Living so close to Chicago, I've heard the phrase "if it would just save one ______" (enter your cause du jour here). Focusing on the one-offs is endemic in academia as well as the government. This makes sense due to the homogenous makeup of both Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Office with most of them being educated at Harvard, Yale, or occasionally one of the other Ivy League universities.
In a way, this thought-pattern is the tyranny of the one vs the needs of the many. Pandering to the one-offs has been used to institute many of the violations of the public's freedoms. Because a few morons decide to use Sudafed to make meth, my purchases of it are limited and I all but have to give a DNA sample to buy a legal, over-the-counter medication. Because some idiot decides to drive too fast in a school zone, the government uses it as a reason to put up cameras to both monitor my movements and fine me. Because a very few people break laws and commit murder in gun-free zones, the ruling class is trying to use their actions as a way to further limit my 2nd Amendment rights as a gun-owner.
These are issues within themselves contained within a mindset that is doomed to fail. You cannot plan for the one-offs. You should not limit the freedoms of the many because of the deranged actions of the few. Reactionary rules and regs (one dude tries to light a bomb in his shoes and now everyone that flies must take off their shoes) are worse than useless and perpetuate the one-off tyranny. Laws that cannot or do not apply to everyone should never pass--it would sure make the legislators work a lot harder if that was their litmus and would put an end to a lot of pork in legislation.
Many of the laws passed and the rules and regs that fall out of them are perfect examples of trying to work for the one-offs. Smoking is banned EXCEPT in casinos. Laws must be passed to encourage employers to hire veterans because of all the other laws that were passed specifically for other groups (essentially the new laws are to level the playing field thrown off by the one-offs). The one-off mindset is the root of many reactionary laws.
I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that we can no longer be ruled by the one-offs. Instead of looking at what works for 98% of the population, the fixes for the 2% cost inordinate amounts of time, money, and ultimately freedom.
6 months ago