Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

Let’s Hear it for Libertarians

There Are Too Many Laws

We do so many things because that’s just the way it is and in the process we’ve lost the ability to question and think critically because there are so many things we shouldn’t do or so they say and we aren’t even allowed to ask why. It starts as kids when you ask your mother why you can’t stay up late and she answers “Because I said so.” That’s pretty much the answer you’ll get from most employers when you question the work environment or when you ask the government, any government, anywhere, about anything.

Most of us work eight hours a day, five days a week and have from time to time been met with unreasonable demands to work overtime or face the unspoken threat of dismissal. I know of no reason why we work five days and not six or four and why eight hours and not six or five, but I do know that other countries have different ideas.

According to, the average U.S. worker puts in 41.5 hours a week and 11.1 percent work more than 50 hours. The average annual wage is $63,093. Give a shout out to Henry Ford who instituted the 40-hour work week in 1926 after he discovered that working more yielded only a small increase in productivity that lasted a short period of time. Maybe it’s time for a reassessment. Coincidentally or not, the U.S. is ranked the 18th happiest country in the world, right behind Germany, Ireland and Costa Rica, according to the 2021 United Nations World Happiness Report.

Denmark has the shortest average work week and the fewest number of employees working overtime. Full-time employees work an average of 37.2 hours per week, only about 2.3 percent of employees work over 50 hours per week and the average Dane makes $55,253 a year. I could live in Denmark, the second happiest country in the world, according to the United Nations’ report.

It could always be worse as in Columbia, where the average workweek is 49.8 hours and about 26.6 percent of employees labor for more than 50 hours a week. Columbia works you to the bone. If you’re interested, Columbia came in 44th on the U.N. happy list.

The U.S. is one of the few countries that does not mandate minimum paid vacations or paid public holidays and rather leaves it up to the discretion of the employer who has the right to answer any question with “Because I said so.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 77 percent of private employers offer paid vacation to employees and an average of eight holidays; full-time employees earn on average 10 vacation days after one year of service.

It’s better to work in Yemen or Slovakia. In Yemen, workers are entitled to not less than 30 days annual vacation with full pay for each year of effective service. Employees are also entitled to 15 paid public holidays. Of course, it is Yemen. With all that free time in Yemen, you could kick back and watch the bombs dropping from the Saudi bombers.

The Slovak government mandates paid annual leave of at least five weeks while employees are also entitled to 15 paid public holidays. Maybe you could spend time visiting the Demanovska Cave of Liberty.

The U.S. is like most nations in requiring that voters be at least 18 years old. Why 18 and not 17 or 16 or 19 or 20 or 76, maybe they know something we don’t know or maybe the age is 18 “because I said so.”

Apparently there are nations where 16 year-olds are magically considered able to vote, as in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Ecuador, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Nicaragua, Scotland, Wales, and Jersey.

And then there are a few countries where qualifying to vote only happens with 21 years-old, including Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Samoa, Singapore, Tokelau and Tonga.

Of course you could always live in the United Arab Emirates where the ruler of each Emirate decides on voting ages “because I said so.”

The U.S. is no different from other countries when it comes to stupid laws. In Greece, it’s against the law for kids to play video games. In France, it is illegal to name a pig “Napoleon.” In Israel, nose-picking is verboten on the Sabbath.

In the state of Washington, it is a crime punishable by either a fine or a jail term to harass big foot, Sasquatch, or any other undiscovered species. Hand-fishing without a license is illegal in is Kansas State. In Gainesville County, Ga., it is against the law to eat fried chicken in any other way except with your bare hands; Ohio prohibits all dueling; and the crowning touch, no self-serve gas pumping in New Jersey.
And then there are all of those rules that are never enforced and that nobody follows so they should be stricken from the books, like no jaywalking, don’t drive with a rejected inspection sticker, shower before using a public pool or beach, employees washing their hands before returning to work, don’t read the book or magazine if you’re not going to buy it.

And why? The universal response is “Because I said so.”



Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer

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