Laws are mans way to maintain a sense of order and justified punishment for those who try to disturb that existence of order. These violations that result in a disturbance are referred to as crimes because they break one or more of these laws meant to sustain order. Some of these laws tend to prevent people from participating in voluntary behavior that may harm them. A great example of such a law would be the prohibition of drinking under the age of 21. By not drinking under 21, the hope is that people with better judgment will be able to drink and make smarter decisions with regards to how much they can drink. The law works to some extent, but also has some effect on people who don’t even drink, hence lives are made better by it.
The law aims to restrict the availability of alcohol to more mature hands as well as people who have lived their teenage hood and are now adults, and as adults they are more responsible and hence can take full advantage of their actions. In some parts of the world, this law has been adjusted due to illegal sales of alcohol to minors. However, in some parts, the law does not achieve its intended goal. Minors are able to access alcohol illegally by obtaining fake 21 year old ID cards. Hence more and more minors are getting into alcohol related misdemeanors. An aspect of this illegal access to alcohol that has punished tons of families is the rise in drunk driving deaths. With the legal driving age below 21, in some cases 16, teens below 21 are able to get access to alcohol and end up driving. They more often than not get into severe accidents and not make it out alive.
There are hundreds of unintended consequences related to the enforcement of this law. Some are positive and others are negative but the positive third party spillovers are often the entire point of a law restricting voluntary behavior. If alcohol is available to more mature people, then perhaps society can reduce the number of alcohol related deaths while driving. People who don’t drink are often the ones who end up being punished by those who are intoxicated. The drunk tend to be violent, abusive, un-bale to see what they are doing to particular establishments is vandalism or even worse destructive. In the morning, the sober people end up paying for any damages, as well as the ones who end up burying loved ones who were killed by drunk drivers. The law helps reduce the numbers of the negative unintended consequences.
In the long run some people are made better of by the law while others keep suffering. The ones who suffer tend to be in communities where the consumption of alcohol is not properly policed. It is therefore easier for young adults to get their hands on alcohol and the entire concepts of positive unintended consequences are lost. Some people are made better of by the law because their communities stress the necessity to policing the distribution of alcohol.
Governments are in a constant struggle with regards to people and their voluntary behaviors because it is hard to predict people and their reactions. The entire concept of a community is to promote the general will. This is the belief that we work to benefit ourselves while perpetuating benefits in society. But with submitting to the general will, people are willing to sacrifice certain freedoms in order to gain civil rights. These rights are maintained through laws such as the minimum drinking age, smoking age, driving age, working age and things of that nature. People must be wiling to submit to these laws in order for all of society to benefit.
If governments try too hard to control too many of the civil liberties, they tend to upset the population and if a government does anything to displease the people it was elected to serve, then peoples reactions are anything but pleasant. As part of keeping order governments try to restrict harmful voluntary activities.