There are three levels of thinking when examining any policy. Number one is the first reaction (usually the intent behind the policy) that ties to the purported reason for the policy, second the immediate and secondary consequences of a policy, and the third is what behavior the policy elicits in human beings. Just like our pet dogs, our behaviors are highly susceptible to overt and subtle manipulation. Any policy we impose has an effect on the behavior of its citizenry. It also a reflection on the values of the governing body that rules any particular group of humans.
Why is this important? Because people are plain stupid when it comes to analyzing policy. They look only to the immediate gut reactions and don’t even hit the second layer of unintentional consequences, let alone examine it from an inducement standpoint.
This type of analysis can be made on any policy. Unfortunately, most policies are designed to catch an audience with the policy’s intent. That way if you disagree with the policy, you must be against that policies intent. For example: Minimum wage. The intent of the policy is to pay people a livable wage, especially at a time when the cost of living is booming. Hit that second layer however and you’ll see that the effects of these laws are disastrous. Workers actually lose money. But people always fall into the trap of arguing solutions instead problems. Most people are not against people making more money, they are however against the negative consequences of the policy and the means of reaching the policy goal.
Now let’s take it even further to the level of induced behavior through policy. This is where we look could look at welfare laws that at large seem to discourage working and disrupts the family. Or look at affirmative action, another policy where we want everybody to have an opportunity, especially people historically blocked from participating. However examined through the lens of induced human behavior, it takes away from the value of the education when a person never knows if they got an opportunity because they earned it, or because of some token status.
Another more controversial policy, like abortion (yikes). Do want a society the is a proponent of a consequenceless world where nothing matters? Of course in the alternative there is an argument to be made that abortion rights is have allowed a greater degree of freedom for women. Then we make the discussion about balancing these two interests and deciding what kind of country we want this to be.
When you go through these three steps make sure you fully develope all three frameworks. When you examine any policy, or argue with any one person if you can determine at what framework you disagree you can determine what the proper solution. This is a full proof way to analyze any policy.