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  •  Unrelated but curious... are you opposed to (0+ / 0-)

    seatbelt laws?

    I'm just curious. Personally, I think a State can pass those laws if they can get them approved, though I would personally hate to have to wear a cycling helmet, even though I prolly should.

    ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

    by Tirge Caps on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:03:57 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Yes I am... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BennyAbelard, greeseyparrot, imorroy

      ...very opposed, in fact.  The state has no business protecting you from yourself, and it is a ridiculous waste of resources, not to mention a Fourth Amendment violation, to have traffic stops to check seat belts (which I personally have been stopped at four times, and I haven't had a driver's liscence for three years).

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:06:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and what about... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bloomer 101, VA2CA

        ...child seat laws?

        Does the state have business protecting children from their parent's self?

        •  That's thorny... (0+ / 0-)

          ...the state does have the perogative to protect children from their parents negligence and/or intentional harm.  That being said, this particular case, I feel it is an unenforcible law.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:14:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  someone had an argument for seatbelt/helmet laws. (0+ / 0-)

            ...and argued it as the state having an over-riding financial interest in having people wear helmets/seatbelts because the kind of injuries that result from motorcycle/automobile crashes (head injury mostly) if not outright killing you would cause you to require extensive and extremely expensive medical care essentially for the rest of your life.  And that often those costs are incurred either on the state or on healtcare providers (because what insurance company's going to touch that?)

            I don't know how accurate that claim is but that was an explaination from the pro-seatbelt/helmet laws side explaining what business the state has in the issue.  They argued it as a public health issue (from a cost perspective), kind of like vaccinations.

            •  That is actually the line of argument used in (0+ / 0-)

              several states and as someone who personally knows at least three people who have died in motorcycle accidents I actually believe that a helmet law is not a bad thing.

              Obviously it's a question of personal liberties, but the if the state can legitimately keep smoke out of bars then I think motocycle helmets are a minor nusance.

              I know even more people who have died in car accidents, so is the "liberty" of not wearing a seatbelt really worth a human life?

              Usually I consider myself a member of the "Pro-Death" Party: pro-choice, pro-death-penalty, but I do think we should do what we can to protect and promote the well being of all our citizens between birth and the great white light.

            •  They always do.. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ChetEdModerate

              ....it is always a public health issue.  Which is how we end up at prohibition and refusing to teach kids about condoms because telling them anything but "don't have sex" runs a risk that they'll have unsafe sex, or become godless or something.  And sooner or later they'll have detectors to check if you even have drugs in your bloodstream and laws against juviniles having sex, and some abominable program to try and enforce that.  It's the public's health, after all.  We can't afford all these underage parents having babies and needing the public's care, and people who aren't doing illegal drugs have nothing to fear from the scanner checks, just like if you're wearing your seat belt, you have nothing to fear from random car stops.

              And while we're at it, why bother having elections?  A panel of experts can determine what is best for the greatest number of American people, better than our uninformed electorate who are just watching three hours of coverage on what the JonBenet Ramsey killer ate on the airplane on the fucking news channel anyways.  And really, we could solve the obesity epidemic if we told everyone what they had to eat, and how much, and what time to eat.  I mean, hell, a scientist just suggested that the obesity "epidemic" is now a bigger world problem than starvation.  We best get the government on that.

              I'm obviously being facetious, right?  I mean, it isn't like we're banning Sudafed and pulling people over to make sure their seat belt is buckled and they aren't talking on their cell phones and talking about banning smoking in your own home if there are children present and monitoring the phone calls and library records of everyone and banning foie gras and talking about banning freaking transfats.  We're a free fucking country, right?

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 09:12:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Free country (0+ / 0-)

                "We're a free fucking country, right?"

                Yes. Free to elect representatives who enact laws that pass constitutionality tests that protect us from other people's reckless behavior, both physical and financial.

                Sure, I'd like to run red lights (not really, just being illustrative). But I don't because I'm a responsible citizen. I don't want to be hit by a self-obsessed wacko, so I vote to put restrictions on my behavior to protect myself from those wackos. As a result, I am "forced," to use your (libertarian collective) favorite antisocial expression, to stop at red lights. Not wearing a seltbelt puts others at risk because of vehicle control issues, and burdens them with addition insurance and healthcare costs. Not being a self-centered asshole, I gladly obey and endorse both red light and seatbelt laws.

                Of course, you are not "forced" to wear a seatbelt or stop at red lights because "the government" does not "force" you to drive. You have the freedom to walk instead. Likewise, you are not "forced" to pay taxes because "the government" does not "force" you to earn income, plus we have the freedom to emigrate to countries where you pay no US taxes. I think many libs would be happier in third-world countries. I have one friend who did just that - to Costa Rica. Of course, when it rains, he can't drive into town for food for several days, because with low taxes comes low infrastructure and other services.

