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overlandsailor
I hit on this concept a bit in another topic. But I felt it deserved it's own so I thought I would start a new one.

Our legislatures tend to write ridiculously long laws to apply to simple concepts in an effort to cover every possible angle. However, I would think that simpler laws would be easier to apply. They write pages and pages of legal code in an effort to eliminate all loop-holes, and yet, more often then not, they create other loopholes in the effort. I have no formal education in the law, but I have always wondered why the law has to be so complicated.

I don't understand why we make our laws so complex. The only reason I can really see behind it is that most legislatures are made up of politicians, the majority of which are usually lawyers. By complicating legal code, we ensure an ever greater need for people to use lawyers. It sounds like a conspiracy theory and I do not meant as one, but you have to wonder why the write law this way.

If the law was written more simply, there would be little room for the legal professionals to try to maneuver around the law, and it would be far less likely that other laws (if they are also written more simply) would conflict with each other.

But you have to wonder why it is necessary to complicate simple issues.

For the purpose of example, I will use just such a simple issue. The sale of, and access to, tobacco by minors. The follow is a copy of the law in Missouri that covers this subject.


QUOTE
407.924. 1. The division of liquor control within the department of public safety shall implement and enforce the provisions of sections 407.925 to 407.934.

2. Beginning January 1, 2003, the division of liquor control shall submit an annual report to the general assembly on the effectiveness of sections 407.925 to 407.934 in reducing tobacco possession by minors and the enforcement activities by the division for violations of sections 407.925 to 407.934.

407.925. Definitions.
As used in sections 407.925 to 407.932, the following terms mean:

(1) "Center of youth activities", any playground, school or other facility, when such facility is being used primarily by persons under the age of eighteen for recreational, educational or other purposes;

(2) "Distribute", a conveyance to the public by sale, barter, gift or sample;

(3) "Minor", a person under the age of eighteen;

(4) "Municipality", the city, village or town within which tobacco products are sold or distributed or, in the case of tobacco products that are not sold or distributed within a city, village or town, the county in which they are sold or distributed;

(5) "Person", an individual, partnership, copartnership, firm, company, public or private corporation, association, joint stock company, trust, estate, political subdivision or any agency, board, department or bureau of the state or federal government, or any other legal entity which is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties;

(6) "Proof of age", a driver's license or other generally accepted means of identification that contains a picture of the individual and appears on its face to be valid;

(7) "Rolling papers", paper designed, manufactured, marketed, or sold for use primarily as a wrapping or enclosure for tobacco, which enables a person to roll loose tobacco into a smokable cigarette;

(8) "Sample", a tobacco product distributed to members of the general public at no cost or at nominal cost for product promotional purposes;

(9) "Sampling", the distribution to members of the general public of tobacco product samples;

(10) "Tobacco products", any substance containing tobacco leaf, including, but not limited to, cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, snuff, chewing tobacco, or dipping tobacco;

(11) "Vending machine", any mechanical electric or electronic, self-service device which, upon insertion of money, tokens or any other form of payment, dispenses tobacco products.

407.927. The owner of an establishment at which tobacco products or rolling papers are sold at retail or through vending machines shall cause to be prominently displayed in a conspicuous place at every display from which tobacco products are sold and on every vending machine where tobacco products are purchased a sign that shall:

(1) Contain in red lettering at least one-half inch high on a white background the following: "It is a violation of state law for cigarettes or other tobacco products to be sold or otherwise provided to any person under the age of eighteen or for such person to purchase, attempt to purchase or possess cigarettes or other tobacco products."; and

(2) Include a depiction of a pack of cigarettes at least two inches high defaced by a red diagonal diameter of a surrounding red circle, and the words "Under 18".

407.928. No person or entity shall sell individual packs of cigarettes or smokeless tobacco products unless such packs satisfy one of the following conditions prior to the time of sale:

(1) It is sold through a vending machine; or

(2) It is displayed behind the check-out counter or it is within the unobstructed line of sight of the sales clerk or store attendant from the checkout counter.

407.929. 1. A person or entity selling tobacco products or rolling papers or distributing tobacco product samples shall require proof of age from a prospective purchaser or recipient if an ordinary person would conclude on the basis of appearance that such prospective purchaser or recipient may be under the age of eighteen.

