“We need to move away from the idea that every act we find immoral, repugnant, or unsavory needs to be criminalized.”

The Law

“Every new criminal law gives prosecutors more power,” writes Radley Balko. “Once we have so many laws that it’s likely we’re all breaking at least one of them, the prosecutor’s job is no longer about enforcing the laws, but about choosing which laws to enforce.”

And when Balko writes about the growth in our criminal code, he’s not kidding:

There have been a number of projects that attempted to count the total number of federal criminal laws. They usually give up. The federal criminal code is just too complex, too convoluted, and too weighted down with duplications, overlapping laws, and other complications to come to a definite number. But by most estimates, there are at least 4,000 separate criminal laws at the federal level, with another 10,000 to 300,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally. Just this year 400 new federal laws took effect, as did 29,000 new state laws. The civil libertarian and defense attorney Harvey Silverglate has argued that most Americans now unknowingly now commit about three felonies per day.

But you, citizen, are expected to know and comply with all of these laws. That isn’t possible, of course. It would probably take you most of the year to understand them all, at which point you’d have the next year’s batch of new laws to learn. You’d probably also need to hire a team of attorneys to help you translate the laws into terms you can understand. After the McCain-Feingold legislation passed in 2003, for example, both parties held weekly, three-hour classes just to educate members of Congress on how to comply with the bill they had just passed. This is a bill they wrote that applied to themselves, and they still had to bring in high-paid lawyers explain to them how not to break it.

Ignorantia legis neminem excusat. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.

Except, what if there are so many laws that not even the lawmakers themselves can follow them?

In addendum to Balko’s examples, what of the prodigious number of Obama administration members who were also tax violators up to and including outgoing Secretary of the Treasury Tim “Turbo Tax” Geithner who was, ostensibly, also head of the IRS?

And still we want more. We criminalize certain sizes of ammunition magazines. We criminalize certain sizes of fountain drinks. We have laws of everything to the point where it’s hard to have a lot of respect for the law at all.

Famed New York Congressman Fiorello La Guardia said of alcohol prohibition that it created “contempt and disregard for the law all over the country.”

That’s what’s happening with our endless proliferation of laws from both the state and federal level. Every year sees more laws and regulations passed that Americans must comply with, and every year our respect for the rule of law falls a little further.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Neiman

    There has been little respect for the law for decades, it is only getting worse, it is not a new phenomenon. When we see government officials at all levels able to break the law without penalty and people excused from penalty by good crying over their being disadvantaged and the Bill of Rights becoming a joke, why should the average person respect the law.

    Once the Constitution can be violated, it being the Law of our country, it is all a cheap house of cards and it comes falling down.

    There is also an argument for far too many laws, which contributes to a break down in enforcement, it just costs too much.

    However, what you are really arguing for is free sex, free drugs and rock and roll and no moral restraints, the Libertarian cry for moral anarchy; but, too many laws, laws not being enforced and moral anarchy are all equally harmful to a free and prosperous people. So, to agree with you on the former, is no excuse fro any decent people to agree with you on the latter.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      “We need to move away from the idea that every act we find immoral, repugnant, or unsavory needs to be criminalized.”

      I suspect you have a lot of trouble with that statement, Neiman.

      • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

        Neiman seems more the Sadducee or Pharisee than like Christ who, after all, came to save sinners, not the righteous. Instance after instance in the Bible. The Law cannot save you.

        • Spartacus

          Spot on. As I’ve told him before I’d fight to the death to protect his right to free speech even though I disagree with his religious perspective as I’m on the borderline of agnostic and atheist, if he had to build a righteous army I think he’d find himself standing pretty much alone. Alienating friends is often easier than choosing enemies.

          • Neiman

            I have no desire to build anything, certainly no army. Until Hugo Black and FDR, we were a good people, a mostly Christian people; and we sought and followed as best we could the moral truths taught in Holy Scripture.

            I would remind you, if you have ever read the Bible or heard much of it, that Jesus said he came to divide even members of families against each other and that His children would, in His place, cause divisions, because they teach Christ and Him resurrected and to the world that idea is hateful indeed and any call for repentance, a core Christian ministry, causes great violence among men.

