Monday, June 15, 2009

Laws of nature Laws of Man

Throughout the existence of mankind there have been certain laws/behaviors that people have lived by and within the boundaries of common decency, understanding
and appreciation. In the course of history as civilizations were established and grew men became leaders in their respective societies. They set forth guidelines which in some cases became laws to govern and rule over society. Most of these laws came about in conjunction with beliefs as formed from religious men who had followers who documented those beliefs. Christian, Muslim, Buddhists are a few more recognized examples of this. Just as many societies were ruled by men who either were respected for their wisdom, leadership ability or were recognized for their ability to fight, defend their society. These divisions led to what we today call separation of Church and State. Within all this is what I call laws of nature in the sense of human behavior which leads me to why I’m writing this.

Human Behavior, the real question is can it ever be truly governed? Many societies have written laws to punish varying forms of human behavior. Just as many of us believe in these laws such as murder, theft or what we refer to as crimes against your fellow man/woman. These are punishable offenses in the eyes of most people in any society. What about other forms of human behavior where people in a society desire individual choice on what is bad or good for themselves. I want everyone to understand I’m in no way advocating any of the following as much as I am attempting to make some common sense out of a swarm of human behaviors some might term acceptable or unacceptable. Accordingly I submit the following for your consideration and maybe, just maybe, the consideration of those who do make and enforce our laws.

What stimulated my desire is recent legislation introduced to increase tax on cigarettes. Apparently this increase in cost is designed to not only increase government revenues but hopefully diminish the demand for this particular habit if for nothing more than the betterment of their health is concerned. We all know many places have banned smoking in public but thus far according to statistics there are still as many smoking as ever. The point being it’s a difficult habit to quit even when the cost of the habit increases. Drinkers of alcoholic beverages have been paying taxes since prohibition days ended years before many of you were born. Has it diminished the number of drinkers? I don’t think so but it has brought in revenues to governments local, State and Federal. Both of these are habits/behaviors which are legally acceptable even though they can be costly to ones health with some dangers to those in proximity to the users/consumers. Both of these behaviors have inherent risks to society such as Driving while under the influence/intoxicated and inhaling 2nd hand smoke. Also, most of us will accept they certainly aren’t good for your health and become costly to society in terms of indirect/add on cost such as auto/health/life insurance. Now let’s move to other forms of human behavior which in our country are not considered legal or if so they fall under categories of varying degrees of government control.

Some of these human behaviors are punishable as crimes in some States but not considered Federal unless they cross State lines. Examples of these are gambling and prostitution. These habits/behaviors are illegal in most States and very profitable in others in the form of taxes/fees/permits, etc. In my State of Texas both are illegal yet Texans are known for gambling which is why so many States adjoining Texas have legalized it. Prostitution is a subject I will only say is probably one of the oldest professions known to man and Nevada made it legal.

Now let’s discuss drugs and more specifically marijuana. I did smoke marijuana once and all it did for me was make me sleepy. Other than that I have never tried or even cared about using drugs. I rarely use prescription drugs for pain or anything else. From what I can ascertain marijuana users aren’t criminal by intent nor does it appear to be mind altering or dangerous in and of itself. There may be some merit to the argument that marijuana can lead to “hard drugs” and I wouldn’t know how to refute it. I do know marijuana is often recommended for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy as it seems to decrease nausea as a side effect. I happen to agree if marijuana were legalized it would also be a way to increase tax revenues, give better control of supply/demand and probably become as easily acceptable as alcoholic beverages and smoking. For centuries other cultures have used similar types of plants for uses other than just pleasurable enhancement.

The major point of all this is simple. Government(s) has never changed/controlled desired human behavior by instigating laws forbidding or punishing it. I do feel by properly educating our youth on the hazards and dangers inherent with these types of behavior is paramount to their not creating/developing a desire/need for them. This begins at home with parents when children are young and vulnerable and should continue as a part of their education in schools. Social acceptability is also a factor that plays a major role in what our youth will do to be accepted by their peers. As this diminishes so does the desire to try/need it. Since a significant number of people seem to use harmful/illegal drugs it is imperative we help them break the habit without government. State/Federal government interference only costs the taxpayers more money when local community church/outreach/drug programs can and are far more effective. By legalizing some of these addictions it can be far more effective and less costly to the taxpayer and more revenue to government. Drug trafficking could then be eliminated as a threat to our society.

That’s my 2 cents worth I look forward to yours!
Jimmy McIver

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