Requirements for behavioral laws

Michael Z. Williamson explains things:

Behavioral laws require three components to be effective.  They must accurately describe an action that causes harm to others. They must propose a penalty that disincentivizes the activity. They must be enforceable.

And correctly concludes:

The recent catchphrase is some variation of, “Well, you gun nuts need to come up with something, because doing nothing is no longer an option.”

In response:  People who make this statement have been doing “something” for over 150 years, to the tune of 20,000 federal, state and local laws. Despite all that, they are insisting “nothing” has been done, an admission that they believe it was all worthless, pointless and to no effect.

They are absolutely correct.

This demonstrates two things.

First, that people with no knowledge of the subject shouldn’t be attempting to create legislation.

Second, that all those laws should be repealed.

Every single one.


3 thoughts on “Requirements for behavioral laws

  1. The fact that they don’t work is a good reason to repeal them. The fact that there are too many for anyone to know what they are is also a good reason to repeal them (see The Federalist #62).

    But the best reason of all is the one that wasn’t mentioned: the fact that they all violate the Constitution.

  2. That is actually a fourth component to behavioral laws as Paul Koning suggests; the laws should be knowable. And over arching the four components, he is right completely that they violate the Constitution.

    • Yes, that’s Madison’s point in Federalist 62:

      “It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be tomorrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?” — James Madison (in Federalist #62).

      Nowadays, it’s easy to demonstrate that the laws are not knowable: the Federal Register runs at least 200 pages every day. I say that no person in the USA knows what the laws are (note that “laws” includes regulations promulgated under color of law) since no one has the resources or patience to read that much crud every day.

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