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The Poison of Excessive Law and Regulation

Las leyes son veneno, que la cocina mexicana NO necesita. Imagen: Roberto Carlos Roman Don via Unsplash

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[Leer en español]

Yes, laws are poison when they go beyond their natural scope and pretend to regulate everything without solving anything, becoming the broth where demagogy, impunity, and the weakness of the rule of law boil. Ingredients of this macabre stew that has plunged Latin America into backwardness and authoritarianism.

Mexico is a case in point: while the country faces record levels of violence, the economy has yet to recover and President López Obrador announces new attacks against autonomous bodies to restore the imperial presidency and demolish the little progress that had been made to establish institutional counterweights and a functional democracy while legislators build consensus… on nonsense.

On April 28, the Chamber of Deputies unanimously agreed to issue the “Federal Law for the Promotion of Mexican Cuisine”. This legislative monstrosity is presumed to be a law “unique in the world”, with the purpose of, as they say, “creating an Advisory Council with a transversal vision and promoting Mexican cuisine with the elements, the people, and the instruments, and thus having a national policy on the matter”.

Yes, literally, the Mexican Government wants to “have a national policy” on fritangas, mole, and romeritos. Believe it or not.

First of all, the law itself is an absurdity of gigantic proportions. No wonder it is “unique in the world” since no other country on earth would have thought of including such a ridiculous regulation in its legal framework. However, the damage generated by this parliamentary junk goes far beyond the waste of paper, taxes, and institutions. These laws are a poison that weakens the legal system, burdens it with unnecessary burdens, and eventually feeds the culture of impunity, which is one of the main reasons for the Mexican tragedy.

Tacos don’t need institutes, they need the government to leave them alone. When the government meddles, those laws are poison. Image: Unsplash

These laws are poison because…

FIRST. It meddles the State in matters where it is not its place to intervene. Mexican food is successful precisely because it has been one of the few spaces where society has been able to undertake and compete without the “guidance” of meddlesome and inept politicians. Mexican cuisine has become part of the heritage of humanity without the need for advisory councils, institutes, bureaucrats, or working tables. And so it should continue.

Mexican food is cooked and eaten because it tastes good, not because it has a national plan; and, in the worst-case scenario, regulating it will result in less variety, less spontaneity, less innovation, and – to end soon – less flavor. After all, no one craves enmoladas that taste like committee minutes.

SECOND. This type of legislation stems directly from a perverse idea that coexistence must be regulated and that the government must set the pace at which all sectors of society move. They do not understand that such government intervention hinders rather than helps and that, in fact, citizens have the talent, ability, and dignity to make decisions, create and prosper without the need for a bureaucrat to tell them how to do it all.

THIRD. These laws are poison because by increasing the regulatory burden, they also multiply the opportunities for corruption and outright non-compliance with the law. In Mexico, there is so much legislation, and for so much nonsense, that society simply does not take the laws seriously and this generates conditions for a culture of impunity whose consequences in terms of violence and organized crime have turned Mexico into a world disgrace.

Today, 7 of the 10 most violent cities in the world are in Mexico and to a large extent, this is because people learn to ignore with impunity the foolish laws and then go on with the others.

FOURTH. Legislating Mexican cuisine at a time when the country is falling apart shows the frivolity of the political class. While all over the country families are getting used to hearing the chorus of machine guns, assaults, kidnappings, and homicides, their popular representatives are very busy watching how they pass a law to hide, literally, in the kitchen; instead of attending to the very serious crisis of impunity and violence.

FIFTH. These laws are poison, and this poison is generalized in the political class. For example, the Federal Law for the Promotion of Mexican Cuisine was approved unanimously, with the vote in favor of all the parliamentary groups. Not a single one of the 500 deputies had the clarity, the courage, or even the decency to point out the ridiculous example of legislative saturation and centralist intervention that a law for the kitchen implies. Now all that is left to do is to create an Official Mexican Standard for tacos, also “unique in the world”.

This happens in Mexico and Latin America, but it also happens more and more in the United States, where activists of this or that cause focus on turning their private passions into general legislations that distract the Government, denaturalize institutions, overload the budget, and multiply impunity. In short, they are poison. And they should not be swallowed.

Gerardo Garibay Camarena, is a doctor of law, writer and political analyst with experience in the public and private sectors. His new book is "How to Play Chess Without Craps: A Guide to Reading Politics and Understanding Politicians" // Gerardo Garibay Camarena es doctor en derecho, escritor y analista político con experiencia en el sector público y privado. Su nuevo libro es “Cómo jugar al ajedrez Sin dados: Una guía para leer la política y entender a los políticos”

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