It is thought that what makes America great is that we are a nation of laws. Having laws that are written down allows each of us to know what is expected of us and what we can expect of our government and fellow citizens. That is the good part. The bad part is we have millions upon millions of laws, rules and regulations.
Why do we have so many laws, rules and regulations? Because we do not always do what our fellow citizens think we should do. Consider this: if we would act in a certain way without being forced there would be no reason whatsoever for the government to get involved. And there is the rub with our freedom. Every day in every way some busy-body thinks of a new constraint on our actions.
Some rules and some laws make good sense while others seem a giant leap from our senses. Example: I firmly believe that seat belts and air bags have made our lives much safer. And, they would not have been adopted if our government had not lead the charge.
On the other side of smart is the never-ending need of some people to make rules and regulation to keep us safe from ourselves. That is always a journey in the valley of stupid. Recently the New York City government put a ban on sugary drinks that exceed 16 ounces. You can have as many drinks as you want, but only in a 16 ounce cup. So that rule asks: why not buy two drinks if I want 32 ounces of sugar poison? Why indeed.
This imposition of a size of drink is just the nose of the camel under the tent flap. Today the focus is on 16 ounces or less for drinks. Tomorrow, I suspect that sugar drinks will be deader than Elvis. I can see in the coming ages the adage, if it tastes good spit it out because it cannot be good for you.
We are a nation of abundance such that many of us, myself included, have stored up plenty of extra calories in case of a famine. I am good for several years. And while I do some gerbil on the wheel activity I am not so active that I go back to my high school nickname of “Slim.” No, when someone calls me slim it is not said with respect.
The development of rules will always starts with something that one person thinks another person should be compelled to do. Again, if we would just do it when someone asks us there would be no need for a rule. Alas, most of us are contrarians in that anything you want us to do, tell us to not do it. We do not always see how much we do based on other people wanting us to do things.
We are all criminals in our country because there are so many laws, rules and regulations that each of us is breaking something even right now. Which one? Who knows? They are as many as the stars and contradictory so that if you follow one law you may be breaking another.
This allows government to pick and choose when to sanction each of us in the form of a tax upon our liberty and bank account. In the last year were several laws that brought thousands upon thousands of new rules to Americans. These laws with several thousand pages are full of ways we Americans must change our behaviors.
Can we walk back from the edge? I doubt it. There is a culture of doing what government tells us to do which is quite foreign to me. I believe we Americans can be trusted to handle much of our own lives or face the consequences ourselves. The government cannot protect us from ourselves and I wish they would stop. My choice of beverage size is really my own business.
Dr. Michael Swickard is co-host of radio talk show News New Mexico 6 to 9 a.m. Monday - Friday on a number of New Mexico radio stations and through streaming. Email: email@example.com