People want to be able to break laws.

Its a counterintuitive concept. The simple thought is “If there is a law, everyone should be punished for breaking it.”

Yet, when a government entity attempts to put in place measures that will always catch illegal acts, 100% enforcement, there are usually protests.

A few examples:

1. Speeding cameras. These always cause a huge disturbance. They’re a prime example of: “Yeah the speed limit is a good thing but I want to be able to break it if the circumstances allow it.” Going even further, we could reduce # of traffic deaths if we had speeding cameras everywhere and lowered the speed limit by half. Yet, we are not willing to do this because of the other “costs”.

2. Turnstyle hopping. The MTA could put cages over all the turnstyles and prevent 100% of fare skipping. But they don’t. Partially because of cost, but also because of the uproar that would happen.

What is the purpose of this in our society?

I have three hypotheses:

1. Most laws are not meant to apply in every single case. We as a society realize that there may be complex situations where laws need to be bent and its ok. Our way of building this into the system is to call for less than 100% enforcement.

2. People value the thrill of the chase. They value being able to do whatever they want. Technically. Theres an emotional thrill that is vital to a happy life. Something that evolutionarily rewarded the cautious risk takers. The people willing to explore new regions. And now we get this thrill by speeding.

3. The diversity of outcomes. 100% enforcement would lead to a completely centralized state. A state where experimentation is not allowed. What is breaking a law actually leads to better outcomes? A 100% enforcement state would prevent this and stagnate the way that many centrally planned states have.

Its also possible to blame limited resources. This was a factor in the past and still is in the present but won’t be in the future. And yet, people will still object to 100% enforcement of laws.

^Day 88/90 362 words

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