29 March 2010

old dead laws

Like rotting wood.

I am reminded that there are laws in Virginia that you cannot have sex with your socks on. So we're good at having dumb laws that never get overturned or repealed. People just stop bothering to enforce them or check up on them. We get around this at the police level sometimes (the Wire's famous brown paper bag speech) and sometimes at the civic level (things like the common use of marijuana make it hard to lock up everybody who does it, same with speeding on highways in some states as so many people violate these laws by 5-10 miles per hour that pursuing all of them with police enforcement is impossible and probably counter-productive). This is all fine in the way that it reduces the need for chickenshit law enforcement methods and mentalities or systems of control and surveillance to coerce people into behaving in a certain way.

Except that these laws still exist and people can still be penalized for them in addition to some other trivial infractions or if they cannot be found guilty on something more significant (sort of like the IRS getting Capone for tax evasion when everyone knew he did far worse).
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