Jan 042011

Laws do not change the hearts and minds of people. It took a moral conversion to stop slavery. It took Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and numerous other culture-changing influences to affect this conversion. The same thing must happen with abortion. Changing the laws will do little good if the hearts and minds remain fixed.

Changing hearts and minds is a bottom up campaign. Changing laws is a top down campaign. Top down campaigns serve the glory of the righteous, but often help souls little, if at all. This is why the drug war is unsuccessful and despite increasing costs we do not have enough clinics for drug addicts.

It is not that there is not enough money to provide for these clinics, but that the money is allocated elsewhere. Our policies are created to placate the sentiments of the righteous. We spend ten times the money on trying to stop a weed from growing than we spend on helping those whom that weed actually hurts. While the costs of the drug war grow and grow the percentage of those costs grow more and more out of whack. As we militarize the effort to enforce and militarize prohibition laws the actual victims of drug addiction are allocated paltry funds.

This is due to a common policy folly. It is born out of the top down fallacy. More and more laws, followed by more and more money, make politicians look like moral heroes but help souls little. Drug use in this country remains steady, despite the laws and money spent otherwise.

Meanwhile, teenage tobacco use is on the decline. Why? Did we enact some new law? Did some heroic politician finally divert enough money to teenage tobacco prohibition to change the nation’s behavior? We know the answer is no.

Teenage smoking is down because hearts and minds have begun to change. A conversion is taking place. An enlightenment. It is important to ask how this has happened, and to note that to the extent that it has happened, that the effect has come from the bottom up, not the top down.

That is not to say that leadership is not a crucial element in the equation. It simply indicates a method by which that leadership may prove most effective. We live in a free, pluralistic society. To the extent that any of us has the power to change such a society lies in our power to persuade because laws do not change the hearts and minds of people.

 Posted by at 3:13 am

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