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Legislative Issues


In our Declaration of Independence, our forefathers stated that we wanted “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, which they deemed to be among our unalienable rights. Unfortunately, there is no person, group or government that can truly guarantee us these rights. All we can do is to create the best environment for protecting these rights from individuals and groups who might try to take them away from us.

The way we create the environment to protect us is by creating the appropriate laws to tell us what would be considered right and wrong actions, and then by trying our best to enforce these laws. Our legislative issues are those that deal with what laws we need and how we create and pass these laws.

The primary purpose of the laws enacted by any government should be to protect its citizens. These laws are created and passed by various government legislative bodies such as town, city and county councils, state legislatures and the national congress. They are intended to protect us from being harmed by the likes of thieves, con-artists, embezzlers, rapists, murderers, unscrupulous business practices and foreign invaders.

In general, we need laws to protect the lives, health, property and freedom of all our country’s citizens. Without these laws and their enforcement, we would have a state of anarchy where we would all be left to our own devices to try to defend our own lives and property.

For a government to do its job of protecting its citizens, it needs money to fund itself, its enforcement agencies and the military. Therefore, each level of government must have a set of tax laws that specify how they plan to raise this money. Usually, they will collect it through some combination of taxes, levies, fees and fines.

Deciding who will pay and how much they will pay is a complicated balancing act. A government needs to bring in enough money to operate while not overburdening its citizens. Of course, determining how much money a government needs to operate effectively is dependent on both how much protection its citizens want and how much they are willing to pay for that protection.


Our legislative systems and laws have evolved greatly over the course of human history. At one time, our ancestors lived in small tribal groups where they greatly depended on each other. At first, there were few if any formal rules governing what these tribal members could or could not do. Over time, our ancestors learned that when they did certain things, it harmed members of their group.

This led our ancestors to establish some rules about what they should and should not do and what punishments the individuals who did not follow these rules should face. These first rules were probably quite simple, such as do not steal or do not commit murder. Punishments were probably just as simple, such as loss of food or property, or banishment from the tribe.

Since the tribal elders were usually the most experienced and knowledgeable about the world and how things worked, they usually served as the tribal and religious leaders, and as judges and juries. Their jobs were to protect the tribe from the elements, predators and each other, and to ensure that everyone did their fair share of the work and got their fair share of the food. To do this, they established the rules that became the laws that governed the actions of tribal members, determined if someone broke one of these laws and handed out any appropriate punishment.

Over time, with the help of advancements in agriculture, business and trade, tribal groups were able to grow bigger and to become towns, cities, states and nations. With the continued growth of civilization, the interactions between individuals, groups, businesses and governments continued to become more complex and harder to control. Leaders needed to create new laws and to update existing laws to handle all the new complexities of life and to lay down new forms of punishment to match the new and updated laws. They also needed new government groups and new ways to enforce the laws.

Eventually, the increasing number and complexity of the laws and the growing wealth of the middle class and unrest of the poor forced many government changes. Citizens gained a bigger say in the running of their governments and the creation of their laws. Separate legislative and judicial branches of government were established to better protect citizens’ rights. Individuals started to specialize in legal matters by taking on different roles such as legislator, lawyer and judge. The legislators, who are supposed to represent the people, took on the job of creating and passing the laws.

Obeying the Law

There are some individuals and groups who feel that they can just ignore certain laws. In some cases, they may believe that some of our laws are unjust, are overly burdensome or simply wrong. In addition, some individuals and groups may even believe that some good laws simply do not apply to them. If these individuals and groups are allowed to break these laws, then other individuals and groups may decide to break the laws that they do not believe in. If we allowed this to get out of hand, laws would become meaningless, anarchy would take over, and society would crumble.

Today, there are many laws that are routinely broken. Some of these laws may need to be made fairer, eliminated or even strengthened, but we need to obey them as they stand until they can be fixed. Individuals and groups should not have the right to decide what laws they will or will not obey. A society must decide what its laws are and everyone who wants to be part of that society must obey its laws.

The one exception to always needing to obey the laws, is when unjust laws are forced upon us by dictators or other authoritarian regimes. Citizens have a right to have a say in creating the laws of the land. When they are denied this right, then citizens have the right to rebel and to replace their government with a democratic one, and then to update their laws so that they are fair for everyone.

No Undue Harm to Others

Some laws exist because some individuals or groups decided that we should not be allowed to do certain things, even if those things would, at worst, only hurt the person doing them. For instance, gambling and prostitution are activities that do not necessarily harm others, unless these activities are allowed to get out of hand. These crimes may be considered victimless crimes, because, in theory, the only individuals they really hurt are the individuals who voluntarily participate in these activities.

For instance, a little gambling should not be a problem if we stick to what we can afford to lose, but some gamblers can become a burden on society when they lose their life saves or go deep into debt. In addition, prostitution should not be a problem if it is between healthy consenting adults, but it can be a big social problem when minors are involved, or the activity leads to the spread of disease. In these and other similar cases, the laws need to be changed to allow the activity, but to control the aspects of the activity that might cause undue harm to others.

There are many currently illegal and legal activities that some individuals and groups believe should not be done. These individuals and groups may claim that they know that certain things are wrong and that they are hurt by the fact that others are engaged in these activities. However, if the only harm is the perceived harm that comes from knowing about what was done, then that is not undue harm. Just because some individuals or groups do not like that other individuals or groups are doing something, does not give them the right to prevent it, since preventing it could be causing undue harm.

The test for real harm should be whether the effects of the activity being done include any observable undue harm, when we did not know that the activity happened. For instance, in the case of a burglary, the person who was burglarized would obviously be unduly harmed, because of the damage and the missing items. In addition, even when we did not know about this burglary, we would be harmed by it. We would be harmed by higher insurance rates needed to cover the losses and by the higher taxes needed to pay for more police protection.

On the other hand, it is quite possible for legal and well managed prostitution to go on without any undue harm to us, even if we think prostitution is wrong. In fact, it is even possible that it might benefit some individuals, irrespective of whether they know about it or not. For instance, someone might be in a better mood after a visit to a prostitute and in turn treat their friends and coworkers better.

Other Changes

In general, the rights of citizens in many countries like the United States are better protected by their laws today than in the past, but there are still a lot of improvements that need to be made. For instance, many of our laws suffer from being complex, hard to understand, vague, or out of date. In addition, many of our laws overly infringe on some of our rights, while at the same time, they do not encourage enough personal responsibility, which would better protect our society and the individuals who do take appropriate responsibility for their lives.

Our goal must be to bring our laws into the twenty-first century. To do this, we need to consider all the political, technological and global changes that have occurred and the realities of our modern world. We also need to give us more personal freedom and responsibility by allowing us to make more decisions as to how we want to live our own lives. In addition, we need to update our tax laws so that the taxes we pay will more closely reflect the benefits we receive.

Legislative Content

In the following sections, I will try to explain a few of the laws that I believe our legislative system needs to create or to update to provide us with better protection.

Next Section

Rights and Responsibilities - Balance our Rights and Responsibilities so that we have more freedom and protection.

Last Updated:
Sunday, December 24, 2023
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