2. The operator's or chauffeur's license issued pursuant to the provisions of section 302.177, RSMo, or the operator's or chauffeur's license issued pursuant to the laws of any state or possession of the United States to residents of those states or possessions, or an identification card as provided for in section 302.181, RSMo, or the identification card issued by any uniformed service of the United States, or a valid passport shall be presented by the holder thereof upon request of any agent of the division of liquor control or any owner or employee of an establishment that sells tobacco, for the purpose of aiding the registrant, agent or employee to determine whether or not the person is at least eighteen years of age when such person desires to purchase or possess tobacco products procured from a registrant. Upon such presentation, the owner or employee of the establishment shall compare the photograph and physical characteristics noted on the license, identification card or passport with the physical characteristics of the person presenting the license, identification card or passport.

3. Any person who shall, without authorization from the department of revenue, reproduce, alter, modify or misrepresent any chauffeur's license, motor vehicle operator's license or identification card shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, and confinement for not more than one year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

4. Reasonable reliance on proof of age or on the appearance of the purchaser or recipient shall be a defense to any action for a violation of subsections 1, 2 and 3 of section 407.931. No person shall be liable for more than one violation of subsections 2 and 3 of section 407.931 on any single day.

407.931. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, provide or distribute tobacco products to persons under eighteen years of age.

2. By January 1, 2002, all vending machines that dispense tobacco products shall be located within the unobstructed line of sight and under the direct supervision of an adult responsible for preventing persons less than eighteen years of age from purchasing any tobacco product from such machine or shall be equipped with a lock-out device to prevent the machines from being operated until the person responsible for monitoring sales from the machines disables the lock. Such locking device shall be of a design that prevents it from being left in an unlocked condition and which will allow only a single sale when activated. A locking device shall not be required on machines that are located in areas where persons less than eighteen years of age are not permitted or prohibited by law. An owner of an establishment whose vending machine is not in compliance with the provisions of this subsection shall be subject to the penalties contained in subsection 5 of this section. A determination of noncompliance may be made by a local law enforcement agency or the division of liquor control. Nothing in this section shall apply to a vending machine if located in a factory, private club or other location not generally accessible to the general public.

3. No person or entity shall sell, provide or distribute any tobacco product or rolling papers to any minor, or sell any individual cigarettes to any person in this state. This subsection shall not apply to the distribution by family members on property that is not open to the public.

4. Any person including, but not limited to, a sales clerk, owner or operator who violates subsection 1, 2 or 3 of this section or section 407.927 shall be penalized as follows:

(1) For the first offense, twenty-five dollars;

(2) For the second offense, one hundred dollars;

(3) For a third and subsequent offense, two hundred fifty dollars.

5. Any owner of the establishment where tobacco products are available for sale who violates subsection 3 of this section, in addition to the penalties established in subsection 4 of this section, shall be penalized in the following manner:

(1) For the first violation per location within two years, a reprimand shall be issued by the division of liquor control;

(2) For the second violation per location within two years, the division of liquor control shall issue a citation prohibiting the outlet from selling tobacco products for a twenty-four-hour period;

(3) For the third violation per location within two years, the division of liquor control shall issue a citation prohibiting the outlet from selling tobacco products for a forty-eight-hour period;

(4) For the fourth and any subsequent violations per location within two years, the division of liquor control shall issue a citation prohibiting the outlet from selling tobacco products for a five-day period.

6. Any owner of the establishment where tobacco products are available for sale who violates subsection 3 of this section shall not be penalized pursuant to this section if such person documents the following:

(1) An in-house or other tobacco compliance employee training program was in place to provide the employee with information on the state and federal regulations regarding tobacco sales to minors. Such training program must be attended by all employees who sell tobacco products to the general public;

(2) A signed statement by the employee stating that the employee has been trained and understands the state laws and federal regulations regarding the sale of tobacco to minors; and

(3) Such in-house or other tobacco compliance training meets the minimum training criteria, which shall not exceed a total of ninety minutes in length, established by the division of liquor control.

7. The exemption in subsection 6 of this section shall not apply to any person who is considered the general owner or operator of the outlet where tobacco products are available for sale if:

(1) Four or more violations per location of subsection 3 of this section occur within a one-year period; or

(2) Such person knowingly violates or knowingly allows his or her employees to violate subsection 3 of this section.

