Reasonable Common Sense Laws

I really start to worry these days when someone uses the terms reasonable and common sense to describe laws. It reminds me of the story of the Emperors’ new clothes. In that story people were told that only smart people with good taste could see the clothing and no one wanted to “admit” that they were stupid or had bad taste. The same is true with the terms reasonable and common sense.

So today when someone says that a law is a reasonable and common sense answer to some problem I immediately assume that the law is neither reasonable or common sense. Instead I assume someone is trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes and to distract them from the parts of the law that must certainly be either unreasonable or lacking in common sense.

Now in many cases the law may seem reasonable or a part of common sense to the people proposing it. After all few people propose things they believe are unreasonable or illogical. But if they have to announce those attributes than they must clearly understand that others will not share those opinions. So I see their claims as an attempt to short circuit arguments and a de facto admission that they have a weak case. It’s like waving a red flag announcing “this law has huge problems!”

But people keep doing it. Why? Maybe they think most people are stupid and will fall for it. Maybe they’re right. But its pretty scary.

One Response to “Reasonable Common Sense Laws”

  1. Matt says:

    I think that, in most cases, people truly believe that no one could possibly disagree with them. If you introduced a bill banning the torture of puppies, it might seem like common sense, even though it might impose draconian requirements on pet owners.

    Of course, people who “truly believe that no one could possibly disagree with them” should probably stay away from politics entirely.

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