Monday, 2 December 2013

Law and disorder

Britain is one of the safest countries in the world yet we have, second only to America, the highest prison population in the civilised world.

Some may argue that we are safe precisely because we have all the dangerous people locked up but the comparison with other, safer, countries does not add up.  No one would suggest that the Dutch or Swedes are crazy violent people.  It is noteworthy that in those two countries the authorities are closing prisons because of dwindling crime.  Meanwhile we are planning to construct ‘super prisons’ to house an ever increasing prison population.

It must be obvious to even the incompetents who run this country that inventing more laws inevitably means more law-breakers.  That is why we have so many people in jail and so many ex-“offender” – over nine million citizens with a criminal record.

We are moving towards a society where a sizeable minority of the active population have had a bad experience with “the law”.  That can only engender disrespect and contempt for it.  This is not a new or radical view. 

This is what Winston Churchill said: “If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.”

The concept of fewer laws, less state bullying is not a new one.  Creating a new law every time something goes awry or someone gets hurt is not the answer to maintaining a safe society.  On the contrary, once respect for the law and its basic, easy-to-understand simplicity is undermined, our society becomes less safe.

It would help, also, if our government, our politicians and our would-be masters actually listened to the people.  It is the insistence of the governing class that they work against the will of the people that creates the need for greater oppression.  This has been seen recently on subjects as diverse as waging war, immigration, drugs, energy, policing and spying.  How many times each week does some politician or other appear on TV spinning some defence of one of their “policies”?  If they actually did what the people wanted they would not be forced to defend their unpopular decisions.

I suggest that those countries with the lowest crime rates are not those with the most regulation; they are those in which the people are content with what their governments are doing.

“In the absence of the governmental checks and balances... there cannot be an enlightened people.”
- Justice Potter Stewart, New York Times Co. v. United States, June 30, 1971
Take a look at the alternate view of news reporting. 

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