Unintended Consequences

Over the last few years our society has spent a fair bit of time talking about “The Law of Unintended Consequences“.  While this phrase dates back to the 18th century (or earlier) it has really become an adage for describing what happens in a complex system or society.

Over the last few months there has been a significant push by state governments and the federal government to avoid addressing societal issues of mental health and accountability, to instead focus on “gun control”.  Legislation is winding its way through many different processes in an attempt to take a tool out of the hands of individuals.  Whether you believe this is the right approach or not, is not the topic of this post.  We are here to discuss Unintended Consequences.

In Colorado, HB 1224 has passed both legislative houses.  It currently is residing with the Governor of that state.  In turn, the governor is planning on signing the bill on 20 March.  This brings into play the opportunity to look at some potential unintended consequences of this bill.

New Jovian Thunderbolt: If the Magazine Limit Passes, is a nice break down of one possible angle that will flow from bills such as HB1224.  Let’s take a look at what else might occur.

  • Magpul will leave the state, taking it’s multi-million dollar revenue stream with it, and removing all aspects of their supply chain from the state.  Magpul has been reported to be encouraging and supporting many of their suppliers to do the same.
  • Manufacturers and distributors are turning away government business in those states that have restrictive gun, ammunition, or magazine laws.  While this is not a new development, it is becoming an increasingly visible trend in the industry.
  • Tourism, entertainment, and other industries are pulling up stakes and moving.  In Colorado a large percentage of tourism is based around the outdoors, including hunting and the shooting sports.  This business is going to dry up in the state.
  • Law enforcement is taking a hard look at the laws that are being passed to determine if they are enforceable, and if they laws are consistent with their individual oaths.
  • Less visible companies may choose to leave Colorado and take their tax roles with them (HiViz, etc.)
  • Firearm sales will be reduced.
  • Many current residents will move to less restrictive states.
  • Crime statistics will (most likely) begin to show increased rates of violent personal crimes.
  • We may see a divide between city and county level law enforcement and prosecution versus state level officers.

The two biggest concerns that I have (I have many many smaller concerns) are:

  1. What impact these laws will have on society’s “trust” in law enforcement?  Does one part of society fall back into the mentality that people enforcing these laws are “jackbooted thugs” and we wind up with an even coarser culture than we currently have with two or more opposing sides?  One side arguing that “I have an inalienable right to defend myself and my family” and the other arguing that “I have a right to call for help but self defense is not allowed”.
  2. Another concern focuses on the fundamental shift in attitude across this nation.  We already see a great divide in moral and personal values between the urban population centers, and the suburban / exurban / rural areas of this nation.  This nation has already experienced a civil war, that we barely survived.  I believe that we have learned from this and it will not be repeated in overt hostilities but, the underlying  animosity between urban and rural values may wind up tearing us asunder.  Can the tide be turned?  Can we re-establish the culture of  “work”, industriousness, living within your means, and mutual respect that we have strayed from?

Global society is a complex system.  Many nation states, and billions of individuals.  The individuals tend to behave as small herds following the lead of the “alpha”.  In Greece and Cyprus we have seen the vocal and violent “herds” reacting to governmental actions and events.  It seems that any decision that is made, or acted upon by governmental bodies is going to have some level of unintended consequences.

What is the solution?  There is no magic wand here.  While “rebooting” the system is often touted as a solution, that process would be very very painful.   What can be done is a “reboot” of smaller sectors of society.  This can be done through a simplification of laws and legislation.  Elimination of much of the regulation that government places on the individual and corporations.  Let the marketplace drive the economy, eliminate or reduce government subsidies, simplify or eliminate individual income tax, review and reduce entitlements by working with corporations to encourage growth, make infrastructure investments where it is most needed and least visible (electric grid, communications grid, materials sciences, etc.), celebrate and reward hard work and entrepreneurial innovation.  Yes, there will be unintended consequences to each of these suggested actions.  Some will be positive, some will be negative.  The goal is two fold, one to simplify the system and two to drive economic and personal growth.

I started this post talking about unintended consequences because I was intrigued by the quick possibilities that the Jovian Thunderbolt wrote about.  As I wrote, I went tangential and got on my soapbox about society.  Yep, unintended consequences.

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