Monday, December 13, 2010
The Hamilton Appeal
Marion County, Alabama
April 17, 1896
MR. LOYD ON LEGISLATION
It has been a custom from time immortal for people to delegate power or authority to individuals to meet in council and consult and devise legislation for the benefit and government of the people, but it seems to me that this, like many other things, has grown beyond its sphere of usefulness and instead of being a benefit it has gotten to be a burden. Don’t understand that I am opposed to legislation for I am not, but I content that we as a nation are being legislated to death.
When we elect a man to congress or the legislature he must do something to commend himself to his constituents, and that something is generally to try to get an appropriation the proceeds of which will be spent in his county or district. If successful in this he has accomplished something that will insure this perpetuation in office a the next election.
Appropriations have gone on from one cause and another until it is said by some writers that we (the people of the United States) are paying a higher tax than any people in the world. If this is a fact where, oh where is the advantage of living under a republican or democratic form of government? I have always thought that government which exacted the least tribute from the people for its support was the most desirable government to live under. When a man sees that his expenses are exceeding his income it looks to me like the reasonable and proper thing for him to do would be to reduce his expenses until his income and expenses will about balance. But our government, both state and national, takes the other end of the dilemma and says that you are not paying taxes enough, and your taxes must be raised; and that you are swearing lies about the value of your property so we will appoint a commission to raise your own taxation. There is hardly ever a law passed that is not a diminution of the liberties of the people and in addition to their taxation. We have gone on legislating and legislating until we have some such law, and it is subject to so many different constrictions and we so often see it fail to mete out justice that people have almost lost confidence in the operation of the law, and this is the cause of so much lynch law a this day and time. The practice of law has undergone a considerable change. The time once was when a lawyer delighted to be employed on the side of justice but not so now. The man who feels that he has the law and justice on his side is not disposed to pay as large a fee as the man who is trying to beat justice, consequently the lawyer studies the side to defeat justice because there is more money in it, and they are too often successful.
If our legislature met but once in ten years, the people would then learn something about laws they were living under, and know which was good and which was bad, but this everlasting legislation we don’t have time to try a law until it is repealed, and anther enacted.
We don’t need any more law but less law, and it better understood and better executed.
I. J. LOYD, Bull Mountain, Ala, April 17
Note: The above opinion was published in 1896, over one hundred years ago, by my great-great grandfather Isham James Loyd whose portrait is also shown. Amazing that these same words could be written today and be as appropriate now as then. It sounds to me as if Isham would have been a Reagan Republican if living in this age.
Posted by Mona Robinson Mills at 6:03 AM