Make all laws temporary

2017-11-25 2 min read

    I see the debate around net neutrality going on everywhere around me and I can’t help but think of the law making process and how it can be improved. I’m a huge proponent of net neutrality but at the same time I realize that maybe I don’t know the whole story and maybe we would all really be better if the FCC rolls it back. I don’t believe it’s likely but I’m not 100% convinced that it’s not the case either. Unlike a video game, you can’t save life at any point and restart it if something goes wrong or you want to try a different approach: we’re stuck with the decisions we’ve made. At the same time it would be nice to bring some more experimentation into the world and our laws so we can keep iterating to a more ideal state.

    One idea that I’ve been toying with lately is to make every law temporarily and be rolled back automatically within a set of number of years. The only way to extend it would be with another vote. And in order to make sure they’re still valuable the vote would require a higher margin than the previous vote. This way only the truly valuable laws that have widespread belief end up standing the test of time and weaker laws end up naturally dropping off. The exact way and times it would work can be worked out but the key idea is to assume every law passed will be temporary and keep increasing the bar that keeps it active.

    This would change the entire way we approach laws and make it much more experimental. If you know something is temporary you’re more likely to treat it as an experiment which would make it easier to pass laws but more difficult to sustain them. Of course we would still need to consider the risks and consequences of every law passed but it’s impossible to plan for everything and trying something that can be rolled back is a much better situation than committing to something that will stick around forever.