8. If a sale is made by an employee of the owner of an establishment in violation of sections 407.925 to 407.934, the employee shall be guilty of an offense established in subsections 1, 2 and 3 of this section. If a vending machine is in violation of section 407.927, the owner of the establishment shall be guilty of an offense established in subsections 3 and 4 of this section. If a sample is distributed by an employee of a company conducting the sampling, such employee shall be guilty of an offense established in subsections 3 and 4 of this section.

9. A person cited for selling, providing or distributing any tobacco product to any individual less than eighteen years of age in violation of subsection 1, 2 or 3 of this section shall conclusively be presumed to have reasonably relied on proof of age of the purchaser or recipient, and such person shall not be found guilty of such violation if such person raises and proves as an affirmative defense that such individual presented a driver's license or other government-issued photo identification purporting to establish that such individual was eighteen years of age or older.

10. Any person adversely affected by this section may file an appeal with the administrative hearing commission which shall be adjudicated pursuant to the procedures established in chapter 621, RSMo.

407.932. Nothing in sections 407.925 to 407.932 shall prohibit local political subdivisions from enacting more stringent ordinances or rules.

407.933. 1. No person less than eighteen years of age shall purchase, attempt to purchase or possess cigarettes or other tobacco products unless such person is an employee of a seller of cigarettes or tobacco products and is in such possession to effect a sale in the course of employment, or an employee of the division of liquor control for enforcement purposes pursuant to subsection 5 of section 407.934.

2. Any person less than eighteen years of age shall not misrepresent his or her age to purchase cigarettes or tobacco products.

3. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be penalized as follows:

(1) For the first violation, the person is guilty of an infraction and shall have any cigarettes or tobacco products confiscated;

(2) For a second violation and any subsequent violations, the person is guilty of an infraction, shall have any cigarettes or tobacco products confiscated and shall complete a tobacco education or smoking cessation program, if available.
source


IMHO opinion. The legislature could have:

One: they could have simply banned cigarette vending machines. This was the effect of the law anyway and they all knew that would be the practical effect of the law, so why mess around?

Two: Simply state that it is illegal for any person, or business to sell tobacco products to minors. (Do we really need to define, minor, person, etc?)

Three: specify the penalties.

Four: Simply state that it is illegal for minor to possess tobacco products outside of employment where sale of tobacco products is part of the job.

Five: Specify the penalties.

Done.


Why is it that pages upon pages of code need to be drafted for something as simple as restricting the sale and use of tobacco by minors?

More often then not, these original laws on the subject address sales of tobacco but not possession of tobacco by minors. So in the earlier days of the law, a police officer could see an 8 year old smoking a camel and could do nothing. Where is the logic here? In some states like Missouri, this was finally addressed, but it is another example of how the law in it's complicated form fails to address the issue at hand.


Question for Debate:

Why can law and legal code not be written in simple English and without defining words that already have a definition in any dictionary?

Would the public be better served if legal code was simplified?

Isn't the old saying "less is more" applicable in most cases?

Who does all this complication really serve?
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Hobbes
OS...this is a great topic! I have always had the same questions...still looking for good answers. Maybe some will come up here.

Why can law and legal code not be written in simple English and without defining words that already have a definition in any dictionary?

My only answer is...because laws are written by lawyers. I suspect its done this way to remove loopholes, but I think so tightly defining everything probably adds in more loopholes than it covers, as it is impossible to describe every potential situation that could occur in detail. One of my high school teachers had an even better example of 'overspeak' than yours. That year, Congress had written a document setting the price of lettuce. It was, I think, 2500 pages. On the price of lettuce!!!! The Constitution, which governs almost all aspect of our country, has 247 words. Somewhere in between, we have clearly lost our way.

Would the public be better served if legal code was simplified? I think so...but hopefully any lawyers here will disagree. If no one disagrees, then what we have is a monumental waste of time and effort whose sole purpose would have to be to line the pockets of more lawyers. I hope that's not the case...

Isn't the old saying "less is more" applicable in most cases?

see above....

Who does all this complication really serve


ditto.

