Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's a Free Country, Isn't It?

On January 1st an additional 40,000 laws went on the books, an amalgam of local, state, and federal actions.


How Much is Too Much?

There are 51 Titles in the United States Code, each Title contains multiple volumes, sometimes many, many volumes.  In all, according to the GPO it would span some 200,000 pages.  The tax code adds another 80,000 pages, the Federal Register some 72,000 pages, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) roughly another 145,000.

A little research gave me an average word count for pages of  420 and the average reader can manage 250 words per minute (that's the low end of the range for reading prose, since federal law isn't all that easy reading, the actual number may be lower, proof readers average 200).  Given 497,000 bureaucratic pages, and a whopping 209 million word count.  It would take roughly 14,000 hours to sit down and read it all, if you worked at it 9-5 Monday-Friday, it would take you seven years to get through it all.

When do we cease being a 'Free' people?

How many laws are oppressive?  If it takes seven years to read them all, when do laws stop being a framework for the proper functioning of society and start being a bludgeon for the government to use on the people?  How many laws are there that the government just dusts off like a mallet to use in a court case?  What is the function of law that few, if anyone knows?  Not even lawyers know all the laws, they simply know how to research and apply them. 

A Sure Bet

It is a virtual certainty that each and everyone of us has violated one of the obscure laws buried in all those pages, we are all criminals at the hands of an overwhelming bureaucracy.  Many of the founding fathers were lawyers or studied law, one is left wondering how many laws there actually were back then.

What was it William Shakespeare said?

Away with him, I say! hang him with his pen and
ink-horn about his neck.

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