Weekly Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country
of West Texas
By Smokey Briggs
Drown all the Puritans
(and their atheist cousins)
Folks, I think I have found the cure for every disease from acne to cancer, solved our energy needs, smoothed out cultural relations, ended the need for politicians, and maybe even discovered what it is that makes women think illogically.
Well, I have not really figured all this out yet, but I know how we can.
First, we drown all the Puritans and all the folks that are like Puritans – or, since drowning is a bit harsh — maybe we can just exile them to Hawaii or Madagascar and fill the surrounding waters with nuclear mines so the devils cannot escape.
Hang with me here.
I predict that within three years of getting these folks and their ilk out of our hair, the time-savings for humanity in general will compute to solutions of all the great problems, and most of the small ones.
Think about it.
Think about how much time we spend trying to make our brothers and sisters act “right.”
I’m not talking about asking them to refrain from whacking up the neighbors with an axe because the boom-di-boom music is up too loud — although I really can’t think of why axe murdering such people is against the law – but for now I’m talking about all the other stuff.
Think of the man-hours we spend making up laws and then enforcing them so that we can satisfy the Puritanical streak deep in our hearts:
For example: You cannot buy beer until such-and-such time on Sunday. Really, what purpose does this serve except to ruin my Sunday morning when I’m skipping church, going hunting, and want to pick up a six-pack before dawn?
Yet we have strict laws and even pay goobers with badges to enforce them. You can go to jail for selling me a beer before noon on Sunday – thank goodness for that. No telling where this world would be if not for all that effort making sure I buy my beer the night before my skipping-church-hunting-trip.
We have lots of laws concerning the evils of alcohol — from making the stuff, to selling it, to drinking it.
I know I always feel safer when a beer joint is shut down because it violated a state regulation.
The news lately has had plenty to report on so-called “polygamist sects.”
Now, from a fellow who has been married for nigh on to 18 years, I cannot fathom why a man would want to go double or nothing in this game. Or triple. Or whatever.
I cannot keep one wife happy. What would I do with two or three?
Only an eighteen-year-old boy could be naïve enough to think that having two or three wives would be as much fun as having two or three girlfriends (something that I once considered a very good thing).
But why would I care if some old boy wants to condemn himself to such agony.
How is being married to two dames, and providing shelter and food and education for their kids, such a bad thing as to require fine and imprisonment.
How is this worse than what appears to be the norm these days of men fathering babies with multiple wives without bothering to marry any of them?
We have laws penalizing and regulating prostitution, gambling, cigarettes, drugs, booze, and dancing without your clothes on.
And we spend time and money creating the laws, enforcing them, and then more time and money side-stepping the pesky laws.
But I’m not limiting this purge of society to those whose puritanical streak is rooted in the King James Version of the Bible.
No, there are lot more Puritans in atheists’ clothing out there, and they get their jollies playing the same tune with different words.
Colorado now has more than 30,000 laws on the books. (I could not find the total for Texas, but since we do most things bigger than others, I’m betting that 30,000 is a conservative figure and this does not count the truckloads of federal laws and regulation we live with).
In 1900, the entire state code of Colorado fit in one book. It forbade such acts as murder, rape and robbery. I have seen a copy of Texas’ laws from that time. Seems like there were three books, if memory serves.
One hundred years later, either state requires a semi-truck and trailer to haul a complete set of rules and regulations.
Are we better off now?
I’m sure every law and regulation was well intentioned, and most of them are meant to keep you traveling down some puritanical jerk’s road of good behavior – or at least to help pay to enforce his idea of good behavior.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Or at least the road to wasted time.
By my figuring regular folks spend 30 percent of their productive time being unproductive while we comply or attempt to dodge through the jungle of laws and regulations we have enacted.
I could not list them all if I used every inch of space in today’s paper.
It is easier to list all of your daily activities that are not tied to some petty Napoleon’s well-intentioned idea.
What can you come up with?
Building a house? Adding a room? Driving your car? Starting a business? Buying a simple cold remedy? Getting a job? Going fishing? Want to make your own auto fuel? Get married? Have a baby?
I cannot come up with anything. In every nook and cranny of life there is a big bureaucrat’s nose.
And usually that nose is in my way, wasting my time; trying to make sure I live up to somebody else’s standard of good behavior that has nothing to do with me actually hurting anybody.
I wonder if our world would crumble if we just trashed the whole mess, readopted the codes in place in 1900 and went from there.
What would we call a place where people were not constantly telling other people how to live and not live their lives?
I don’t know.
Maybe we could call it a “Sweet land of Liberty.”
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York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 432-445-5475, FAX 432-445-4321
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