Dear Editor:

In 1788, James Madison warned us, "It will be of little avail to the people that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood..."i

We're told that ignorance of the law can't be used as an excuse for breaking the law. This philosophy makes sense. After all, if anyone could use ignorance as an excuse to purposely break any law he wanted to, laws couldn't be enforced. But today, there are literally more federal laws on the books than can be counted.ii So far in 2013, about 300 new state laws have been added already. Then add to this the county and city ordinances we are subject to. The city zoning ordinance is over 100 pages by itself!iii So when there are so many laws on the books that it becomes impossible to know them all, much less obey them all, what's an honest citizen to do?

We can start by not adding to the problem. We should give the benefit of doubt to our local, state, and federal legislators when they vote "no" on a piece of legislation. In fact, a "no" vote should be the default vote until it is proven that the ordinance or bill is a legitimate role of government. A "yes" vote has more probability of taking away a piece of our liberty. A "yes" vote will, more often than not, force us to hand over more of our money to the government. When a city council member, county council member, or county commissioner votes "no" we should shake their hand for protecting our liberties and our wallets.

"We are committed to personal liberty and freedom from intrusive government interference and regulation. The personal liberty and freedom of each individual is paramount." -- Indiana Republican Platform.iv

John Pickerill

Crawfordsville