Skip to comments.Seat Belt Laws Save Lives, Kill Liberties
Posted on 01/27/2003 12:21:52 PM PST by shortstop
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I would be for this idea if I had confidence in the gov'ts ability to determine what is unhealthy food. Unfortunately the Gov't has told us for 40 years that fat is bad and carbs are good and the result is that America is fatter than it ever has been. They are only now beginning to realize and admit that the reverse is true, but they still haven't changed the pyramid. And it's actually the American Medical Society more than the Gov't that's at fault, since Gov't has relied on them.
In seat belts and helmets I have confidence with the Gov'ts ability to determine safety.
"Those incapable of working,should be provided for their families and charities, or by a compassionate STATE legislature"
You admit the need for a public dole, so now we are back to the everyday problem of how to determine the unwilling from the incapable. And I'm back to paying for Joe's family, unless we enforce the safety laws to protect me and Joe from Joe's stupidity.
"It is not my responsibility to provide for children other than mine, so I can mourn the passing of those few peoples that would. I would feel sad of course, but not guilty."
That contradicts the comments above about a STATE legislature taking care of them. Perhaps the best answer is to leave assistance to charities. But in fact, charities remain the assistance of last resort when gov't programs stop.
I agree with the comment that people start to see gov't entitlements as a right instead of charity. However, I don't think it's fair to leave every societal problem to the charitable minded. There is a cost to everyone if you don't deal with the problem. Therefore it's in everybody's interest to deal with the problem and everyone should pay.
And if sometimes that means society decides to curtail individual freedom and enforce safety laws, so be it. And yes, it can swing too far. Gov't has an unending appetite and seeks to be ever more intrusive to justify more and more bureaucrat jobs. There has to be a balance. And the only way I know to maintain some semblance of balance is in a republic or democracy, where a public outcry can occur if things get too far out of whack.
There is a cost if you do not deal with the problems. If there were no uncertainties in the system, I would agree with you about making people responsible for their own actions. But everything from weather to fundamental characteristics of free markets such as the fact that competition tends to drive profits to zero or below before industry rationalization occurs means that people occasionally get down on their luck.
It's why the founding fathers put things like bankruptcy codes in place, which arguably is a form of socialism, with the state canceling perfectly legal contracts.
We could kill the stupid people, as long as I get to decide who is stupid.
...shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people..
Is the right to run for office an enumerated right? Do I have the right to read a Harry Potter books in my house? Do I have the right to drink alcohol until I puke?
Not everything that we have rights to do are desirable, let alone healthy. But they are still our perogative (right to choose).
AND it's about tyranny.
But there are, and always will be uncertainties. So what? When you realize and accept the consequences of your actions rather than reach out to the nanny state when things get tough, the country will be better off. What circumstance in your life is so dire that gives you the right to go to government (an agency of force) to get them to come to me (to put a gun to my head) to pay for your misfortune? The answer - THERE IS NONE. Personal charity if admirable. Help that is extorted by government force is not.
" But everything from weather to fundamental characteristics of free markets such as the fact that competition tends to drive profits to zero or below..."
WHAT? Since when does competition make business unprofitable? The failed businesses that I have seen have failed because of internal problems, not the store down the street or across town. In just one small example, if your premise was true, car dealers would locate as far from each other as possible. But they don't. They tend to cluster because the competition tends to make them stronger.
"It's why the founding fathers put things like bankruptcy codes in place, which arguably is a form of socialism, with the state canceling perfectly legal contracts."
Bankruptcy was for extreme cases. People now treat it a divine right for anyone who runs up their charge cards. Remember, if the government gave you the 'right', it is not a right, it's a privilege.
"We could kill the stupid people, as long as I get to decide who is stupid."
Sorry, I already have that job. LOL
Could you please apply this theory to seatbelt use?
How exactly will I be affected if someone else doesn't wear their seatbelt, and the state doesn't pay their resulting medical bills?
Even if the state doesn't pay their medical bills or provide any other assistance to the person not wearing their seatbelt you will be affected.
Some percent of the adults driving who are killed or disabled in this manner are going to leave behind kids who are emotionally scarred because of the loss of a parent. These kids become the so called "at risk" kids because of the double whammy that not only have they loss a parent, but they effectively lose both because the load on the other parent is now so heavily increased. If not dealt with, the "at risk" kids tend to turn to crime.
And that crime will cost you. Either they will steal your stuff, a direct cost. Or you will pay taxes to have them locked up in the penn., or you will pay for security or additional cops.
That guy won't pay his last utility bill (so the utility company increases their rate to all their customers including you), he can't pay his mortgage, so the bank raises the interest rates they charge all new customers, he can't pay anything and every business will have to build in a small cushion and charge you, so that they can pay for Joe when Joe crashes without a seatbelt.
Your inattention to provide for the common welfare in the beginning will come home to roost in more ways than you can imagine.
By the way, suppose you are robbed and they take you to the emergency room. Your ID is stolen, so the hospital refuses to aid you because you can't prove your ability to pay them. Is that really the kind of world you want?
There are costs to not doing anything. They range from health concerns to increases in crime. When the majority of the population agrees that it is in the best interest of all to have a safety net, then we collectively have that right. And if you don't like it, your choices are to try to change it or get out.
What makes you think that you have an unalienable right to be government free? They are sticking the same gun to my head that they are sticking to yours. The system is fair.