          • Spartacus

            Keep preaching that history book that the European churches bastardized for their own gain during the dark ages as gospel truth. If a woman doesn’t drown when dunked in water then she must be a witch, If a third degree burn doesn’t heal within a week the the accused must be guilty.If that’s what YOUR God calls justice do you see why I have no faith in him?

          • Spartacus

            Good God Neiman. How many innocent people were burned at the stake for being witches in Salem by your church because of the wheat and rye crop being infected with ergot fungus? Quite a benevolent God you worship there demanding witches be burned at the stake. At least the Muslims have the decency to make it a bit more quick and painless by slowly slitting your throat with a sharp knife while decapitating you.

          • Neiman

            Yes God is good!

            About 23 to 26 by other methods, but One common misbelief about the 1692 Salem Witch Trials is that condemned
            witches were burned at the stake. There are no records of anyone having
            died in this fashion. Several other excruciating methods of death were
            used instead.

            Read more: How Many Witches Were Burned at the Stake at the Salem Witch Trials? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_6950691_many-stake-salem-witch-trials_.html#ixzz2IO0TpiXi

            Many people, some very sincere and wrong, quite a few quite evil, used God’s Word falsely to justify their cruelty and demonstrate their ignorance; but none of it sanctioned by the words or actions of Christ Jesus; thus, they were all acting outside the faith in most, if not all, of these deaths.

          • Spartacus

            Save it Neiman for someone that will buy it. The dark ages were named as such because the only ones that remained literate were the monks in the monasteries and they manipulated text to their advantage. The only thing that prevented the Christian church from taking the path Islam has taken is the Magna Carta. And that’s all that separates you from an Islamist, and you’re blurring the line. Get used to it.

          • Neiman

            The monks and the Catholic Church were not and are not the Church of Jesus Christ. They are religious people, seeking to control men by fear of God by applying rules no man can master and thus they can be manipulated. Your ignorance of the Church and of Christ is what has blinded you to the Truth, you see the evil men do and blame the Church they falsely cling to, but you cannot find these sins in the words and actions of Christ and he is the only true Church, it is His Body.

            If you would know about Christianity, look only to Christ its Author and not at men that are infected with the same evil nature you possess, I possess and all men posses. It matters where we fix our gaze, upon men and all you will see is evil, no good at all. If they are fixed only in the Word upon Jesus, His Words, His actions alone – then you will see the true Church, not the one created by frail, finite men.

          • Mike

            Wow. Mr. Spartacus, you have either been the unfortunate subject of very errant world history, equating all of mankind to white European history, or you are intentionally erring in your pronouncement of world history.

          • Mike

            To extend and broaden your argument, Mr. Spartacus, we could also ask how many East Indians have participated in forcible group rapes. We must condemn all East Indians for being violent people.
            Sadly, we do that in too many ways, make blanket judgements based on narrowly confined events. In debate it’s called “guilt by association. Because of one such incident, all who associate are guilty.
            That’s where the idea that all Native Americans are drunks.
            On the other hand there is innocence by association. The schools, the hospitals, the disaster relief efforts started by those who believe the Bible would mean that all Bible-believing people are hospital workers, disaster relief workers and have started schools in their unschooled towns.
            Neither is true.

          • SusanBeehler

            “Because of one such incident, all who associate are guilty.” This is exactly what many bloggers do on this site, they want to label everything in all or nothing terms, right or left, liberal or conservative.

          • Spartacus

            You make a fair point, but you’ve got only one problem that’s ruined by every point I’ve made. There is likely no God and if there is one he’s not the benevolent being you profess. All you have to look at is human history. The east indians were never in or a danger to humanity until Chris Columbus found them. What happened next? They might have been pagans by your point of view, but for thousands of years your God didn’t seem to care. That is until your ancestors arrived an started murdering them in the name of God and country….. and filling their kings treasury (and lining their pockets) with Gold. Gold, the real God.

            From my religious perspective, which is none, there’s not a lot of difference between Christians or Druids, etc and Muslims, other than the former has had a slight advantage in evolving, but not much. All are merciless murderers killing in the name of a blood thirsty God. If you disagree with my analysis then feel free to differentiate yourself, I’ll listen but please tell me something your kind hasn’t told others before, we grow weary of your sanctimonious lies.

          • Zog

            Oops. The Puritans didn’t bur witches – they hung them. You’re mixing European and American history.

