When laws become so ubiquitous that the Justice Department can't quantify how many federal laws exist, governance by executive fiat becomes something that goes unchallenged. According to the Library of Congress blog,
In an example of a failed attempt to tally up the number of laws on a specific subject area, in 1982 the Justice Department tried to determine the total number of criminal laws. In a project that lasted two years, the Department compiled a list of approximately 3,000 criminal offenses. This effort, headed by Ronald Gainer, a Justice Department official, is considered the most exhaustive attempt to count the number of federal criminal laws. In a Wall Street Journal article about this project, “this effort came as part of a long and ultimately failed campaign to persuade Congress to revise the criminal code, which by the 1980s was scattered among 50 titles and 23,000 pages of federal law.” Or as Mr. Gainer characterized this fruitless project: “[y]ou will have died and [been] resurrected three times,” and still not have an answer to this question.
When the Justice Department takes that long to determine the number of criminal laws, just a portion of federal law, exist, a tipping point has been passed.
When it happened is not clear, but based on the paragraph above, it happened by the 1980s, perhaps before. When it happened doesn't matter. The fact is the consequences are starting to be felt. Not just with president Obama's predilection for executive fiat governance, but in so many other ways as well. Not the least of such consequences is the idea that the country is being run by lawyers who don't understand how to actually run things, only how to legislate things. With the corrupting power of power, laws are being written to entrench the interests of those in power, with wealth and writing the laws, the nation has become a disposable vehicle to maintain wealth and power by those who possess it.
I know that sounds like the rantings of a 99%er but it really isn't. Crony capitalism has been successfully paired with crony legislationism and they've been embedded in laws so vast, so burdensome, so Byzantine that as an individual or as a nation, crawling out from under it because a dimmer hope with every passing day the crushing volume of laws remain entrenched.
Below, George Will discusses with Reason, his evolution towards a more libertarian view of national well-being. I still would not qualify myself as a libertarian, but there is indeed reason in these arguments. The video, is an hour long, but it really is worth watching a few times. It's inspired me about several topics I intend to write about in the near future.