At some point I may end up making the practical project of figuring out how to map the laws. That is to say let’s call this project ‘Law Map’. Law Map would be a system of identifying every law on every book and having an accounting of every case and conviction in every jurisdiction of the US.
What I learned in the FBI school was that the problem with the legal thicket in the US is that there are three levels of law. One is the basic law as we understand it. ‘Thou shalt not steal’. Then there is a second level that lays out all of the authorities and agencies responsible to enforce that law and whose jurisdiction is what. Then you get into the third level which are the regulations about how these authorities and agencies are allowed to operate. The first level of laws is 100 pages thick. The second is 1000. The third is 1 million. It is the tension of oversight between level two and level three that makes it possible for people to get away with breaking level one. For example, a regulatory level three law requires that in order to *legally* be an air traffic controller, you have to pass 6 certifications per year, every year. This costs more money than new radars, so planes get lost. Too much law.
The Constitution is fine. They figured it out over 200 years ago. It’s the crap they’ve built on top of it that makes prosecution of the law so complicated that it can effectively nullify its sharp intent. It is only when you cite wisdom entirely outside of the aegis of law that you can determine whether or not that system of law is actually good. But that goes beyond what the average Joe is capable of, in America or anywhere else on the planet. Nevertheless, there are plenty of Americans who do just that.
The enemy is the politics that navigate between level two and level three in order to pursue their power and agenda with the understanding that the common man who doesn’t have a squad of attorneys behind him will be eternally frustrated. But even the common man has the intuition that sees *something is wrong with the system* when despite the clarity of ‘Thou shalt not steal’, people get away with grand larceny. Call it legalistic corruption. It’s corrupt, but it’s legal as long as that level of regulation exists and the long arm of the law gets tangled up in fancy clothing. It is when the law loses its moral clarity that the people rightfully lose respect for it. But our civil religion does not allow enough space for us to escape the long arm of the law. We are not a liberty to do so precisely because the reaction to distrust has been *more law*. This has become an unvirtuous cycle.
If we were to allow tradition and logic to rule us, then we would not need laws of the third order impinging on personal freedom. How many generations have smoked tobacco? And how much brains does it take to see that it makes you cough? And how many lungs do you have to cut open to see the effects? So why do we need a law to tell us where and when we can smoke? Because we have interposed systems of law and regulation to be superior to social forces of tradition and logic. That doesn’t mean we don’t need law, and it certainly doesn’t obviate the Constitution. It means that if we cannot use tradition and logic because we allow the reach of law so far into our lives that it becomes hegemonic. And thus we disable the social forces of tradition and logic.