Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard
jmaynard

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Writer's Block: I'm just a bill, yeah I'm only a bill

If you could change or create a new law, what would it be, and why?

I can't claim credit for this one. It comes from H. Beam Piper's novella Lone Star Planet.

I'd make it legal to kill practicing politicians if a jury of one's peers agrees that it was deserved.

No, don't run away screaming or giggling.

The biggest problem in the US today is that politicians are only loosely accountable to the populace, if at all. Once they're elected, they have to screw up royally in order to get thrown out of office. Huey Long's "he'd have to be caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy" is not that far from the truth. The result is that they pass bills while saying with a perfectly straight face "we'll have to pass it to know what's in it", and Mark Twain's "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the Legislature is in session" is far too true.

Piper's answer is to make it legal to kill politicians. Not all of them, just practicing politicians. The book doesn't define it, but I'd say that anyone holding elected office or influencing the selection process for those who do would qualify. The justification has to be sufficient. You can't torture or maim, either; you have to kill. This isn't about cruelty. It's about saving society from a politician run amok. The job has to be done neatly and quickly.

The objections are twofold. First, there's the obvious one about the taking of a human life. I agree, in large part, but I also support the death penalty. There are some crimes for which no lesser penalty is appropriate. Shouldn't the same be true for crimes against society committed by politicians? The second is that this will deter people from doing things that the people may oppose but are good for them. Well, you know, that kind of thing is supposedly what a democracy is supposed to prevent.

Only true, dedicated statesmen who care for all of the people, not just one constituency, will sign up for jobs under this system. Not only that, but they'll be loath to do things that aren't widely seen as necessary throughout the populace. Personally, I'll happily take both results.

Another possible problem is that good politicians would die for doing things that a small minority would see as bad, even though the rest would say it was necessary. There are two answers for this: first, that's why there's a jury involved, and second, if a change isn't worth dying for, is it worth making?

Will this ever happen? No. It would require politicians to pass it, and the ones in office today are exactly the ones this kind of thing would target. Still, it's pleasant to think about.
Tags: writer's block
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