Let me give you a hammer.
It’s my own hammer. A regular carpenter’s hammer, nothing special, but it is mine, and I like it.
I’m giving you my hammer because I need you to build a bridge for me. It’s a very useful and very needed bridge, and building it will be beneficial to you, me, and thousands of other people.
You say “Fair enough, but after the bridge is built, I get to keep your hammer, because it can be used to build other things that you, me, and many, many other people need.”
I like this deal because all it costs me is my hammer, and not only do I get the bridge I need, I’m going to be getting other cool and useful things for me as well. So I let you keep the hammer, and you build a bunch of great and wonderful things.
But that hammer is now no longer under my control, and I soon find out that it’s being used to build a lot of things that I don’t like, things that go against my best interests and the interests of my community.
It’s not my hammer anymore. I’m not the one who is swinging it. I’m not the one who determines where or when the hammer will fall.
Worse yet, I find out that hammer has a claw on the other end, a claw that is very useful at tearing things down and ripping things apart, a claw that is eventually used to rip apart all that I hold dear. The hammer that I gave you to build something great has now become the instrument of my destruction.
Laws are hammers.
Use them only if you are sure the power to wield them will stay in your hands.
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January 5th, 2015 by exurbankevin