Let’s face it — America owns the world (or at least we should and would if everyone would stop fussing). Given that America has already shown the ability to govern with complete and utter intelligence in every law it has passed at home, it must be said that the world is following our lead in that regard. Governing systems may differ, but stupidity is universal. The following 50 laws are evidence that we, as a planet, can create some pretty stupid laws to comply with.
“Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”
We live in a global economy, but that doesn’t mean business is good everywhere. Don’t sell your watermelons in Rio Claro, Brazil, where it’s illegal. If you use your watermelons to flavor bubble gum, don’t plan on selling that, either, in Singapore. The Maldives hates Christ so much you can’t sell bibles, and Japan hates healthy people so much you can’t use a Vicks inhaler. At least you can buy a television in South Africa, so long as you have a license.
These all make Sweden a scion of liberal economics, where it’s legal to sell prostitution; people just can’t buy it. Not to be outdone, Finland has a candy tax, but don’t expect cookies to be levied when your water is.
In homage to the gulags, Russia requires that you be willing to work 16 hours a day or face imprisonment. This work ethic is needed in Israel, where operating an illegal radio station for five years will make it legal. Probably won’t go over so well in the Netherlands, though, since productivity-killing cannabis is legal to smoke in public ... but tobacco is not.
“Man does not control his own fate. The women in his life do that for him.”
Women and men have always had testy relationships, especially across the globe. The United Arab Emirates doesn’t allow them to kiss in public, keeping displays of affection restricted to all those fancy new buildings. Saudi Arabia goes one step farther by preventing public flirting ... by preventing men from walking dogs. Swaziland won’t even let young women shake hands with older men, because everyone knows that’s how pedophiles identify their prey. Proving they’re a world leader in gynecology, Bahrain only allows male doctors to examine female genitals using a mirror.
In Cali, Columbia, a bride may only examine her husband’s genitals during sex and her mother must witness it the first time. Samoa still defends chivalry by making it illegal for men to forget their wives' birthdays. In Hong Kong, women may kill their cheating husbands with their bare hands just to show that cheating will not be tolerated. At least Argentina nips marital problems in the bud by prohibiting men from marrying their brothers, and India nips cross-dressing in the bud by prohibiting Barbie from being dressed in Ken clothing.
“'Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.”
Henry David Thoreau has obviously never been to Indonesia then, because one of the most unhealthy things you can do is masturbate. You’ll be decapitated if you’re found out. In Las Vegas this might be quite an exciting law with widespread support, because in Mongolia women must walk around with their breasts exposed. At least China has stringent entrance exams for their universities. A prerequisite is that you must be intelligent.
Peeing in public is something that might get you in trouble at a tailgate, but if you’re pregnant in England you can relieve yourself anywhere you want — even in a police helmet if you request. At least in Scotland you’ll be forewarned because you’re required to allow anyone who knocks on your door use of the loo. However, don’t do it in the ocean while in Portugal where it’s illegal, or after 10 p.m. in Switzerland where you can’t flush the toilet.
“The finest clothing made is a person's own skin, but, of course, society demands something more than this.”
That is not always the case, after all. This is why Italy makes it illegal for obese people to wear polyester. This is probably why people from the American South don’t travel to the boot all that often. The Isle of Capri doesn’t want you wearing noisy sandals around. That’s alright in Barcelona, Spain, though, but wearing your bathing suit away from the beach isn’t. At least you can be a male belly dancer, because Egypt prohibits that kind of thing. Even Athens, Greece, allows for your license to be revoked if a policeman notice you’re not properly dressed or bathed (which, incidentally, would help alleviate poor traffic if actually enforced).
I don’t get what’s with the Mediterranean. Thailand actually seems normal, because all they require is that you wear underwear when leaving the house.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
If you’re from France, you’ve probably never read that before. Pigs cannot be named Napolean. Norway really takes that to heart where female dogs and cats cannot be spayed (but male animals are happily neutered). Lebanon, too, because you can get in big trouble for having sex with a male animal, but strangely not with a female. Romania doesn’t like Mickey Mouse, either. He was banned in 1935 because of fears that he would frighten children.
British Columbia, Canada doesn’t let you go hunting for Sasquatch. Should he make a trip Down Under you can, though, so long as you don’t intend to eat him. Australia doesn’t let you kill animals with a name.
“The government solution to a problem is usually as bad as the problem.”
Nowhere is government more of a problem creator than traffic laws. South Korea requires bribes for traffic cops to be reported, because that stops it from happening. Just like accidents are prevented in Belgium by saying that oncoming traffic has the right away unless the driver slows or stops. See a government motorcade in Zimbabwe? Don’t give it the finger, because offensive gestures are strictly prohibited.
Gun control isn’t a discussion saved for America, either. In an ode to gun rights activists, Paraguay allows you to duel so long as you and your challenger are blood donors. Gun control proponents will be happy to know water guns cannot be used during New Year’s celebrations in Cambodia.
Ireland specifically bans blasphemy. Should you not be blasphemer in Tibet, your reincarnation is ensured so long as you register first with a government agency. It won’t help your karma to be in Mexico City, Mexico, because you cannot tell people to “have a nice day.” However, Bangladesh is looking out for you because cheating on school exams is strictly illegal.
Should your karma bless you with good running skills, don’t plan on competing in Iceland, because running your 26 mile trek in less than 3 hours, 30 minutes is illegal. Maybe you can come back as an administrative assistant in Germany, because at least you’ll have a nice window to look out in your office. By law, all offices must have a view of the sky.
Finally, there’s a reason Borat filmed his sojourn through the United States. Any photographs for the make benefit glorious of a Kazakhstan airport is prohibited.