Tyranny by Regulation

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.”
? James Madison

Dear Friends,

It seems to me, no human being ever born could begin to know and understand all the laws, regulations and codes that make up modern American jurisprudence. It would take a speed reader a lifetime to simply scan the Federal Register let alone understand them. Moreover, there are thousands of bureaucrats, people who we have little or no choice in selecting, working diligently eight hours every day, writing more. The amount of laws and regulations in the federal register alone written on paper is a mass of books that boggles the mind. Many of those regulations and laws are mutually exclusive making them incoherent. Add to that the fact that some groups are above the law and others are below the law and what our government has built is arbitrary rule, instead of law.

Examples of people who are above the law are legion, from Tim Geithner chiseling on his taxes, nanny gate, the House banking scandal, Fast and Furious, and the Benghazi cover up to Obama’s many extra Constitutional actions, the elite are increasingly above the limits law sets for the rest of us. any of which if you or I did them, we would be arrested, tried and jailed. Those who fall below the law’s protections are just as numerous, you or I could be arrested and held for twenty four hours without charge or access to a lawyer, there is no way a member of the elite would be subject to such unconstitutional actions. Land owners who have had their land taken for “Eminent domain,” where the property is not used for a road, public works or bridge, but to allow some member of the elite to build a hotel, casino or shopping mall, a business owner who must violate his or her faith else face punishment and you intellectual property can be stolen by the elite anytime they see fit, Eli Whitney being the most famous example. If you are charged by the bureaucracy you might not have the “privilege” of a lawyer, trial or facing your accuser, you are merely charged, tried and punished by the bureaucracy. Examples abound where the people are denied the protections of our Constitution and therefore are below the law’s protections.

The damage to our economy is horrendous. The application of all the regulations we live under cannot but limit economic growth. The damage to our economy from regulation is structural, not cyclical and so cannot be grown out of, lived past or is temporary, they are permanent hindrances to our economic growth. Due to the crushing weight of regulations we now have structural limits to the amount of people who can be employed, our wages are diminished daily by them and our standard of living is dropping. For the first time in US history the growth of small businesses is negative! Virtually every problem in our economy is the result of arcane regulations.

Lawyers must increasingly specialize. Law has become so convoluted, no lawyer could possibly be able to generalize anymore, and actually serve his or her client’s interests. I listened to a radio broadcast the other day where an expert was talking about the rules regarding inheriting a parent’s assets upon their death. In a half hour talk, the only thing that came out that was really understandable, was that you need an attorney to die today, else the government will penalize your children. The rules regarding simply inheriting a parent’s IRA are as counter intuitive as they are absurd. There is no corner of law today where that isn’t the case. Law and regulations have become counter intuitive and absurd.

I have heard that the average person today commits three felonies every day and has no idea they have done it. That statement speaks volumes on how arcane our regulations have become. You might fill in a wet spot on your lawn and have violated the wetlands protection act, you could get all the local permits to build a house and run afoul of some arcane regulation limiting the number of windows you are allowed to put in your house, you might make furniture in your garage and violate some foreign law, you could be having a bad day and yell at some stranger who stepped on your toe, the list of laws you violate every day is as endless at the federal register.

Imagine it, you are going about your daily activities, and without intention or malice, you violate some arcane regulation that would result in a felony if the government wanted to push it. Think about it for a moment, if that is the case, and it is considered truth by many pundits, lawyers and economists, you could be arrested and jailed at any time by a government that wants to shut you up, take your property, or just punish you for the way you vote or think. The slippery slope has become glare ice and has steepened to the point it is nearly vertical.

Madison wrote his opinion of a society where the laws are so complex, no one, even a trained attorney could understand them, in his letters and in the Federalist papers. His argument was that under such a system, anyone could be charged with a crime at any time, and so since it has become impossible to avoid violating such laws, everyone is a criminal. Where everyone is a criminal everyone lives and breathes at the suffering of government. When that is the case, government has become all powerful, and must be arbitrary in it’s appliance of those arcane laws and regulations. By James Madison’s definition, one of our premier founding fathers, thinkers and a patriot, we have become a tyranny.

Sincerely,

John Pepin

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