“[T]he end of law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom.”
John Locke, The Second Treatise of Government
The purpose of making laws isn’t to prevent people from doing something, it’s to maximize their freedom. The proper role of government is to protect our God-given rights** – so the laws passed by governments should make our rights more secure.
As counter-intuitive as it is, this means that when the government passes a law – that law should actually make you more free – not less. Unfortunately, few if any of our current politicians understand this concept at all. Think about how many of our recent laws prohibit us from making our own choices. We now have laws that dictate what we must teach in schools and what we must feed our children while they’re at school. We also have laws that ban one product after another. None of this makes us more free.
So how can a law make people more free? Simple. When a government makes a law prohibiting theft, that makes everyone more free. Since a person knows that no one is allowed to steal his possessions, he doesn’t have to spend all of his time at home trying to protect his property from the rest of society. That gives him the freedom to leave his house and go into town to get a job, start a business, or whatever else he wants to do. This law against theft allows him to make the most of his liberty.
The value of understanding the true purpose behind making laws – and forcing our politicians to understand it – is incalculable. It is the difference between living in a society that constantly tries to control our behavior and one that helps us make the most out of the greatest gift on earth – Liberty.
**they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.– That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…