"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." James Madison.
Madison's sage advice has clearly been ignored for at least several decades. For example, I tried to figure out through a google search how many pages were included in the US Tax Code and its regulations. There is no agreement on the web, except that everyone agrees that it so long and complicated that it is indecipherable to almost everyone. (Some estimates on the Tax Code (i.e., the law passed by Congress), range from about 2,500 pages to more than ten times that, and the number of the regulations (i.e., administrative regulations enacted by the IRS) range from about 1,000,000 to 2,500,000 words)). In other words, something as basic as our tax obligations is so unwieldy, that we are not even easily able to ascertain how long it is. And there are a dizzying amount of laws and regulations in thousands of areas of life.
This state of affairs undermines our First Principles in many ways. For example, the Social Compact in America depends upon a representative form of government - a republic in which our representatives enact laws and the people are obligated to follow it. Yet, the number of laws and regulations undermines accountability and obligation - it is corrosive to the Social Compact. Likewise, the rule of law assumes that there is a law that is ascertainable for the people to follow. That is becoming more of a fiction with each passing day. As such, the very premise of our freedoms and liberties is at risk.
Time to give Madison his due.
For more about our Founding First Principles and great Patriots, visit Patriot Week and Americas Survival Guide.