore it or even flaunt it.  I did.  When I was younger I couldn't stand the political push behind the seatbelt propaganda.  As a grade-schooler, I recognized it for what it was, manipulating statistics to change behavior.  I rebelled.  I wouldn't wear my seatbelt just because I didn't want to be told how to live.  I realize that seatbelts do save lives, but they aren't divine intervention.

So what is it that "people don't want to hear" or what is it about "the fallen world" that scares people into running to the government for help? 

I would wager that many of them don't have faith.  I could be wrong, but the worry mongers strike me as people that encounter death and have no answers.  Suddenly the veil is pulled back, a glimpse of mortality reveals the meaninglessness of a materialistic life.  Quickly they recover and re-cover that glimpse.  Then "rationally" they move on to look for a solution to tragedy. 

Perhaps sometimes tragedy is just that.  Tragedy. 

Mourn, learn and don't repeat.  But as band-aids don't fix mortal wounds, more laws aren't going to fix every tragedy.

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