The Best Laid Plans
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
With stunning frequency, law makes us do things we do not want to do. It taxes us even if we think taxation is excessive and its uses wasteful. It demands that we adhere to speed limits when road conditions permit faster driving. It bars us from activities we may believe benign or beneficial, such as buying wine on Sunday or assisting a terminally ill friend who wishes to end her life. And at times it conscripts us into military service, though we may believe the wars immoral, the dangers exaggerated, or the enemies imagined. To be sure, law’s demands sometimes track what we would do even were there no law on the subject. Quite often, however, laws coerce us into taking actions that, but for the law, we would have avoided. Because the law can send us to prison, extract fines, and compel us to pay those who sue us, it has ample means to force us to do what we do not wish to do and even what we may believe it is wrong to do.