          • Spartacus

            I suppose you meant to say “burned”, not “bur”. I also suppose Puritans don’t get so hammered they can’t use a key board, so I’m probably wrong with all of my assumptions. Yes?

          • Matthew Hawkins

            Be easy on Neiman, he doesn’t understand Christianity.

          • Neiman

            The King James Version in the original ancient Hebrew, Greek and Arabic languages, when compared to the most ancient manuscripts or fragments extant and compared with the same things taught in the Old Testament, transcribed under most rigorous rules; show that it’s accuracy is so perfect, that the few incredibly minor errors would not impact any key doctrine of the faith. Further, God did not leave it up to man to translate the Bible, He offered the same essential doctrines through many scribes, in various ways, from Genesis to Revelations so that the Bible interprets itself, all by God’s Grace.

            True that men have used the Bible by erroneous translations and interpretations to bastardize Scripture, for many causes, often by most sincere Christians and also by evil men seeking power over others. That is why God tells us that Divine Truth is only spiritually discerned, by that Holy Spirit indwelling every true believer. While even then there can be confusion, among the faithful, those truly born again believers, it is amazing how exactly they have seen God’s Truth.

            No God does not call these things Justice, these are perversions of men, as I said some by good men in error and some by evil men. But, this is all caused because men are religious by nature and Christianity is not a religion, that is a list of religious requirements of things to do and not to do, it is a new birth of the spiritual nature of man and a personal relationship with Jesus; wherein is only Love and perfect Justice. It is a lifelong journey to be sure and all of us, especially me, fall short of that degree of intimacy with Christ that removes all errors, for which I need repent to God and man for my poor example. In Him there is a new life, perfect in spirit, while in the flesh we all struggle and often fail in the school of Christ; but, in the end all is made perfect in the Beloved.

            Any man concerned about the errors and faults, should look for Christ in the Bible, examine His Words and the actions of His life, not of believers, not looking at doctrines, but searching to find the Divine Person of Jesus there; and, excluding all else, I promise that all questions will be answered completely and no doubts will remain. Look at me and it is a messy business to be sure, I am frail and weak; but not Him and if I am frail and weak, it is because too often my eyes are not on Him, but on my flesh and the world.

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            I would remind you, if you have ever read the Bible or heard much of it, that Jesus said he came to divide even members of families against each other and that His children would, in His place, cause divisions, because they teach Christ and Him resurrected and to the world that idea is hateful indeed and any call for repentance, a core Christian ministry, causes great violence among men.

            It scares me that you don’t realize how absolutely insane that is.

          • Neiman

            Not at all. First, that is what Jesus declared would be the result of faith in Him and His Salvation, that would be the result of His very existence; those in one’s own family and beyond recoiling at such faith would create those divisions. As all people sin, doing things even the worst of them know is evil; the one thing they cannot stand is to be around anyone that walks with God, as His righteousness in and through them casts a light on their own guilt of things which they did in dark corners, exposing them.

            “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

            Again in Luke 12:49-53, the Lord said: “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished! Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

            So, as shocking as it may sound, Jesus said that He came into this world to bring division; His very existence being the cause, His goodness being the cause, because men love their evil deeds and thus cannot stand anything that opposes them. Not that He actively causes division, but that those not in His light hate the light of His Perfect Life and Goodness.

            This early, the best example I can think of is the man with two sons, one a good and obedient son and the other seeking only the pleasure of the flesh. The second son will hate the good brother, because his goodness only makes his failures as a son and man more obvious by his presence, it is the story of Cain and Abel. You cannot blame Abel for the hate in Cain nor for Cain murdering him because he was a good son; but such is the war between good and evil that Cain must hate his good brother and that difference between them is the root cause of division. In that vein Christ cannot be blamed for men being divided, it is His goodness versus their evil that causes the division.

            Thank God that in Christ even the worst of us can find forgiveness and reconciliation with Him and each other.

          • Zog

            When you starved and massacred the native Indians into submission in the 19th century (long before Black and FDR), were you being a “good people”. Sorry Neiman but, no nation has a lock on morality.

          • Neiman

            I didn’t personally starve or massacre anyone.

