Rules, Law, and Order

Laws and rules are generally designed to keep and maintain order. While the original intent of most laws and rules are good, unfortunately, they often create a number of unintended consequences and sometimes result in chaos greater than that which the rules or laws were meant to remedy.

In a perfect world, dealing with reasonable people, we would need very few laws or rules. Everyone would simply do unto others as they would like done unto them, and most laws would not be necessary. In that perfect world, rules would exist simply to document the agreed-upon policies for everyone such as which side of the street to drive on, red means stop, green means go, and other such standards.

There are relatively few among us who could not function well in the imaginary perfect world I describe above. Only a small number within any population sets out to intentionally break rules or ignore laws; therefore, it is important to make sure that the laws and rules that are established don’t cripple the many while attempting to control the few.

In doing some research recently, I ran across this quote that makes the point quite eloquently. “Someone has kidnapped justice and hidden it within the law.”

As a small businessperson and entrepreneur, my goal is to come to work each day, first to serve my customers and clients and second to create opportunity and a productive environment for those who work with me. Ideally, this would be a perfect formula for success for anyone in business; however, there is an ever-growing myriad of rules, regulations, and laws that confront everyone who attempts to start and run a business.

While I’m sure the original intent of most of these rules, regulations, and laws was good, the result is that the combined cost in time and money to adhere to all of the regulations cripples and destroys many fledgling businesses. Small business is the key to all financial growth and job creation; however, there are times it feels as if those we have elected to protect and serve us are out to damage or destroy us. Some of the regulations may be of limited benefit in a handful of cases, but others are simply absurd.

For many years, my company has done business with the federal government via a number of renewable, ongoing contracts. Each of these contracts requires a mountain of paperwork, most of which is nonsense, and some of it is ridiculous. For years, we were forced to fill out and sign six original copies of a document confirming that we would adhere to the “Paper Reduction Act.” Beyond the insanity of creating six paper documents to confirm compliance with an act designed to reduce the use of paper, repeated inquiries over many years about the “Paper Reduction Act” revealed that no one seems to know what this regulation is or who enforces it. So at the end of a lot of wasted time and money, we have a pile of paper being generated, shipped across the country, and perpetually stored that serves no one.

When rules or laws are being established, care needs to be taken to make sure the cure is not worse than the disease.

As you go through your day today, follow all the rules as you try to eliminate the bad ones.

Today’s the day!



Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at; on Facebook at; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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