Quotation of the day:
We can’t count how many times, and in how many ways, we have been saying this over the years. All things that we would wish for in life, and envision for our society, need not, and in most cases should NOT be legislated.
Without enforcement — which is typically sporadic — such initiatives usually make little difference, except allow a jurisdiction to stake its claim as a legislative pioneer. Two years ago, Kentville made headlines when it passed an anti-idling bylaw, which was broader-based in that it also targeted private passenger vehicles and threatened violators with fines ranging from $150 to $10,000. Not a peep since.
We agree that these bylaws or laws are mostly for show but the editorial implies that they make little difference because they are toothless. They would be worse if they had teeth! Even with minor penalties they are not at all benign. One might think they cost nothing but they take time from problems which government can and should be dealing with realistically. When legislated they take up at least some valuable policing time which might be better spent elsewhere. And when they aren’t enforced (and they can’t be thoroughly enforced) they encourage a disrespect for the force of law. And if they were fully enforced they would infringe severely on people’s liberty. But these soft laws are slowly and inexorably getting people conditioned to such controls on their personal choices. This is beyond useless. This is dangerous.
These issues (like smoking and idling and what we eat) are best left to education and societal pressure (if people feel strongly enough). Government should stay out of it.