January 22, 2019

Pastoral Nuggets: The Law of Unintended Consequences

Brother-Aaron-236x300An article in the Library of Economics and Liberty, entitled, “Unintended Consequences,” states, “The law of unintended consequences, often cited but rarely defined, is that actions of people -and especially of government – always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.”

And Stone Gossard said, “Politics is tricky; it cuts both ways. Every time you make a choice, it has unintended consequences.”

Please allow me to reemphasize that last portion of the previous statement, “Every time you make a choice, it has unintended consequences.”

I am old enough to remember when deer were introduced into Troup County, Georgia. (The county in which I reside) Sportsmen wanted it and people thought it would be good for Georgia. There’s no doubt that the motives of the proponents were honorable. They meant no harm to anybody.

However, the Law of Unintended Consequences kicked in. Since their introduced here, there have been untold financial damage to both automobiles and crops and there have been an untold number of deer related fatalities – all directly related to the decision to introduce them.

I am old enough to remember when Troup County, Georgia was a dry county. (No alcohol sales) I distinctly remember hearing an advertisement on the radio in favor of legalizing alcohol sales.

The proponents said, “People who are going to drink alcohol will do so anyway. So, we should legalize it and tax the sales. We will use the alcohol sales tax to pay for road building and maintenance in Troup County and you will never have to pay road taxes again.” Wow!

If that’s the case Troup County should have the best roads in the world. But I digress! The proponents thought they had a solid motive for legalizing alcohol sales.

However, the Law of Unintended Consequences kicked in and as a direct result of legalizing alcohol sales, there have been countless children deprived of the necessities of life and abused by a drunken parent or adult.

Untold numbers of alcohol related domestic violence cases, that run the gamut from children being physically and mentally abused, spousal abuse, and even to murder, have been reported. Untold dollars have been spent on alcohol related medical conditions. Untold dollars have been spent on injuries caused by drunk drivers. And there has been a staggering loss of life due to drunk driving.  All … unintended consequences!

As I am writing this column, the Georgia Legislature has just started its 2016 session. I have some good, well-intentioned friends serving there.

However, if I am honest, the time they are in session each year is always a most unsettling time for me. The thing that concerns me most, regarding any action they may or may not take, is this Law of Unintended Consequences.

People, whose cause I am very sympathetic toward, are beating the drum loudly for changing the Georgia Cannabis Oil Law (Medical Marijuana) that was passed last year. They want to broaden the list of medical conditions that cannabis oil can be used to treat.

However, my question is, if it’s broadened this year, what’s to prevent it from being broadened again next year, and the next, and the next, until there is no control? Here’s a fact for you to consider: Every state that now allows “recreational” marijuana use – started with “medical” marijuana use. Oh, and by the way, growing, transporting, and using marijuana is still against federal law – and federal law trumps state law.

My warning is this: While their cause may be noble, and if I was in their shoes, I may be doing the same thing as them, the fact remains that it is a very slippery slope. And, “Every time you make a choice, it has unintended consequences.” Be very, very careful Georgia Legislature and Governor Deal. Be very careful!

Brother Aaron

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