I borrowed my title from a great book by Phillip Howard. In it, he gives many telling examples of outcomes that don’t make sense because the powers that be keep trying to make rules and laws impervious to human interpretation and implementation. They don’t trust people to apply common sense so that try to make it unnecessary by writing the rules so detailed as to cover all circumstances.
My current example, which I’ve encountered and written about before, is zero tolerance. It has been a while, but once again I was carded today when buying a beverage in a restaurant in the Orlando airport to help me get through the usual two-hour plus flight delay.
The waitress asked to see my ID. I looked at her closely so she could see that I was about the age of her grandfather. Then I asked if she was kidding. Then I told her I had a granddaughter that was probably legal. None of this mattered, of course. “Rules is rules.” I watched to see if she gave my drivers license a perfunctory glance, thus signaling to me that she realized the silliness of the situation. She looked at it very carefully, however, trying to compute my age from the birth date on the license. It was normal for her.
I didn’t ask her if carding everybody was a Florida state law or just a company policy to keep the law off their backs. Either way, the substitution of one-size-fits-all arbitrary rules for sensible rules applied with common sense is a major factor that erodes my faith in the law. Individual liberty gets trampled.
By coincidence, I just heard yesterday of the law proposed by Barney Frank and Ron Paul to legalize pot at the Federal level. I think I’m for it. Prohibition doesn’t work, and we are wasting too many tax dollars and jail space on victimless crimes. Besides, I went through college and graduate school in the 1960s without experiencing pot. After all, it was against the law. I might like to try it before they put me in the old folks home.
While I’m at it, let me say why I was so sensitive to such a minor thing today. I arrived at the airport at least an hour early and immediately saw a sign saying my flight was delayed by more than two hours. No explanation. I think that’s the new normal. The same thing happened on my way here earlier in the week, except the reason finally came out in that instance.
It seems that someone had reported one or more mosquitoes on the plane on an incoming flight, so the ground crew insisted on fumigating and the flight crew refused to fly a recently fumigated plane. So, we all waited a couple of hours for them to find another plane.
If they had asked my opinion, I would have suggested they wait to fumigate the plane until it was out of service for the day. Meanwhile they could give everyone a rolled up newspaper to swat the little blood suckers. But, no, they couldn’t fly with a single mosquito airborne. No, not one.
If it’s not the law, it’s the lawyers advising their clients how to avoid lawsuits and regulators. Zero tolerance is spreading and wiping out our freedom.
By the way, how do you like the overly-dry over-cooked scrambled eggs the lawyers are serving up these days?