Instant twilight

Bill Quick argues for a sunset provision in all new legislation:

I’d make it four years or less, maybe even two.

There would be several benefits: First, it would reverse the current situation, in which it is basically impossible to repeal bad laws; second, the time necessary for legislators to spend re-establishing necessary legislation might keep them so busy they wouldn’t have any time to dream up new legislation; third, such a quasi-zero based legislative policy (along with term limits for federal legislators) would do more than anything I can think of to not just limit, but reverse the endless growth of Leviathan that is strangling our liberties, our pocketbooks, and the futures of our children.

What I’m wondering is how this can be made retroactive, to cover the last few hundred thousand bad laws. (And yes, perhaps two or three actual good ones; if they’re any good, they’re worth redoing, say I.)


  1. Francis W. Porretto »

    8 February 2013 · 12:19 pm

    SF writer Christopher Anvil, in his short story “Mission of Ignorance,” outlined another approach:

    1. All the laws in force at any given time must fit into a coffin-sized box in their printed form (8.5″ x 11″ 20 lb. bond paper, 12 point type, double-spaced, with standard 1″ margins top, bottom, left, and right).

    2. Before a bill can become law, it must be approved by a unanimous vote of the Committee of Dunces: a group of laymen with absolutely no legal training.

    Just another road to Rome, of course.

  2. McGehee »

    8 February 2013 · 5:29 pm

    What they’d do is, first gavel of the session after electing officers, etc., the re-establishment of all sunsetting legislation goes on the consent calendar. One voice vote, the opinion of the chair deems the motion passed, and done.

    Unless the new requirement forces a complete, from-the-ground-up rewrite of sunsetting laws, it won’t even amount to a speed bump.

  3. XRay »

    8 February 2013 · 8:54 pm

    At this point it is hopeless, for any of the offered suggestions, in my extremely humble opinion. We may as well live well while we can, as the future is one of deep dark hell. My only hope is that our ancestors will know what went wrong and will fix it, so that our journey to the stars will continue.

    Though I’ll be long dead and not giving a shit, obviously.

  4. McGehee »

    9 February 2013 · 9:48 am

    Descendants, I think you mean.

  5. McGehee »

    9 February 2013 · 9:50 am

    …which reminds me of a “Partridge Family” episode in which Reuben Kincaid tries to impress a group of Indians by telling them his “descendants” came over on the Mayflower. One of the Indians tells him, “My descendants met them.”

    So it’s not as if it’s a new confusion.

  6. CGHill »

    9 February 2013 · 11:22 am

    At the other end of the continuum, we have the disturbing spectacle of the unicorn Twilight Sparkle coming to grips with the idea that her interest in some humanoid has become more than academic, and she wails: “Oh, why couldn’t you have been a pony?”

    The human shrugs. “Poor choice of ancestors.”

  7. XRay »

    9 February 2013 · 12:50 pm

    Yes, thanks. Had my head up my ass so was looking in the wrong direction.

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