Do more laws make things better or worse?

Some statist policies have a boomerang effect

When Milton Friedman told the following joke, he was highlighting an important point…

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

Political solutions often make things worse.

You can pretend that politicians will fix a problem with their next law. You can make believe that the next regulation, emanating from unelected bureaucrats, will make matters better. But…

You’re just as likely to be wrong. It probably won’t work. One frequent outcome of a new policy is…

The Boomerang EffectThe unintended side-effect of a new law or regulation is that it makes the problem worse.

The “war” on X leads to X², or worse.

  • Your war on poverty increases poverty.
  • Your war on illiteracy causes kids to hate books.
  • Your war on corruption becomes a whistleblower dragnet.
  • Your war on terrorism boosts terrorist recruitment — the CIA even has a name for this phenomenon, “Blowback.”

The Boomerang Effect is almost automatic in prohibition schemes.

  • Ban guns, you get more violence.
  • Ban immigrants, you get more illegal immigration.
  • Ban drugs, you get more overdoses.

Therefore, before passing the next law or enacting the next regulation, especially if it’s a prohibition, we should ask…

How similar is this new proposal to other schemes that “boomeranged” back on us?

Perry Willis

About the Author

Perry Willis

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Perry Willis is the co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and Downsize DC. He was the National Director of the Libertarian National Committee on two occasions, and ran two Libertarian Party presidential campaigns. He has an extensive background in marketing and fundraising, and has ghost written direct mail appeals for numerous luminaries, including Karl Hess, Ron Paul, Charlton Heston and Harry Browne.

Jim Babka

About the Author

Jim Babka

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Jim Babka is co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and President of, Inc. He’s an author and former talk show host.
Previously, he was the President of, Inc., defending free press rights all the way to the Supreme Court. He and Susie are the proud, home-schooling parents of three teenagers. He enjoys theology, UFC, target practice, and Tai Chi.

Does this way of thinking intrigue you? Want to learn more or participate in creating such a society? Then join the Zero Aggression Project…

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Show Comments 7


  1. I think the telemarketer example (from the email) is a bad one. I don’t think the law against telemarketers made the situation worse, I think the situation worsening was a natural evolution of these scummy scammers. It’s also worth pointing out that most of these scammers are based in other countries who aren’t required to follow our U.S. law. The real problem with the law is that it’s ineffective. Yes, it gives harsh penalties to those caught doing wrong, but it’s virtually impossible to catch these bad actors who are functionally anonymous.



  3. We simply cannot delegate powers to our Representatives that We do not possess
    & We certainly have surendered No powers.

  4. Do more laws make things better of worse? = Does more initiation of violence make things better?
    If a social experiment fails, does doing it harder force it to work? Does coercion ever work? Or, is refusal to acknowledge reality, e.g. negative results, irrational, mentally unstable, and self-destructive? Is superstition an example of this? Can this explain the collapse of all societies, down thru history? Should an outsider, a non-conformist to superstition continue to champion reason, even if it makes her unpopular? Is it better to be psychologically healthy, e.g., true to oneself, than follow the crowd?

  5. More laws mean more supposed criminals, often people who are called criminals unjustly. Just look at all the new crimes states are creating with this Wuhan Virus crisis. We can’t say we weren’t warned: G. K. Chesterton, “If men will not be governed by the Ten Commandments, they shall be governed by the ten thousand commandments.” The Competitive Institute has been covering this over twenty-five years, and it just keeps getting worse.

    Hats off to the non-sheeple and non-consenters, We will need their ranks to grow in the coming days to preserve what’s left of liberty.

  6. I am not governed by the “Commandments” or any coercive govt. I don’t respect threats of violence, fraud. I find them abhorrent.

    Those who obey an outside authority deny their sovereignty, betray themselves, live the life of a “secondhander” as Ayn Rand would say. I don’t envy obedient slaves. I pity them.

    I am governed by my mind, my ethics, my experience, and I accept judgement for my beliefs/actions. I judge and I am psychologically prepared to be judged. I fear not.

    Try it. You might like it.

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