            Your liberal view of what happened when Europeans came to this land is false and conveniently does not include the massacres of women and children by native Americans and their many, many atrocities. On the other hand, it is most true that the Native Americans were cheated and lied to in pursuit of Manifest Destiny and Slavery was a great evil; even though you liberals deliberately forget it was Africans that captured and sold them to Europeans and that until the Civil War, slavery for economic purposes and as a result of wars was quite common and not considered immoral in itself. That does not justify slavery or our treatment of Native Americans, but are only mentioned to correct your one-sided, American hating version of our history.

            We were mostly a Christian people, humane, charitable and by comparison mostly a good people, until your side kicked God out of the public square and that all changed as your side rushed into drugs and deviant sexual behavior.

          • Zog

            Me – liberal? Ye gods, you’re pulling my chain.”My side” didn’t kick God out of the public square as most of my family left the Excited States at the turn of the last century. Anyway, if you really think that “God has been kicked out of the public square” in the U.S., I strongly recommend a visit to Texas to get the sand brushed out of your eyes.

          • Neiman

            You sir/madam, have become a crashing bore, you no longer amuse me.

          • Lianne

            A drive along Hiway 40 in the western portion of Texas will do more than get the sand brushed out of one’s eyes.

        • Neiman

          You are sir, grossly ignorant of my consistent stance on Salvation by Grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone and not of any works of the flesh and your words above only prove your incredible, willful ignorance of my often stated belief. Yet, Salvation and the moral influence of the Church on society are two entirely different kettles of fish. I sue the fish metaphor deliberately.

          You sir, are also grossly ignorant of both of these Hebrew party’s and even more ignorant of Christ and His Church. While Jesus did not involve Himself in civil affairs, His mission being the Cross; He did not repudiate the law, He came – now pay attention – it is not your strong suit – He came to fulfill that Law, all of it perfectly and on our behalf. Wherein His Perfect obedience is credited to our account before God by faith. He said not the tiniest part of the Law would pass away, God demands absolute perfect obedience by everyone; but on our behalf Christ obeyed every dot and tittle of the Law for us, because we being weakened by the flesh could not. Yet, I would add that He also, as should every Christian, preached against sin and called for Repentance.

          We Christians, foreign people to you, are supposed to be salt and light in this world, while we are not to be much entangled with this world system as it is to our harm, we are to be a positive moral influence upon the people. In that regard, where Christianity has flourished due to the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the nation and people were transformed and their laws reflected the Spiritual light within the people; and, as the society prospered they became, as you, Rob and others here, hardened to sin and they have sought to cast off the Love of Christ; and like you and Rob, they have brought out the old, rotten Chestnut that we cannot legislate morality, as if every law is not an attempt to do just that, legislate moral conduct for the mutual benefit of the society. So, we Christians as long as we can, for everyone’s good, seek to influence the people and our governments to restrain the more destructive lusts of man for our mutual good; and we know that, just like now, every society will t some point reject that influence on their way to destruction and hell. But, as long as we live, we are here to bring the Gospel to the people and assert whatever moral influence we can on our nation.

          It is always fascinating to me how you non-believers anoint yourselves experts in the Christian faith. You are like Christ hating Spartacus below, a practical atheist <- remember who coined that term.

          Don't worry, pretty soon Gay Bob will stop by and support you.

          • AV

            You’re not a Christian, at best, you’re a pseudo-Christian.

            The last time that I wrote on this blog, your response claimed that there is ample “proof” of God. But a Christian would know of the central role of faith; that is, of belief, and undeterred by the lack of proof.

            You seem to use scripture to pretend to be an authority, you seem to like absolutism, but anyone with even just a vague familiarity with Christianity can tell that you just don’t “get” it.

          • Spartacus

            A spaghetti western preacher is what he is, or is what he has made of himself (he used to not be this far overboard, dementia I suppose). I’ll still fight to the death for his right to speak, but it doesn’t mean I agree with him.

          • Neiman

            That is nonsensical, but exactly what I would expect from you. It is meaningless tripe.

          • Spartacus

            Tripe? Cow stomach lining? That’s pretty meaningful in eastern European cultures, they make soup of it. Please clarify, not the soup.

          • AV

            Yup, and Neiman seems to be wishing for another Inquisition.

          • Spartacus

            Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition….except Monty Python beat him to it.