I'd like to add a thought...I've always felt that it would be easier to write these laws if they all opened with a sentence, or paragraph, defining their purpose. In the example above, it would be something like "It is the purpose of this law to prevent the sale of tobacco to minors." Then, if any discepancies came up, they coudl be compared to the stated purpose of the law for resolution, rather than trying to minutely define all possible scenarios. If government cannot succinctly define the purpose of any law they write...then they shouldn't be writing it. So, I am really at a loss as to why this isn't done.
overlandsailor
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Mar 26 2005, 11:14 AM)
I'd like to add a thought...I've always felt that it would be easier to write these laws if they all opened with a sentence, or paragraph, defining their purpose.  In the example above, it would be something like "It is the purpose of this law to prevent the sale of tobacco to minors."  Then, if any discepancies came up, they coudl be compared to the stated purpose of the law for resolution, rather than trying to minutely define all possible scenarios.  If government cannot succinctly define the purpose of any law they write...then they shouldn't be writing it.  So, I am really at a loss as to why this isn't done.
*



Good point. thumbsup.gif However, If given the opportunity, I would like to see all future laws go a step future. Write the purpose of the law, then follow with the stated goals. Add to that a sunset clause for the law to be renewed the first (after this, it could be made permanent, be eliminated, or be given another sunset time). We can judge the law against it's stated purpose and goals to determine if it has been effective. If it has not, then we can remove it, or rewrite it. If it has been effective, we can give it permanency, and if its effectiveness is in question we can extend the sunset time to see how it shakes out.

I wish I could remember who originally proposed a similar Idea on AD so I could give then credit for it.

I see no reason to keep useless laws on the books. However, it would also force the politicians to be more upfront with the purpose of legislation, rather then obfuscate it in rhetoric, the goals would have to be clear as they would be what the law is judged against in the future. It would not eliminate all the problems we face with our laws, but it might make them a bit more understandable, and keep the politicians a bit more honest.

Jaime
Why can law and legal code not be written in simple English and without defining words that already have a definition in any dictionary?

What? You find legaleeze hard to read? Ok, I admit, it's an acquired taste. laugh.gif

I agree a recodification of some laws is necessary. I don't think that has to do with the English itself so much but rather the laziness by our legislators in maintaining clean code. I will explain more in question #2.

In regards to definitions, I contend they are necessary more often than you seem to think. The gay marriage debate, for example, is almost exclusively focused on definitions. 'What defines marriage?' always comes up in that debate which shows me there is at least some need to define items under the law.

Further, I would never, ever, ever enter into any legally binding contracts that did not clearly define certain definitions - such as who the parties are, the obligations of each party under the contract, and events of default. Definitions are imperative in legally binding contract construction.

Definitions are often needed because common sense isn't common and not everyone will agree in the abstract. Thus, the need for a solid base from which to litigate, if necessary.

Would the public be better served if legal code was simplified?

Absolutely, without a doubt. Awhile back Mike calculated how long it would take an average citizen to read the entire U.S. Federal Code that governs us all. I recall the result was years worth of nothing but reading. The structure as it is now certainly invites ignorance to the law as being a valid legal defense. It is impossible to be aware of every single law that governs us. Even lawyers have specialities these days.

One way I propose to reduce the size of the Federal Code is to recodify everything. For example, when you read the Patriot Act (.pdf) most of what you find looks like this:
QUOTE
SEC. 220. NATIONWIDE SERVICE OF SEARCH WARRANTS FOR ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE. 
(a) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 121 of title 18, United States Code, 
is amended— 
(1) in section 2703, by striking ‘‘under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure’’ every place it appears and inserting ‘‘using the procedures described in the Federal Rules of H. R. 3162—21 Criminal Procedure by a court with jurisdiction over the offense under investigation’’; and 
(2) in section 2711— 
(A) in paragraph (1), by striking ‘‘and’’; 
(B ) in paragraph (2), by striking the period and inserting ‘‘; and’’; and 
(C ) by inserting at the end the following: 
‘‘(3) the term ‘court of competent jurisdiction’ has the meaning assigned by section 3127, and includes any Federal court within that definition, without geographic limitation.’’. 
(b ) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Section 2703(d) of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking ‘‘described in section 3127(2)(A)’’.


