The basis for my overall legal viewpoint is this: if an action being considered for regulation hurts, harms, or damages no individual other than the one performing the action, the legislation should be discarded as unnecessary.
For example, there are laws in effect in many states that legislate actions that harm others. These can include the following:
- Drunk Driving
- Discharging a firearm into the air inside city limits
- Possessing dangerous explosives (some fireworks)
These laws are in effect to protect individuals from the irresponsible actions of others. These laws are necessary and helpful as they regulate (somewhat) common actions that can seriously harm other individuals.
Other laws regulate actions that are immoral to some groups and individuals, but not to everyone. Regardless of my personal morals, these regulated actions harm no one other than the acting individual, but the action is still regulated. These laws can include the following:
- Prohibition of Prostitution
- Requiring Individuals to wear seatbelts while in a motor vehicle
- Requiring bicycle and motorcycle riders to wear helmets
- Prohibition of drugs that do not cause the individual to become violent or otherwise dangerous to others
All of these laws were implemented with good intentions in mind, but the only individuals these actions hurt are the individuals performing them. So, these laws are made to protect people from themselves according to another individual's morals. The state needs to stay away from these laws as this is essentially asserting that the state knows better than the individual. While this may be true in some cases, it is not always true. Since it is not always true, the fairest and least intrusive (it's a free country remember?) course of action is to refrain from legislating these actions.
One special case is that of minors. Minors need to be exempted from these liberties as they are not mature enough (usually) to make decisions knowing the full consequences of their actions. Therefore, their actions should be regulated somewhat, but responsibility needs to be place on the parents to ensure the safety of their children (just like it is now).
photo credit: F.S.M.