The Case for Passing Fewer Laws

The Case for Passing Fewer Laws

Published Dec 6, 2023

In today's South Carolina and as a long-time observer and participant in our state's political landscape, there seems to be a troubling trend: THE RELENTLESS INCREASE OF LAWS. For conservatives who believe in the principle of small government, this endless flood of regulations represents the exact opposite of small government, and it's eroding our personal freedoms.

THINK ABOUT IT: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU HEARD OF A LAW BEING REPEALED IN OUR STATE? Instead, each legislative session seems to add another layer to an already huge, totalitarian legal system. This isn't just bureaucratic overreach; it's a fundamental departure from the very principles of liberty and self-governance that the Founding Fathers championed.

OUR STATE'S LEGISLATIVE TREND BEGS THE QUESTION: Are we enhancing our freedom, or are we entangling ourselves in a web of restrictive rules? An increase in laws often results not only in more government control but also in diminished personal autonomy; ironically, it frequently compromises the clarity and effectiveness of governance. This path we're on, it's just dangerous.

It's time for a candid conversation about the direction our state is heading. As conservatives, we value a government that respects individual liberties. But the current trajectory, marked by an ever-increasing number of laws, suggests we're getting real close towards a society where government intrusion is the norm, not the exception. (Actually, I think we are already there.)

Each new law should be scrutinized not just for its immediate impact but for its alignment with the enduring principles of limited government and personal freedom. 

We EMPHASIZE the principle that the BEST GOVERNMENT IS THE ONE THAT GOVERNS LEAST. This statement focuses on the essential aspects of governance. However, when we delve into the reality of South Carolina's legal system, we are met with a contrasting picture. The state's code of law lists 63 distinct titles, each representing a complex segment of our legal framework. These titles, covering areas like government administration, public records, housing, health, and insurance, to children's codes, are not mere headings; they represent a MASSIVE ASSORTMENT of chapters and sections. All of these are laws, prompting us to ask, do we need them? Or have they helped or hindered our ability to live freely without constant governmental intrusion, both personally and financially?

CONSIDER THIS: after a law is passed, the journey just begins. Regulations, rules, judicial interpretations, amendments, revisions - each of these steps can be as influential as the law itself. The philosopher Montesquieu warned, "Useless laws weaken the necessary laws." Are we, in our pursuit of legislating for every possible scenario, diluting the power of essential laws?

Each new piece of legislation, each added regulation, doesn't just stand alone. It intertwines with existing laws, sometimes creating a web that's hard to untangle. Does this serve our best interests? When a single law can birth a series of additional regulations and interpretations, are we enhancing clarity and justice, or are we complicating our legal system to the point of inefficiency? To the point of restricting our freedoms?

IT’S CRUCIAL TO REMEMBER THAT MORE LAWS DON'T AUTOMATICALLY TRANSLATE TO BETTER GOVERNANCE. In fact, they often lead to more control, less clarity, and an increased burden on us, the citizens. It's time we take a closer look at our legislative process and ask ourselves if we are truly upholding the principles of limited government that are so central to conservative philosophy in South Carolina.

THIS LEADS US TO A KEY PART OF OUR DISCUSSION: The push to add more laws is dangerous, and honestly, South Carolinian conservatives need to stop asking for more laws to be enacted.

In 2022, the General Assembly passed 268 acts. In the first legislative session of the 125th, the South Carolina General Assembly passed 102. Upon reviewing some of these laws, I honestly did not find any that South Carolina residents truly need. And that is only the first part of the 125th session, a lot more are coming during the 2nd part of the session. Now, granted, some of these bills that passed are related to street names, or small, non-impactful bills. But some are related to bills that severely impact our daily lives and not in a good way. You can read about some of them here.

This examination of South Carolina's legal system, particularly the significant increase in legislation, naturally leads us to another critical aspect of our governance. WE MUST CONSIDER NOT ONLY THE QUANTITY OF LAWS BUT ALSO WHO IS BEHIND THEM. As we've observed a substantial rise in legislative activities, it's equally important to scrutinize the changing dynamics of our legislative process. Many of our legislators, constrained by their part-time status and financial considerations, often have to balance their legislative duties with other full-time commitments. This reality has shifted much of the legislative responsibilities towards external influences like lobbyists and special interest groups.

THIS SHIFT RAISES A FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION ABOUT THE AUTHENTICITY OF OUR LAWS. Are they truly reflective of the needs and values of South Carolinians, or are they more influenced by those with the loudest voices and deepest pockets? It's vital to remember that the essence of good governance lies not in the quantity of laws but in their quality and alignment with our core principles of limited government and individual liberty.

As conservatives, we must advocate for a legislative process that is transparent, accountable, and, above all, representative of the people it's meant to serve. It's not about pushing for more laws; it's about ensuring that every law serves a purpose and respects our freedoms. Let's not forget the responsibility that comes with governance and the importance of preserving the foundational values that make South Carolina great.

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