Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 435, September 16, 2007

"Electoral politics has failed."

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If I Were King
by Dick Wetherbee

Credit The Libertarian Enterprise

Only one of my acquaintances has been murdered by police. Only a few of my friends are in prison for bogus reasons. Almost everyone I know worries when he/she sees a police car in the rearview mirror. Nonetheless I am told that I live in the freest country in the world. I am not sure if I can explain why I feel safer in some of the most lawless parts of the world than I do in my own country. In the third world most problems have a solution, the right word, the appropriate bribe and everyone parts friends, generally with one of us poorer. Worse things have happened.

Here, for the smallest and silliest of reasons you can find yourself caught in a never-ending system from which there is no escape. Please, can I have a system of simple laws so I know that if I do the crime I either pay the fine or do the time? I believe that, honestly, I can claim that I never assaulted and all my frauds were small, but I am never sure whether I am a criminal or not.

I very much believe in, hope for, desire the rule of law, but when I recognize that it is an impossible dream I want some nice simple corruption that I can manipulate and understand. A $20 bribe for speeding, $40 for a bar fight, $100 for smuggling sounds almost like the rule of law in a lawless way.

If I were king, I think I could get by with no more than 4 rules, which I would enforce harshly. Those and no others.

If you were king and presented me with only 4 or even 10 commandments, I would say, "hail to the king" even if I disagreed with one or two.

If you were king and presented me with 1000s of pages of ambiguous rules, I would do everything I could to subvert you, including bribing your minions.

This was a long ramble to make the point that given a simple, unambiguous set of rules, even if I do not like them, I could be your servant.

A huge, unintelligible, mass of regulations creates outlaws.

Outlaws are not always libertarians, but they are rarely stateists.


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