This was just a section I picked at random. Lots of 'inserting' this and 'striking' that, don't you agree? Well, let's hop over to Title 18, Chapter 21, Section 2703 - Link. You'll note that "Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure" has not been replaced as the Patriot Act provides. No, sir. In order to fully understand this section of Title 18, in light of any changes or amendments that have been made to it, you will need to click on the additional link entitled Notes, where if you're really good at deciphering legaleeze, you'll see reference to the Patriot Act's required change. A lot of unnecessary searching just to understand this wee little section of our laws.

One should not have to pour through volumes and volumes of old law to find out what new legislation changes. The lazy legislators need to take the original code and rewrite it to reflect the changes they have made in one, fluid reading, text. In fact, were I to run for office, I'd be a one issue wonder advocating this recodification before we as a nation do anything else.

Isn't the old saying "less is more" applicable in most cases?
I'm skipping this one, a bit vague for my liking. flowers.gif

Who does all this complication really serve?
The cynic in me can only answer - the job security for our legislators. As long as we remain confused and ignorant to our laws they can continue on with their comfortable status quo positions.

In one of my favorite, albeit somewhat dated, lectures by Stephen Hawking, Life in the Universe (.pdf), he reflects on how the amount of written information we humans have is overwhelming and forbodes potential problems and necessary specialization:
QUOTE
In the 18th century, there was said to be a man who had read every book written. But nowadays, if you read one book a day, it would take you about 15,000 years to read through the books in a national Library. By which time, many more books would have been written. 
 
This has meant that no one person can be the master of more than a small corner of human knowledge. People have to specialise, in narrower and narrower fields. This is likely to be a major limitation in the future. We certainly can not continue, for long, with the exponential rate of growth of knowledge that we have had in the last three hundred years. An even greater limitation and danger for future generations, is that we still have the instincts, and in particular, the aggressive impulses, that we had in cave man days. Aggression, in the form of subjugating or killing other men, and taking their women and food, has had definite survival advantage, up to the present time. But now it could destroy the entire human race, and much of the rest of life on Earth. A nuclear war, is still the most immediate danger, but there are others, such as the release of a genetically engineered virus. Or the green house effect becoming unstable. 


It's not just the law that has become overwhelming. It is a symptom of our information heavy society and like Hawking, I am not sure where all this information will lead us. Going any further would probably lead us off topic, here, however. police.gif
logophage
Why can law and legal code not be written in simple English and without defining words that already have a definition in any dictionary?

I'm going to agree with Jaime here. It's very important to define one's terms to address any ambiguities. I also agree with overlandsailor: it's odd that given the attempts to clearly define terms, there is no similar attempt to clearly define purpose. That said, simple, clear definitions at all levels are the way to go.

I think the main problem is the labyrinthian language and the lack of accountability to the laws themselves. There is no "gaming of the system" in such a way to encourage simple, clear language; in fact it is gamed quite antithetically. Discussed further on.
QUOTE(overlandsailor)
If given the opportunity, I would like to see all future laws go a step future. Write the purpose of the law, then follow with the stated goals. Add to that a sunset clause for the law to be renewed the first (after this, it could be made permanent, be eliminated, or be given another sunset time). We can judge the law against it's stated purpose and goals to determine if it has been effective. If it has not, then we can remove it, or rewrite it. If it has been effective, we can give it permanency, and if its effectiveness is in question we can extend the sunset time to see how it shakes out.

I wish I could remember who originally proposed a similar Idea on AD so I could give then credit for it.

I don't know if I was the first to propose this on AD. But, it's been on my "agenda" for quite a while. Here's one thread I started a while back.

Would the public be better served if legal code was simplified?

Simple answer: yes. More below:

Isn't the old saying "less is more" applicable in most cases? Who does all this complication really serve?

These two questions I'll answer together. I agree with what's been said before that legislators are mostly lawyers who are well-versed in legal-ese. Sometimes the workmanship of a proposed law is designed to compensate for the amphibolous language of politicians; sometimes, however, it is designed to equivocate. The structure of laws is a reflection of our political system itself. This will always be the case, unfortunately. Decentralization is the only mechanism I know which would help alleviate this problem by placing power into smaller, hopefully more well-defined, buckets (part of the reason I'm a States' rights advocate).

