A very wise saying. Those who expect a new law to magically make all that nasty bad behavior disappear fool themselves. You can change said behavior by several means, but making laws is not one of them. At most, it reenforces the other methods.

Case in point: most guns are obtained legally. Does this mean that if guns were outlawed, criminals would no longer have guns? Of course not. Legally-obtained guns are simply a path of least resistance.

The period of Prohibition in the United States did nothing to prevent people from drinking alcohol, but simply made them seek illegal means of procurement. If people want it bad enough, nothing will stop them. It is apparent from the War on Drugs that this lesson has not yet been learned. It is even more apparent on countless other issues that this thinking is not limited to governments.

Addendum, June 11 2000:This is the furthest thing from anarchy propaganda, considering this was first said by a Chinese philosopher, making an observation about his government post, if I recall correctly. (I shall node this worthy sometime in the future.) It is a simple statement of fact. If you add a law, you increase the number of actions that are considered "criminal". Thus, you will have more crime, especially if the law restricts a very popular action, or has no discernable good purpose.

In short, there is a difference between anarchy and common sense.

Not to be confused with Laws have no effect.

This phrase is often (in my experience) used to suggest that no matter how bad things may seem, trying to fix them by changing the government's official position is pointless.

It is very true that no one agency can change anything of importance, but the government is a good agency to have on the side of the good guys. Whoever the good guys may be.

And while there are some people who don't follow the law, you probably have fewer people doing whatever-it-is than you would if you had passed no law at all. (If these are good laws, then) this causes more good to be done, and thus it is better than nothing.

Re: Guns.
Banning alcohol didn't work.
Banning drugs probably won't work.
Banning polygamy worked really well.
Banning slavery worked well, but it wasn't easy.
Banning guns looks like a piece of cake in comparison to drugs and alcohol.

The moral? Um... Well, there isn't one. Except, you never know what you can ban, until you try.

Actually, this sounds exactly like anarchy propaganda. Along with the usual defamation of the police, saying that laws cause crime just doesn't make too much sense to me. I would really have to doubt the mindset of anyone who says this, especially after listening to certain angry teens complain about "laws and rules" and illogically arguing that without laws society would be a better place. I just shook my head and said "You'll learn when you get older."

Maybe it's just America. But in my experience living in other countries, laws have drastic effects on decreasing crime. Take China. Liberal use of capital punishment and a strict set of laws has pushed crime to much lower levels than America. Take this into consideration. China is a much poorer country than America. According to American thought, that should make China's level of crime much higher, right? No, because the laws not only act as punishment but also as a deterrent to crime. See also Singapore and Japan.

Nobody expects a new law to make crime magically disappear. That is impossible. Nothing can do that. It is wishful thinking. I merely wish to see crime decrease.

I think the Prohibition analogy is used poorly. Alcohol is relatively harmless. The Prohibition was installed in a period of post-World War I optimism in a new, perfect society, and it was obviously installed by overly self-righteous moralistic idealists. It was a dumb idea, because alcohol is firstly not that bad, and secondly, easily trafficked. Hello mob.

Think about serious crimes. Murder, rape, robbery, larceny, all that. Do you seriously think that if those laws were abolished there would be less crime? God no. It would skyrocket. People are not nice by nature. We don't live in an utopian society, and so there must be laws to prevent crime. It is that simple. Laws are very necessary for a society to function.

Without order, there is no society.

The witch hunt theory of sociology goes something like: If you go looking for witches, you find them. Similarly, if you make a law, you are going looking for criminals, and, lo and behold, you find them. For example: The US passes a law against criticising the government, and suddenly you have a horde of newly found criminals. In addition, the fact that the search is on creates a need to find wrongdoing, thus producing even more "crime", whether the deed was committed or not.

The point is not that people will stop fucking over their fellow man if you stop making laws, it is that by the nature of law, a person responsible for the action must be found, making people search just a little harder, and accuse just a bit more agressively. Laws have never and will never create a system of Perfect Justice, but hey, can't live with 'em...

See also: Red Scare

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