                But there are those who simply can't function in a society and can't cooperate. Like thieves, they see no problem in costing others their rights to live and prosper, as long as they are not inconvenienced. They think reckles behavior is OK as long as you don't hurt anyone, whereas rational people understand that reckless behavior leads to accidents, regardless of the original intent of the perp. Or "Duh," as I like to say.

                Example: I once argued this case with a nutcase libertarian. "So it's OK for your kid to play with matches all he wants as long as he doesn't burn the house down and kill us all, because you already have a rule against that?" All I got was a pout that screamed "I got nuthin'."

                This is too easy.

                "Question authority and the authorities will question you." Now more than ever!

                by armadillo on Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 01:51:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Foreign taxes (0+ / 0-)
                  we have the freedom to emigrate to countries where you pay no US taxes.

                  Note that the United States is one of very few nations that requires citizens residing abroad to pay full US taxes on all income, even if none if it has any US nexus.

                  Even citizens who leave the country and renounce citizenship can be required to pay US taxes for ten or more years.  I don't feel much sympathy for such quitters but that just seems wrong.

                  3.39/-3.27 * Save the Moderates

                  by ChetEdModerate on Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 05:44:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I look at it as if the burden of injuries (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VA2CA

        decreases the State's ability to function, or in this case, if it adversely effects health care by overloading the system, then some safety regulations can be imposed if passed.  But I do agree with your fundamental disagreement, even though it isn't enough for me in the case of seat belts. I am wary of government intrusion and think this one gets very close, but in the end is beneficial more than not.

        ... we now know a lot of things, most of which, we already knew... (-dash888)

        by Tirge Caps on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:14:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Make you a deal (6+ / 0-)

        I will join in your opposition to seat belt and helmet laws IF
        as part of it, people injured or killed in traffic accidents not wearing them collect no insurance, irrespective of whose fault it is, for their medical bills.

        This is the problem of libertarianism - it refuses to recognize that we are part of a society, where individual actions affect others' lives.

        And I'll throw in another problem - even if an accident were totally not my fault, if I were involved in one with a driver/rider who otherwise would have lived if following safety rules but died, it would haunt me the rest of my life.

        Sorry, but you need to learn to respect others and not value your own selfish preferences above what is good for society as a whole.

        •  Ugh (0+ / 0-)

          As regards that last sentence, this is what bugs me the most about anti-libertarian folks.  What the hell makes you think that I don't respect others above what is good for society as a whole?  Why does everyone think that just because I don't think the government ought to pass and attempt to enforce a whole bunch of laws, that I don't think that people ought to do the right thing, or that I don't personally?

          This sort of crap is based on the premise that, given the opportunity, everyone will behave as badly as they possibly can.  I don't believe that, and the evidence doesn't bear it out either.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:20:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Respecting others (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            loudGizmo, armadillo, VA2CA

            means not to put the cult of self-centeredness above doing things that make little difference to you but a huge potential difference to others.

            I stand by my sentiment.

            And you did not respond about the no-insurance tradeoff, which in a rough justice sort of way would be the appropriate legal remedy.

            •  I did reply in a ps... (0+ / 0-)

              ...below.

              Again, I'm not sure what the heck you're talking about has anything to do with libertarianism as a political philosophy.  It isn't about self-centeredness - it is about freedom from the power of the state.  Doing the things is great, and I support the hell out of doing them.  I have no respect for forcing people to do them.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:31:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  In light of this comment... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              greeseyparrot

              I will join in your opposition to seat belt and helmet laws IF, as part of it, people injured or killed in traffic accidents not wearing them collect no insurance, irrespective of whose fault it is, for their medical bills.

              ...I wouldn't wax self-righteous about the "cult of self-centeredness", hon.  Since the whole point of insurance of all sorts is to spread risk it is, frankly, not your frickin' business what the risks are and from whom.  You sound like a tax hater who doesn't want "his money" to go to undeserving welfare queens.  Who's being self-centered with such talk?

              (until I can think of something better)

              by Ernest Tomlinson on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:40:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not really (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                armadillo

                If insurance companies have to pay for the accidents of people who fail to obey safety laws, then that increases everyone's insurance costs.  And when it's money coming out of my pocket for someone else's refusal to obey a law, then it most definitely is my business.

              •  Sorta trollish (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                armadillo

                I don't want to pay for the health care costs of those who were injured and could have avoided injury through wearing seat belts. I'm not asking them to buy a volvo that has a multi-thousand premium because it is safe, I'm asking them to use the free safety devices that are already in their cars, for their sake and mine. Your insurance argument strikes me as a bit simplistic, the fact that people take risks because they are insured is called moral hazard and destroys insurance.

                Also, it is philosophically a bit difficult to attack someone who is making an anti-libertarian argument as a "tax-hater".

