Perspectives: Legislative force doesn’t allow us to agree to disagree

Photo by SIphotography iStock / Getty Images Plus; St. George News

OPINION — I’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks in Las Vegas helping out some friends who asked me to lend a hand. It’s been an eye-opening experience in more ways than I can count.

I mean no offense when I say that Vegas isn’t really my scene. The flashing lights, amplified audio and never-ending revelry are a bit more than my senses are accustomed to processing. My idea of fun has clearly tempered over time and no longer requires high-intensity stimuli to convince me that I’m having a good time.

More and more, I find greater satisfaction in simple human connection more so than simply being entertained.

Case in point, one of the most satisfying things I was able to do this past week was to reconnect over dinner with an old friend with whom I once hosted a radio morning show.

In many ways, we’ve always been polar opposites. Even when we were doing our radio show, she thrived in the spotlight while I preferred being heard to being seen. The yin and yang of our friendship has always been complementary.

On most political issues, we don’t see eye to eye. Even so, I have always enjoyed conversations with this particular friend because no matter what we’re discussing, we don’t have to agree.

By losing the primal need to dominate one another, we don’t waste time angrily questioning one another’s motives or otherwise imputing evil attributes to each other over a differing point of view. Neither of us feels the need to win in order to have a meaningful discussion.

Given the October shooting in Las Vegas and the more recent church shooting in Texas, it wasn’t surprising that the topic of gun control would come up.

My friend asked me, in complete sincerity, “Isn’t there something that can be done about these kinds of shootings?”

I know from our years of friendship that she was asking out of a genuine sense of compassion for the victims and their families rather than simply seeking political advantage.

Unlike a great number of the folks who’ve uttered some variation of these same words in the past week, her question didn’t come off like the opening bell of a UFC match.

My answer was that, yes, of course something can always be done. The bigger challenge is whether that something will actually solve the problem at hand or create new and bigger complications.

Our sense of compassion and empathy for others cannot be allowed to overrule our sense of right and wrong, especially as it pertains to how we allow government power to be exercised. Too often, in the throes of anger or sorrow, we demand legislative solutions to problems that cannot be solved by state force.

In the case of highly publicized shooting sprees, politicians and their media enablers push for laws that would preemptively deny law-abiding citizens the right to defend themselves without first providing due process. On its face, this approach makes sense to the majority of people who don’t know what they don’t know about defensive firearms.

In theory, making a particular type of firearm or accessory illegal to possess means fewer people will have access to them. Just like heroin and methamphetamine virtually disappeared when they were made illegal. Remember?

In reality, restricting the law-abiding from possessing the most appropriate tools for defending their own lives and the lives of those they love doesn’t inhibit those intent on creating mayhem. It creates potential criminals out of people who have harmed no one while empowering those who would do harm by disarming their intended victims.

Under proper limited government, a person who has caused no harm should be left alone until such time as the government can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that they have harmed another person or their property. Only then should laws come into play to facilitate justice being done and recompense being made for actual damage or harm.

What a person fears may someday happen is not sufficient justification to invoke government force against peaceful individuals.

Those who may dislike or disapprove of a particular type of firearm can always choose not to own one themselves. If they have compelling knowledge, they can always seek to persuade others that such firearms aren’t necessary.

But without the option of using force, they may just simply have to agree to disagree with those who do choose to own that type of firearm.

The danger with seeking legislative solutions to problems is that they rely entirely upon the force of the state. There is no room for peaceful disagreement.

Taking force out of the equation allows my friend and me to remain friends even when we cannot agree. Something tells me authentic solutions are more likely to be found under such conditions.

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events viewed through the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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7 Comments

  • statusquo November 13, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Its human nature to want to fix things and to do it quickly. But some things that have taken years to develop don’t have a quick fix. A few of our national issues come to mind. The national debt, poverty, violence, drug abuse and liberalism. These problems have been increasing for many years and have no instant fix. They are larger than simply preventing someone from owning a gun or getting access to drugs. The problems reflect the general depravation of our culture over time. Its likely too late to turn this around.

    • dogmatic November 13, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Well said,
      I’m glad you mentioned liberalism because the lose of tradition values bares much of the blame.

      • PatriotLiberal November 13, 2017 at 11:36 am

        hmmm “traditional values”. Nice words there. What traditional values have “liberals” taken away?

        • dogmatic November 13, 2017 at 7:18 pm

          Liberals themselves don’t have the courage to take anything away, they need more government, higher taxes other people’s money to do that.

          • PatriotLiberal November 14, 2017 at 4:44 pm

            So why are you glad he mentioned “liberalism” then?

  • Not_So_Much November 13, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Well said Bryan.

  • bikeandfish November 13, 2017 at 9:23 am

    I actually agree with most of what was said until this “The danger with seeking legislative solutions to problems is that they rely entirely upon the force of the state. There is no room for peaceful disagreement.”. While I don’t think legislation should be a first line of defense I also don’t think it relies upon “the force of the state” or is mutually exclusive with “peaceful disagreement”. I understand the sentiment and broader concern about “the force of the state” but I also think there is more nuance. Often legislation can be a viable compromise enacted to protect society and rarely is the state even needed to step in. Clearly there are times legislation goes too far, like the War on Drugs, and does exhibit undue force and coercion on citizens.
    Even then have I rarely seem “peaceful disagreement” inhibited or stopped.

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