That said, the main issue with legal language is that the system is "gamed" in such a way to encourage it. A good portion of this "encouragement" is that laws often come under judicial review. In order to prevent this from happening too often, laws become more and more obfuscated so that citizens/classes of citizens will be less likely to challenge the law. It's a "vicious circle". While politicians may get voted out of office, the (poorly constructed) law remains on the books.
overlandsailor



One of the problems with the confusing language of the law is that it lends itself to abuse.

For example. Way back when the woman I worked for at an Investigations firm specialized in Insurance Fraud work, passed away (still thinking about you Ellen flowers.gif ). I decided to buy out her children who wanted nothing to do with the business. The problem I faced was that I did not possess the 5 years of documented experience needed to obtain an investigators license from the state. However, I could work under another persons license with no experience requirement.

My old boss had been doing this. So I approached the man who's license she ws working under and asked about doing the same. My old boss was a life long friend of his, so he just let her do it. He barely knew me so he proposed a fee to be paid for the privilege. This was fair, so I drafted a contract of sorts to govern this arrangement.

One line I wrote specifically the way it appears for a alterer purpose.

The contract required an upfront payment for the first year at the time of the signing. Afterwards there would be a quarterly payment for the following two years. Afterwards the fees would be open to renegotiation.

The line in question stated:

If at any time the principle of (company name was here) fails to make full and complete payment to the principle of (his company name here) this agreement will become null and void.

The other party felt this was a line that greatly protected him. However, as I had intended it prevented me from being liable for the balance of the contract should the business fail and I not be able to, or choose not to make any further payments to him.

When the business went south to the point of me deciding to close the doors he contacted me and asked how I intended to pay the balance of the money owed on the contract. I referred him to the line listed above and informed him that I was not liable for any further payments because I did not make the last payment on time and thus the contract is no longer in effect.

If the contract had been written in plain language, it would have been obvious to the other party what that clause meant. Of course if he had an attorney review it he would have learned this as well.

There is a place for attorneys in contract law. People should employ experts to protect their interests and ensure that they are property protected. You choose to enter into a contract with someone else. You don't get to choose what government laws you live under.

In criminal / civil law, and government regulation, the people should not need a lawyer to understand what the rules that regulate how they can live mean. This is supposed to be a government of the people for the people by the people. So the people should be able to understand what their government is doing.
Hobbes
Jamie and OS,

Wouldn't the inclusion of purpose eliminate the need to so tightly define everything else? Any arguments over terms would then have a clear frame of reference....when the purpose of the law is examined, it should make clear many issues, making extensive definition of each term unnecessary. Clearly, I think, given my example, something needs to be done....unless someone can make a good argument as to why the price of lettuce is something like 10,000 times as complicated as forming and governing a new country.

It is worth noting that one significant change that has occurred since then is that lawyers weren't nearly so prevalent, and most of the people that wrote the Constitution were businessmen (were any of them lawyers?). Coincidence? I think not.
Jaime
QUOTE(Hobbes @ Mar 26 2005, 11:06 PM)

Wouldn't the inclusion of purpose eliminate the need to so tightly define everything else? 

I agree it may be helpful, but it would not eliminate the need. In numerous instances of current law, we already begin them by describing the "purpose" and "scope" of the law. I found over a million results by searching scope and purpose of law site:.gov at google. Nearly everyone one of those results takes you the text of an already existing law.

QUOTE
It is worth noting that one significant change that has occurred since then is that lawyers weren't nearly so prevalent, and most of the people that wrote the Constitution were businessmen (were any of them lawyers?).  Coincidence?  I think not.
*

Wrong. 24 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were lawyers (Source) and 35 of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention were lawyers. (Source). It's too convenient to blame the lawyers. Lawyers have been around for centuries. Their numbers are a symptom, not the problem.

I still contend the the issue (not sure if it is a 'problem' per se) is the amount of information we have. Our ever growing resources of information are often translated to industry and capital. Once this is done the government gets involved in regulating the industry and capital and the laws are created. The only way to truly stop the onslaught of law is to halt progress. But that is a ridiculous notion. We are left with trying to find a happy medium. Logophage is spot on in his call for decentralization. I think reducing the multiple levels of oversight we currently have in many industries is a good step toward simplifying our laws.
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