          • Neiman

            Lies! You must be another liberal.

          • SusanBeehler

            Did you know all people lie even conservatives, even you?

          • Neiman

            What are ya kiddin me? No chit?

          • Neiman

            Unless you can offer me your spiritual credentials to make that accusation and compare my words to Holy Scripture to reprove me, your judgment is wrong.

            A vague familiarity with Christianity is useless, God said Divine truth is only spiritually discerned and so absent your being Born Again of His Spirit and Him guiding you into truth, you cannot know Christianity at all. It is like a man telling a Martian about being human, there is no basis for communication.

            I spoke of the universe the heavens down to the sub-atomic level offering ample testimony of God’s existence; but, that evidence only takes a man so far, faith bridges the gap. Same with evolution, it too is faith based.

            Anyway, with silly comments like I just don’t get it, please don;t expect me to take your criticism seriously.

          • AV

            No, my objection was technical.

            Using your example, if a Martian pointed out that “proof” negates the need for “faith,” then that Martian would be correct?

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Neiman seems, to me, to be a very specific sort of authoritarian. Living by his view of the world would be tyranny.

          • Neiman

            I have never sought to force anyone to act in certain ways, I do not have the power nor the inclination. Yet, just suggesting that I think some minimal laws are necessary to restrain the worst impulses in man, wherein they force their immorality on others, always cause folk like you to falsely claim a desire for theocracy and an imposition of my will on others. Strange that appealing for laws that enforce minimal moral conduct for the benefit of everyone, keeping the worst among us from exposing everyone to their particular brand of evil on others, automatically produces fear on the part of those, like you, that demand no laws at all, that insist moral anarchy be allowed free reign.

      • Neiman

        I believe any civil society requires laws restricting more destructive behavior among men and while it is always a balancing act of those activities that are restricted by law and how much they are subjected to criminal penalties; there is no question in my mind that every civilized society has rightly sought to restrain the more destructive lusts/impulses of man. Your Libertarian anarchy will never keep a society safe and prosperous. Your way is, as we are seeing now in America, a recipe for collapse of a nation. Ask Rome and Greece.

        • SusanBeehler

          I agree “civil society requires laws restricting more destructive behavior among men”

          • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

            Of course, it depends on the sort of destructive behavior, doesn’t it?

            That statement covers a lot of ground, from laws against murder to laws against cheeseburgers.

          • SusanBeehler

            Depends on if the cheeseburger is full of E-Coli or not

        • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

          Your Libertarian anarchy will never keep a society safe and prosperous.

          Libertarianism is not anarchy. I am in favor of well-defined laws and rights.

          What I am not for is imposing my morals on others, beyond those basic rights and the laws which protect them.

          • Neiman

            I said it badly, I meant your Libertarianism results in moral anarchy, each person not just engaging in their own perverse forms of false morality, but without restraints by law, imposing their immorality on others, denying them the freedom not to be exposed to such conduct.

          • SusanBeehler

            “imposing their immorality” and there is no law to stop them from doing it.

          • SusanBeehler

            How does a libertarian define “well-defined”? I think many of our rights in the Constitution are not “well-defined” thus we have the debate over what is free speech; what does right to bear arms mean; than we have the clause of not do harm to others, women were not given the right to vote immediately when the constitution was formed, how was that get missed?

    • SusanBeehler

      “why should the average person respect the law.” Because it is the law

      • Neiman

        Let me try again – if our political/governmental leaders flaunt the law, showing it little or no respect, should we be surprised when the average person likewise holds it in contempt? It starts at the top, if those in leadership do not obey the laws they create, as we see daily in America, the people will follow their example.

        • SusanBeehler

          Some should be surprised, because I taught my child to act better than that. People do like to follow; sometimes it does even matter where they are going just as long as someone is in front of them.

    • Zog

      Thank you Mullah Neiman

      • Neiman

        That is the reaction of a spoiled child.

  • http://flamemeister.com flamemeister

    We cannot “move away from the idea that every act we find immoral, repugnant, or unsavory needs to be criminalized,” i.e., that life-in-the-world can somehow be ordered and made perfect by rational means. That “idea” is an autonomous living archetype that is swallowing us whole. When the transcendental notions of sin and redemption, heaven and salvation get projected into the material world—as is the case with Socialism, Environmentalism and their ilk—it manifests in a malignant and autonomous form. This is “Immanentizing the Eschaton” as Buckley and his buddies used to refer to it—in fact, his campaign slogan was something like “Stop Them From Immanentizing the Eschaton.” The error is to think that this difficulty is in any way amenable to rational thought.

