Regulation unjust by definition

August 29, 2016 — Red Dirt Report

Imagine you’re sitting in a courtroom watching a trial. The jury renders a verdict of “guilty” and the judge passes sentence. But instead of imposing that sentence on the defendant alone, the judge imposes that sentence on everyone in the courtroom — including you.

Would you consider that fair or just?

What if I told you that’s what every regulation does? Instead of punishing specific individuals for crimes they’ve been convicted of in a fair trial, regulations presume we are all guilty by definition, before we have taken any action that may be judged to be in violation of anyone’s rights. Instead of addressing specific harm caused by the action of a specific individual, regulations forbid us all to act because some action taken by somebody somewhere might result in harm.

Would that make you think that all regulation was unjust by definition? It should.

Proponents claim we need regulations so we’ll know which actions to take. Do they think we’re really so incapable of figuring that out for ourselves that we need the government telling us: “do what we say — or else”? Are we really so devoid of independent moral judgement that we need the government to threaten us with punishment at every turn in order for us to know what’s right to do?

Apparently, punishing a criminal for some crime he’s been proved to commit after it has been committed is too much of a risk for such people, who like to claim that the ultimate justification for regulation is “the public good”. But how is it a “public good” to treat the public as collectively guilty before the fact?

And if regulation, as such, is really unjust, does this mean that you should refuse admittance to every government inspector who shows up at your door? No, it doesn’t — particularly if they are armed. Being forced to do something you don’t agree with is not the same as giving it your voluntary approval. But under no circumstances are you obligated to publicly declare that you think regulation is a good thing and you want to work with regulators to make the regulations better. By doing so, you are giving them your permission to go on and keep unjustly using force to make people do things the way the government wants them done. You are saying, in effect, “Yes, I do want to continue to be punished for something I haven’t done and am not guilty of — and I think everyone else should be, too!” That’s not freedom. And those of us who have not done anything wrong do not deserve it.

What you should be doing, instead, is demanding that legislators repeal regulations and close the agencies that enforce them. Appeasing regulators by granting the validity of regulation, as such, does not motivate legislators to do anything but maintain the status quo, ensuring the continued growth of government — to the detriment of Oklahoma’s economy and people.

Rob Abiera is the Director of Oklahomans for Individual Rights.

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