Our world is replete with endless mandatory regulations. Indeed, no person can be familiar with the countless compulsory regulations that apply to our daily lives. As such, it is easy to become anti-regulation generally. However, not all mandatory regulations are created equal. Regulations that are both in harmony with the 3L Legal Principle, and are necessary to prevent the 3L Legal Principle from being violated, are indispensable to a free and peaceful society and world.

For example, imagine a truck driving through a town carrying large amounts of hazardous chemicals. So long as the truck does not pose a substantial risk of harm to any person or their property, there is no violation of the 3L Legal Principle. However, the people living in the town would have no reason to know whether the truck posed a substantial risk unless and until the harm materialized. For example, improperly stored hazardous cargo could dislodge onto the street due to a routine fender bender with another vehicle. This situation could cause immeasurable harm to the people in the town due to the hazardous chemicals leaking into the ground or bodies of people in the area. In such a circumstance, there is no doubt a violation of the 3L Legal Principle has occurred. Indeed, the initial 3L Legal Principle violation happened before the fender bender because the truck with improperly stored hazardous chemicals posed a substantial risk of harm as it drove through the town.

We need not wait until the actual harm materializes before we impose reasonable requirements to drive through the town with hazardous chemicals. We can presently identify specific conditions that, if they exist, actually amount to a violation of the 3L Legal Principle because they pose a substantial risk of harm. As such, regulations that avoid breaches of the 3L Legal Principle are entirely proper and consistent with the 3LP. Returning to our example, regulations that mandate specific minimum safety requirements for trucks that haul dangerous chemicals, approved methods of securing such cargo, and even proper education and training of drivers who carry such chemicals are entirely appropriate and consistent with the 3LP. These mandatory regulations are necessary to avoid a violation of the 3L Legal Principle.

It is essential to distinguish between regulations solely calculated to avoid violations of the 3L Legal Principle, as in the previous example, and regulations for any other purpose. Regulations aimed at any other purpose, such as ensuring a certain quality of workmanship, controlling competition, favoring some groups or companies over others for alleged ethical reasons, or even simply for aesthetics, all violate the 3L Legal Principle because they seek to accomplish goals, possibly worthy ones, via coercion. The person committed to the 3LP always opposes importing one’s moral views, even worthy ones, into the law.

However, private companies, homeowner associations, and individuals can impose any rules and regulations they prefer without restrictions because they are entirely voluntary. For example, homeowner’s associations, consistent with their founding documents, can issue regulations about what colors homeowners can paint their homes because they had voluntarily agreed to such an arrangement when they purchased their land. As owners of their property, private companies and individual homeowners can issue any rules and regulations they prefer concerning all people who enter their property. This conclusion remains true even if their regulations have no connection whatsoever with the 3L Legal Principle. Property owners are entitled to impose whatever rules they prefer as a condition of using their property. This fact is simply the nature of private property ownership. Legal rules and regulations, which apply to everyone, are entirely different than rules and regulations imposed by property owners, which apply only to people who enter their private property subject to their consent.

As we move towards a world where we privatize more and more property, the entire issue of mandatory regulations becomes less critical. Returning to our example of the truck hauling hazardous chemicals through town, if we imagine the road to be privately owned, as with all other private property, the road owner will determine under what conditions such a truck could use the road. So long as the risk posed to people is limited to activity only on that road, and the risks are consented to by people using the road, there is no cause to mandate any regulation. Competent adults are entitled to consent to any hazards for any reason. As with many issues, allowing property owners to make the rules under which others can enter their property resolves many problems.

However, even with privatization, we should expect there would remain circumstances where risks of harm are substantial, potentially far-reaching, and not easily discovered until actual harm occurs. Mandatory regulations prohibiting recklessly storing dangerous chemicals or powerful explosive devices, even on another person’s private property, would be examples. Indeed, these are also examples of violations of the 3L Legal Principle. In such circumstances, mandating reasonable and narrowly tailored regulations to prevent such dangerous situations is entirely proper because no person has a right to violate the 3L Legal Principle, even by creating any circumstance that presents a substantial threat or risk of harm to others. The person committed to the 3LP would have no basis to complain about such reasonable regulations.