Restore Boundaries to Lawsuits
Litigation has radically changed American culture over the past few decades. The cost to society is not in the number of baseless suits, but in how fear of possible claims undermines our freedom to make sensible choices. Distrust of justice has changed American culture: We don’t give job references, or allow teachers to put an arm around a crying child. We have ripped out seesaws and diving boards, and banned games of tag. Idiotic warning labels are plastered on products: “Remove Baby Before Folding Stroller.”
Litigation has also profoundly affected our ability to govern. Any angry person can throw a monkey wrench into a government decision—all they have to do is file a claim. Then the courts bring out a magnifying glass, and scrutinize for years where anything might have been done differently to avoid upsetting this person.
Law should set outer boundaries of required conduct, not intercede in everyday disputes. This requires judges and legislatures to define reasonable social norms as a matter of law.