  • alanstorm

    “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

    How can that be so, when lawyers themselves have to specialize?

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      It’s an argument for making our government, and the legal code it enforces, much smaller.

      “The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.”

      — Tacitus

      • SusanBeehler

        You believe laws are the cause of big government? You could have one law and the parties in power would still want a committee to administer it, it is the nature of how they think things have to be done, like they always have been done.

        • alanstorm

          susan, you’re an idiot. Cause and effect are not part of the question. Smaller government and fewer laws are coincident – arguing about the chicken or the egg is a distraction.

          Smaller government and fewer laws go together, just as large government and many laws.

          • SusanBeehler

            Thank you for giving me your laws of the blog. I will continue to break them.
            “Smaller government and fewer laws go together” isn’t this cause and effect and simply a distraction. Isn’t the opposite of black, white, light, dark. Opposites are an attraction.

      • silverstreak

        I think that Madison understood Tacitus’ concept completely.

        “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-Federalist #62

  • SusanBeehler

    Why have any rules for your children? They are just immoral, unsavory little people and you can’t legislate morality, sounds repulsive when you say it about children. Behavior can be impacted, people, laws can make a difference, otherwise why bother with any rules anywhere. This “theory” laws can’t make a difference is based in personal beliefs not based on evidence because man has never been without laws.

    • Spartacus

      Why aren’t the rules you grew up with still relevant for your children? Where your parents immoral? What changed that makes you feel rules need to be changed? Was this change for the good? If so or not, explain how and why. Bonus points offered it you can explain how your parents would have reacted given your circumstances. Even more bonus points if your parents show up to confirm or deny they’d have dealt with circumstances as you think they would have, all they have to do is show up for the bonus to be awarded. LOOK over there, a shiny object.

      • SusanBeehler

        The rules I grew up are relevant. Rules need to be changed when society or the world we live in changes, also as people I hope we are growing and learning, finding newer innovative ways to deal with problems which present themselves. Some changes are good and some are not as good.

        • Thresherman

          Yeah because now arcane rules against such things as lying, cheating and stealing need to be nuanced to be compliant with liberal thought. How would we ever be able to maintain respect for elected Democratic leaders who refuse to obey the laws and rules if we hold ourselves to a higher standard. Morality needs to be flexible in order to accommodate the desire of these people to bind the populace of the country in the chains of governmental servitude in exchange for the right to become dependent on the their allocations from the public treasury.

          • SusanBeehler

            There are quite a few Republicans in North Dakota who do not obey the laws and rules. It is a symptom of our society and it does not have much to do with right, left, D, R. So how tight are your chains of servitude and how dependent are you? For me “aging” is when the chains start tighten it seems like no other time you could end up being dependent on government, more vulnerable then a child.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      Why have any rules for your children? They are just immoral, unsavory little people and you can’t legislate morality

      “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

      • SusanBeehler

        I can understand the things you mentioned but not everyone is the “we” you mentioned. There are some in our society which expect different things from their government for instance because they do have or see another alternative to “state” education. I am not sure who your “we” is. What is the state religion, where is state-enforced equality, what does the state do with their grain? Isn’t equality part of the Constitution.

    • alanstorm

      Susan, you’re an idiot. We have rules for children. Adults are, by definition, not children, so your argument is valueless.

      But thanks for the clear illustration of how “liberals” view the public!

      • SusanBeehler

        Idiot definition: A person of profound mental retardation having a mental age below three years and generally being unable to learn connected speech or guard against common dangers. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive.

        Some adults do act like children. Sometimes what works for children works for immature adults.

      • Mike

        Perfect example of how liberals view the public. Name calling and tattling are trademarks of liberals. They can’t debate facts, so they slander and call names. Their actions are part and parcel of how rules are needed because basic norms of civility are “irrelevant” to liberals

        • SusanBeehler

          Are you saying alanstorm is a liberal? Since he is using the trademark of name calling “idiot.

