Balance of Forces

Sun Tzu's strategy teaches that all conditions are created by a balance of forces. Most mistakes come from recognizing only one half of the forces at work in a given situation and working the wrong side of the equation. Government are particularly bad are recognizing that balance in social situations. Often that balance exists between law-abiding citizen and those that have no interest at all in following the laws. Law-abiding citizens can be controlled inexpensively by simply by passing laws. Criminals can only be controlled by enforcing laws, which is much more expensive. The result is that many government tend to work only the law-abiding half of the equations, often to our social detriment. Here is a great example from an article in Reason Magazine by Michael C. Moynihan (via Instapundit):
Following the 1996 Dunblane school massacre, in which seventeen people were killed by a man armed with two 9mm pistols, Britain passed a law outlawing the ownership of most handguns, despite researchers finding "no link between high levels of gun crime and areas where there were still high levels of lawful gun possession." It's a law so severe that the Britain's Olympic shooting team is forced to train abroad, lest one of its members try to shoot up a grammar school. So how effective has the law been? A doubling in gun-related crimes since the ban, naturally.
Update: Similarly, we see the laws regulating automobile exhaust preventing advances in diesel technology that would lower pollution and increase mileage. But strangely, the media finds it much easier to find the "balancing" side of economic news when that economic news would normally been seen as positive, such as the dark side of full employment.