Until they do!
Are there any limits, any laws you cannot make? Everything we do, every activity we touch, has laws controlling it: How fast you can drive. How big the letters on employment posters must be. The specific wording on cigarette packs. The language on food labels. How many minutes a school day includes. The size of shampoo bottle you can carry on an airplane.
Those laws, rules, and regulations we’ve become accustomed to. I’m all for public safety, and perhaps the majority of these laws are truly beneficial. But then we get to some laws that are truly pushing the edge of sanity: How large a soda you can sell/buy. How much profit certain companies can make. What kind of contraception you have to pay for – for someone else.
Government has always struggled in walking the line between deterring evil and controlling good people’s legitimate activities. Some have done that better than others. Differing philosophies about the legitimate role of government can make for some very heated dinner-table discussions. I have my personal views, and I don’t mind sharing them if someone cares to listen.
But there are a few things that society cannot legislate regardless of how hard people may try. There IS a realm outside the reach of government.
Here are a few examples of what government CANNOT legislate:
- Initiative and hard work. You can set a student in a classroom, a worker at a desk or factory station, or a parent/spouse in a home, but you cannot control whether they learn, work, and grow. Eight hours a day does not equal productivity if one’s heart is not in it.
- Compliance if no one is looking. Parents know this with kids: most of them will try and get away with things if they don’t believe mom or dad will find out. Laws that people don’t like or understand won’t be followed if serious penalties are not enforced.
- Morality. Sex outside of marriage, and alcohol use, are just two areas where laws have been enacted – and failed. Morality is an outgrowth of character, and that cannot be put into law.
- Emotional or physical health. Laws cannot make people happy or sad, satisfied or angry, healthy or sick. One’s quality of life is so much more dependent on these things than anything under government’s control. And we each have choices available in these areas.
- Love, admiration, and affection. This gets to the heart of the matter. What happens between husband and wife, parent and child, one’s spirit and one’s God – all that is completely beyond the control of laws, rules, and regulations.
So let the gavels come down if they must: they cannot take your heart! Government may be evil or just, liberal or conservative, wise or foolish, but your heart is still your own.
Your turn: Do you think government has overstepped its legitimate role in certain areas of legislation? What areas are outside its ability to control? I’d love to hear from you!