    • Waski_the_Squirrel

      The issue is not having no rules. Those who want no rules are anarchists. Anarchy will not work because there are evil and greedy people among us. (I believe in the Christian concept of Original Sin.) The problem comes from making too many rules. Just because we don’t like something, this does not mean we should have a rule or law. We keep our rules minimal for our children because otherwise they could not remember them and neither could we. We also change them as the child ages just as we change them as society changes.

      Government should protect individuals from other individuals. As I read somewhere in a book, “Your rights end where my face begins.” Government regulation should be limited so as to protect the individual from others, but minimize limitation of the individual’s freedoms to that necessary to protect others’ freedoms.

      • SusanBeehler

        “Government should protect individuals from other individuals. As I read somewhere in a book, “Your rights end where my face begins.” Government regulation should be limited so as to protect the individual from others, but minimize limitation of the individual’s freedoms to that necessary to protect others’ freedoms.” This is why we need to talk about gun violence, because it is effecting others rights.

        • Waski_the_Squirrel

          The trouble with guns is that they do affect others’ rights. For example, I need a means to protect myself from a tyrannical government. If the government is unarmed, I don’t need to be either. Sadly, a “well regulated militia” is part of my government, and it can be misused as we have seen in other countries. I pray that it never becomes necessary to protect myself from my own government. I am also terrified of extremists who think that time is already here just because a democrat is currently president.

          Edited to add: I have no problem with a discussion of guns. However, I think it’s important to remember why they are in the constitution. Obviously, you and I disagree on this issue. I suspect we won’t find a happy compromise either. The beauty of this country is that we are currently free to disagree.

          • SusanBeehler

            I was not talking about guns, I am talking about how to address the issue of gun violence. I agree with you on it appears their are extremists who think the “time is already here just because a democrat is currently president.” I think that kind of thinking could end up being self-fulfilling.

          • Waski_the_Squirrel

            Thanks for clearing that up.

            I would generalize the issue to violence in general. The gun is a tool that is used in committing acts of violence, but not the only tool.

            On a happier note, acts of violence are decreasing. It’s actually safer to be a kid now than when I was a kid. I’ve read several explanations including an improved economy (which isn’t true right at the present), reduction of lead in the environment, and even the prevalence of abortion. I don’t have an explanation myself.

            I think another problem worth discussing is the way the media sensationalize events rather than looking at actual numbers and putting them in context. A horrific murder is not a large scale trend, but it does sell papers.

          • SusanBeehler

            Actually papers are not selling as well as they use to. I think the media frenzy is coming from the newest media the blogs, tweeter and facebook, you tube. It travels at a much faster pace than a newspaper could ever deliver. All of it is available to our youth, unless you have a parent that blocks it. Our youth are not consumers of the newspaper. The internet media is like throwing chump to sharks, and than the feeding and the tossing of news tidbits, conspiracies and whatever are thrashed about. The local nightly news is even getting on reporting what youtube video is getting the most hits or a picture on facebook getting the most likes. The power of this media I believe help elect our President. I can leave this blog and talk to someone in New York or London, I can share a lie or share a truth, gossip on the grandest scale can take place.

          • Waski_the_Squirrel

            My use of the word “papers” was purely figurative, for lack of a better term, and perhaps as a result of my upbringing. Otherwise, I agree with you on this, though I would include newspapers, magazine, and TV along with the more modern forms of media.

            The more analyzed, thoughtful media are too slow to get wide attention, and they are a lot slower than newspapers. Overall, the best strategy I’ve found is to read a variety of sources. I will also admit that I don’t get any TV, so the whole Fox vs. CNN vs. MSNBC thing has entirely passed me by.

  • sbark

    But on the other hand, acts we find repugnant, immoral, decadant………should not receive affirmation via govt action either………

  • borborygmi

    I have just witnessed in this thread a very good open debate with very little flame throwing. There is hope.

  • Mike

    Those laws are on the books for a reason: If an authority (politician, special interest group, or the town cop whom you grew up with) does not like you and wants to harass you, one of those little known laws can be applied to make your life miserable.

    • SusanBeehler

      So you believe laws are made or kept on the books in your town, your county, your state to harass Mike Kopp? Are you afflicted with narcissistic thinking or just paranoid thinking?

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