It’s hard to know the effects of a treaty which is able to evolve over time:
Article 42: Amendments Parties may submit proposed amendments to the Committee for review, which would then determine whether or not the proposed amendment should be presented for potential ratification, acceptance, or approval. Successful amendments would become effective 90 days after all parties have provided their respective instruments of ratification, acceptance, or approval to the depositary.
In a report to the Australian Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, Kimberlee Weatherall, an associate professor at the University of Queensland, assessed the article in saying “it might be argued that the text of ACTA could be fleshed out through guidelines on an ongoing basis, with possible amendments in the longer term.” Citing the relationship with Article 33, she added that “it might further be argued that the exhortations to ‘promote cooperation, where appropriate, among [the Parties’] competent authorities’, particularly in conjunction with the existence of regular meetings and exchange of information about enforcement practices, creates the basic framework within which more detailed mechanisms can be developed over time”.
One of the ways that tyranny can be established is if there are too many laws for people to know if they are breaking one. They can’t possibly know. There are too many laws to know them all. Then you have to add all the delegated authorities to create regulations. Now there is a trend to add who knows how many pages of ever evolving international treaties to the list. It’s madness.
Even an organ as sedate as the Economist has recognized the problem:
Too many laws, too many prisoners THREE pickup trucks pulled up outside George Norris’s home in Spring, Texas. Six armed police in flak jackets jumped out. Thinking they must have come to the wrong place, Mr Norris opened his front door, and was startled to be shoved against a wall and frisked for weapons. He was forced into a chair for four hours while officers ransacked his house. They pulled out drawers, rifled through papers, dumped things on the floor and eventually loaded 37 boxes of Mr Norris’s possessions onto their pickups. They refused to tell him what he had done wrong. “It wasn’t fun, I can tell you that,” he recalls.
Mr Norris was 65 years old at the time, and a collector of orchids. He eventually discovered that he was suspected of smuggling the flowers into America, an offence under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
The following was true in 1998. The situation has got a lot worse since:
Law prof and cop agree: never ever ever ever ever ever ever talk to the cops about a crime, even if you’re innocent. In a brilliant pair of videos, Prof. James Duane of the Regent University School of Law and Officer George Bruch of the Virginia Beach Police Department present a forceful case for never, ever, ever speaking to the police without your lawyer present. Ever. Never, never, never.
I’ve directed many people to those videos over the years. No one has ever regretted taking the time to watch them. Indeed I’ll be adding them to the video section of the site. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
If there are so many laws that you almost certainly will be inadvertently breaking one, how do you avoid prosecution? Why, you have to make those in positions of power like you. You are no longer living in liberty, instead you have freedom by the grace and favor of whoever is not persecuting you. If they do not like you, they can get you locked up.
If nothing else having too many laws and regulations is an invitation to graft and corruption. But it is actually something far worse. It is an attack on the very essence of our society. It begs the question of whether you are living in a land of liberty or one of tyranny? If you still feel you are living in a land of the free, are you doing so on borrowed time? If you happen to be living in North Korea or somewhere else subject to the whim of a despot then you know the answer. You probably have no need to read this blog. You are already aware of what a precious thing liberty and freedom are. Sometimes you don’t realize the value of something until it is missing.
It’s not as if many legislators are unaware of the problem:
Stop making so many laws… all the u-turns are ‘making us look bad’, Cameron tells MPs. Lord McNally, a Lib Dem minister, told the paper both parties had entered the coalition aiming to legislate less, but that every department has Bills it wants passed.
But of course, there are so many problems. The government has to do something. Even those traditionally in favor of legislative and fiscal restraint are now conditioned to do something. Besides, the more complex the laws and regulations, the more scope there is for those in the know to profit from their knowledge. They then become a powerful vested interest for further legislative and regulatory imposts. Who knows what they might achieve if they were actually engaged in a value-adding activity? .
Graphic at top of the post from:
Too many conventions hurting environment. Increasing environmental awareness has resulted in the adoption of about 500 conventions, which paradoxically has hindered saving the planet.