In the movie “Atlas Shrugged II, The Strike,” the screen adaptation of the book “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, one of the villains, Dr. Floyd Ferris, explains things to Hank Rearden who is one of the heroes of the movie:
Dr. Floyd Ferris
Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”
In non-fiction article “The Nature of Government” Ayn Rand describes where the United States is headed (and many would say, has arrived):
We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force.
She of course was referring to one of the original concepts of the Founders of the United States, the idea that government could only do what it is permitted and an individual could do whatever he or she wanted as long as it was not not prohibited. Indeed that principle has been nearly inverted where government can find a justification for about any action it wants. The President can ignore the laws passed by the Congress or amend them by fiat Executive Order, as for example, as President Obama has repeatedly amended the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare“) for purely partisan political purposes.
Quoting from “How Many Federal Laws Are There?”
In an example of a failed attempt to tally up the number of laws on a specific subject area, in 1982 the Justice Department tried to determine the total number of criminal laws. In a project that lasted two years, the Department compiled a list of approximately 3,000 criminal offenses. This effort, headed by Ronald Gainer, a Justice Department official, is considered the most exhaustive attempt to count the number of federal criminal laws. In aWall Street Journal article about this project, “this effort came as part of a long and ultimately failed campaign to persuade Congress to revise the criminal code, which by the 1980s was scattered among 50 titles and 23,000 pages of federal law.” Or as Mr. Gainer characterized this fruitless project: “[y]ou will have died and [been] resurrected three times,” and still not have an answer to this question.
According to the article How many pages are in the Affordable Care Act?:
So… how many “pages” are in the Affordable Care Act? In the actual legislation itself, there are just over 2,400. But the legislation is incomplete with the accompanying regulations, most of which have yet to be published.
Paul Bedard, a journalist with U.S. News, reported in April 2011 that the first set of HHS regulations covered six pages of the actual legislation—but resulted in 429 pages of regulations.
I was curious to see what that would mean for the totality of the health care legislation if I applied a ratio of 71.5:1 to the Affordable Care Act.
More than 170,000 pages.
No, that’s not a typo. It really is a six figure total. By comparison, the U.S. tax code by my calculations is approximately 13,000 pages.
The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR):
…is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations (sometimes called administrative law) published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States. The CFR is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation. … Under the delegation doctrine, federal agencies are authorized to promulgate regulations (rulemaking) by so-called enabling legislation. –Wikipedia
The CFR is comprised of 50 volumes. Under President Obama alone it has increased by over 11,000 pages. In 1975 it took 71,000 pages to publish the CFR. (see this article on cnsnews.com)
… there is a very high probably that you are a criminal.
It is not humanely possible in many instances to know if you are following the law or not. Given the sheer volume of Federal law and Federal regulations there is a very high probably that you are a criminal.
See this article Wyoming welder faces $75,000 a day in EPA fines for building pond on his property. Even if Congress did nothing at all the sprawling bureaucracy will continue to create reams of pages that in effect become law and if you run afoul of any of those laws it will be the government that will have the masses of lawyers to prove you broke the law.
Welcome to the Brave New World.
In a world where the government aims to be your caretaker it will most certainly be your master. The days of government “by and for the people” are quickly ending. Soon it will the “government by the government for the government.”
If we want something different we have to educate ourselves and put our allegiance to those political movements aimed at small and limited government. I leave it to you to figure out who those are. Just one clue – it is neither the mainline Republicans or Democrats.