Member Rara Avis
Do you think that there could ever come a point where the cost of not legislating outweighs the possible danger of that legislation being abused or corrupted somewhere down the line?
Inherent in your question, Grinch, is the assumption that my biggest concern lies "somewhere down the line." Any law can be abused, and indeed I suspect that any good law WILL be abused, which is precisely why the guilty sometimes walk free and the innocent too often have to pay damages for frivolous law suits. Elimination of potential abuse inevitably results in grossly unfair laws. We should guard against abuse as much as we can, of course, but I don't think we should ever allow the potential for abuse to stop us from doing the right thing.
Admittedly, some laws don't just open the door to potential abuse but seem rather to almost encourage it. The so-called Patriot Act immediately springs to mind. These, too, are dangerous and, yea, the danger is usually "somewhere down the line."
Laws that try to mandate "good behavior," in my opinion, are dangerous from the very moment they are passed. They are dangerous because things like ethics, morality and honor can't ever be legislated, can't ever be defined by majority rule. Trying to force people into a common mold both robs the individual of the emotional rewards of voluntary compliance and tries (albeit unsuccessfully) to rob society of the strengths of cultural diversity. I'm absolutely convinced that "good behavior" has to be defined by the individual if it is to have any real meaning.
So no, Grinch, I don't believe there could ever come a point where the cost of not legislating ethics, morality and honor will outweigh the cost of forced homogeneity on society.
The interesting part is that, as soon as there were negative responses to it, Obama's people went back, changed it to voluntary with cash rewards and then claimed that they never changed it, that it was that way all the time.
Mike, I guess I'm not entirely sure who "Obama's people" are, because I've not seen any official government statements claiming what you say they've claimed. If you have references, I'll take the time to read them. In any event, if someone has lied about the change in direction it's certainly not a lie I would condone. Works both ways, though. If obviously biased writers are wrongly accusing Obama staff of blatantly lying, that too is not something I would condone.
So how sincere was Obama's plan, to have it trashcanned so easily.....and was it something he believed in or was it something to get votes, something thrown out there to be deleted at any signals of discord?
Beat me, Mike. I've never seen anything to indicate it was ever really thought through well enough to qualify as a plan. On the other hand, even in my world, which is far less fraught with controversy than a politician's, I understand the necessity of "picking our battles."
Of course, I've got a few ex's out there who would probably say I was never very good at picking the right ones.