Just Throwing This Out There

As someone with a background in regulation and rule enforcement, I think it’s important to remind people that rules and regulations are only effective if the majority of people voluntarily follow them and if someone chooses to enforce them.

Let’s take speeding as an example. Here in the United States there are speed limits on most roads. And I would argue that 95% of people exceed those speed limits. Maybe less than that, but most people are probably at least 5 miles per hour over.

I still remember when I was a kid my dad telling me to never go more than 10 over the speed limit. And he was right. Because the only speeding tickets I’ve ever received were when I was going more than ten over.

That’s because the number of police officers available to enforce the speed limit is minuscule when compared to the number of instances of speeding, so they focus their efforts on the worst offenders.

When ten cars drive by at 5 over the speed limit a single police officer can’t pull them all over. But he can pull over the guy weaving in and out of traffic doing thirty over.

As a result most people will be motivated to keep their behavior relatively in check because they will see someone getting a ticket or hear about it and not want that to happen to them.

The visible enforcement against a small minority ensures group compliance.

But if a rule is deemed to not be important? It doesn’t even get enforced at all.

Pre-legalization of pot in Colorado I want to say that on 4/20 there were thousands who’d turn out for smoking events.

Maybe some of them got citations or arrested, but my non-interested observer memory is that mostly we’d just hear about how a bunch of people showed up to smoke pot in the open one day a year and left behind a bunch of garbage that had to be picked up.

Police could have arrested all those people, but there wasn’t a will to do so. Even when pot was illegal there wasn’t social support to strictly enforce those rules on that day.

I mention this because there are a lot of scary changes coming to the United States over the next few years. And from all the coverage I’ve seen, most people in the United States do not want those changes. This is not coming from the majority.

So don’t enforce them. Don’t comply with them. We’ve had laws on the books of every state in this country that haven’t been enforced in decades and haven’t been complied with in decades.

And, yes, if people choose to not comply there will be arrests and charges filed. They want that example. They want to cow everyone else into submission with a few visible victims.

To that I say, clog up the fucking courts. Clog up the already overcrowded prisons. Give them so many people to charge with “crimes” that they can’t possible do so.

Are they really going to arrest every woman in their state who uses an IUD and charge her with murder?

No. They can’t. Their success depends on submission from the medical establishment and from a majority of people too scared to say no to their absurd attempts to impose their narrow and limited worldview on everyone else.

If everyone stands against them they will not have enough manpower, court availability, or jail cells to hold them.

Laws and regulations are a social construct. They’re something that we collectively agree to in order to find a way to live with one another.

Noise ordinances are annoying until you have a newborn and a neighbor who blasts music in the middle of the night and then you understand where those come from, right? But if your neighbor just has one blowout party a year you probably cuss them in your head and let it go.

We collectively compromise so we can find a middle ground that is no one’s ideal, but that lets us each live a decent life.

But when that fails…

When whole groups of people can no longer live a valid life because of the laws and regulations passed by a minority?

Then it’s time to stop complying. Collectively and in large enough numbers that they can’t possibly single one person out to make an example of them.

Author: M.L. Humphrey

M.L. Humphrey is a former securities regulator, registered stockbroker (although only briefly), and consultant on regulatory and risk-related matters for large financial institutions with expertise in the areas of anti-money laundering regulation, mutual funds, and credit rating agencies. Since 2013 M.L. has also been a published author under a variety of pen names and across a variety of subjects and genres. You can contact M.L. at mlhumphreywriter [at] gmail.com.

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