Since when does competition make business unprofitable?
Competition does not always make businesses unprofitable. But it is common that competition will drive the profits down to zero or below in the shortterm until enough business fail and industry rationalization occurs. This is basic macroeconomics.
Free enterprise is still the best system for overall management, but you need to realize that you can do everything right and well and can still be driven into bankruptcy by circumstances beyond your control. Thomas Jefferson filed bankruptcy twice before being elected president.
It's not the competition that makes car dealers locate close to each other, it's the marketing location. The odds of having their cars seen are greater if they are close to other lots.
"Bankruptcy was for extreme cases. People now treat it a divine right "
Some people do. And I think there should be a system to track people who file every 7 years like clockwork. On the other hand, as someone who started a business a year ago, I appreciate the fact that the bankruptcy laws are there.
They have allowed me a chance to get out of the corporate slavery and take risks, that I wouldn't have, if bankruptcy laws didn't exist. Ultimately that increased risk taking is good for the economy. See Benjamin Franklin's comments on the value of low interest rates to the overall economy.
If your theory were followed to its logical conclusion, there would be literally no human activity that would go unregulated. Every single thing we do entails some personal risk, from crossing the street to cooking dinner.
Where would this regulation end? Theoretically it could go on forever, until people were fed only gruel (you might choke on solid food!) and confined to padded rooms and strait jackets (most accidents happen in the home!), released only long enough to complete jobs that were justified by a risk/benefit analysis of be of sufficient benefit to others.
You also assume that you have some right to the benefits of others existence and their work. You have no such right. People are not cattle whose liberty depends on how much they benefit others. If I die today in a parachuting accident, or even decide to take my own life (it is mine after all) and that causes you to miss out on something I might have done to benefit you, well, Tough.
Your theory is that of slavery. Not slavery to an individual, but slavery to everyone. I am no man's slave. If you benefit from my wellness, consider yourself lucky. You have no right to the least of the fruit of my labors, unless we agree to it beforehand. If my demise causes some creditor of mine a loss, that's simply the cost of doing business in a free society. The free market system, through the 'Invisible Hand' will handle that.
Freedom is not free. It costs more than lives spent on a battlefield or trillions of dollars spent on 'defense'. Freedom is not neat or orderly. How much of a mess do wars we supposedly fight for freedom make? All those costs are merely a minor portion of liberty's cost. The consequences of my right to be as reckless with myself as I wish, so long as your rights are not violated are part of that cost.
suppose you are robbed and they take you to the emergency room. Your ID is stolen, so the hospital refuses to aid you because you can't prove your ability to pay them. Is that really the kind of world you want?
I can solve that problem real easy: In exchange for treatment in that case you agree to be photographed and leave a thumbprint with the hospital (now your creditor) in lieu of conventional ID. In the event that you don't pay, your thumbprint and photo are given to the police as evidence of breach of contract. If your thumbprint is not on record and you cannot be found and prosecuted, your picture and thumbprint are shared with other hospitals much in the way casinos share information on undesirables, and you can be assured you will not steal treatment in the future. The cost of this system and losses from those that don't pay are offset by an additional fee on those customers who use the system.
Nearly every problem such as this can be solved with voluntary solutions. All it takes is thought and effort.
There has to be a balance. You only deal with the really big factors. Seatbelts or lack thereof was a big factor in loss of life and injury. Look at the exemptions the life insurance companies put in their contracts. They only exclude a handful of activities, usually flying and a few others. But it's the most common losses. That's exactly what the seatbelt law addresses, a very common loss.
You also assume that you have some right to the benefits of others existence and their work.
I don't or show me how, except to the extent that you might leave behind problems for the rest of us to deal with such as children.
If my demise causes some creditor of mine a loss, that's simply the cost of doing business in a free society. The free market system, through the 'Invisible Hand' will handle that.
"simply the cost of doing business"... a cost that is avoided by requiring safety laws. The balance of cost vs personal liberty is decided upon by our democratically elected republic. You benefit from the cost savings, even though you don't like the law.
The free market system would price that in by driving up the cost of credit to all. The market would be pricing in a large and unneccessary cost. And the market can not adequately price in factors like the cost to society of kids left behind or any public assistance. Thus the need for the law.
The consequences of my right to be as reckless with myself as I wish, so long as your rights are not violated are part of that cost.
but that's really the issue isn't it. Whether your recklessness violates my rights. As long as there is public assistance (which I think some is necessary) and as long as you can leave children behind, then I maintain you do violate my rights by your recklessness.
"In the event that you don't pay, your thumbprint and photo are given to the police as evidence of breach of contract."...
So now I and others have to pay for police and investigators to track you down."
The cost of this system and losses from those that don't pay are offset by an additional fee on those customers who use the system.
So now I and others have to pay because you are a deadbeat. The only difference is in your system all users of medical care have to pay extra, in mine the public as a whole has to pay extra. It's just a different set of people who are getting the gun to their head.
Ah, but we have agreed! You have agreed to abide by the laws of this society or your fathers before you did. And the seatbelt law is a duly enacted law. So are the social welfare programs.
So you can work to change the law, if you don't like it. But until you have a majority to properly overturn the law, you are stuck with it as agreed upon.
I don't like all of the laws either. But they are law and I respect that, whether or not I like it.
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