                "Quidquid dicendum est, libere dicam." -Cicero

                by BennyAbelard on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 07:32:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  If people want to engage in risky (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                armadillo

                behaviors like smoking or biking without a helmet or driving without a seatbelt that is their right - just don't expect the rest of us to subsidize their risky behavior with higher insurance premiums and higher taxes.

                (-2.75,-4.77) America let Bush play with its Army and he broke it.

                by Sam I Am on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 07:35:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Ohh, now I don't buy that (0+ / 0-)

                I wouldn't wax self-righteous about the "cult of self-centeredness", hon.  Since the whole point of insurance of all sorts is to spread risk it is, frankly, not your frickin' business what the risks are and from whom.

                Right.  So, then, you would assert that I should be paying the same for life insurance as someone who hang-glides?  Should I pay as much for auto insurance as someone who has had six accidents?  Should I, more to the point, have to pay for an increase in the cost of life insurance because someone else shoots himself in the head so that his wife and kids can have a couple of million dollars?

                Another idea of insurance, and specifically of variable rates, is to reward the kind of behavior the insurer wants to encourage.  Since the insurer can't verify that the driver is wearing his seat belt until after he's thrown from the car headfirst into a tree, it seems to me that insurance that gave you a lower rate based on whether you tick the box saying 'I will always wear my seatbelt' and don't get any money if you are caught not wearing it is...

                ...a horrendously bad idea, but only because I think that everyone in the world should have free health care, regardless of their lifestyle.  However, indulging in risky and stupid behavior (e.g. unprotected sex with strangers) just because you know that society will be there to clean up your messes (e.g. provide you free AIDS drugs for the rest of your life) is the epitome of selfishness.

                I would say that it is indeed our responsibility as a society to provide health care to all our citizens.  But, if that is so, is it not the responsibility of each individual citizen to minimize the burden he or she places on the rest of society, to the greatest extent they can without being unduly burdened themselves?  (Of course, in a free society the only measure of 'undue burden' is the individual's sense of responsibility.)  If that is true, then all of a sudden it seems to me that legislating seat belts (seat belts, for god's sake) is no worse than, say, legislating child support.  Except, of course, that there is no one for whom fastening their seat belt is an 'undue burden'.

                If you want the state to take care of you, then there are some rules that you have to follow.  It's called the social compact, and if it includes fastening your seat belt, well, it's hard for me to imagine anything more innocuous that can prevent so many people from becoming a burden to society.

                -fred

        •  I agree with you Sean (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JaciCee, armadillo

          My dad was a cop and saw tons of people killed or maimed for life because they wouldn't put on a seatbelt.  My daughter was riding in a car that was hit from behind by a guy who wsn't wearing a seatbelt.  Every rib in his chest was broken, and his nose was sheared off.  Don't give my kids nightmares for the rest of their lives because you don't want to protect yourself.

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dontvoteinthedark/

          by VA2CA on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:23:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  PS (0+ / 0-)

          Since I think the government ought not be involved with insurance, I think if insurers want to refuse to cover drivers who do not wear their seat belts, more power to them.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:28:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Government should not be involved in insurance? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            greeseyparrot

            What planet do you live on?

            The government includes courts of course, but if you are talking about the regulations, you are talking about a formula that a consumer nightmare with the most vulnerable people made totally uninsurable.

            •  Well... (0+ / 0-)

              ...I do think courts are the proper remedy for a lot of these over-legislated issues.  But this isn't a conversation that is going many places, and since I'm not here to pitch libertarianism, I'm not sure what exactly we're going on about.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:34:03 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If the courts are involved (0+ / 0-)

                that means the government is involved. If they are acting in a vacuum without the guidance of executive and/or legislative action directly tied in to people's votes.

                In other words, your solution means that an all--powerful government that is less responsive to people.

                Thus it is with libertarianism - a nice idea until you recognize the consequences.

          •  The government is us (0+ / 0-)

            In this country, government = US. Just substitute "we" for "government" above and maybe it will be clear. Sounds like what you want is anarchy. There's an anarchist wing of the libertatian party, right?

            If "we" (the government) want to pass laws that hold others accountable for irresponsible behavior that impacts others (see my other message for a few examples), then we not only can, we should, or we would be irresponsible too. The only alternative to that freedom is a dictatorship. Is that what you want, with your guy in charge, of course?

            What about red light laws? Against those, too? I knew a libertarian who was against speeding laws since there were already laws against murder. Sheesh.

            But it's pointless to argue with authoritarians.

            "Question authority and the authorities will question you." Now more than ever!

            by armadillo on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 07:13:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Not only would that death haunt you, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BennyAbelard

          so would the estate of the deceased.  It's not worth the risk. Seatbelts are simple ways to save lives.

          Not the church. Not the state. Women will decide their fate.

          by JaciCee on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:51:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Jeeez. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        davechen

        I investigated auto accidents for years. I saw many gruesome deaths that could have been prevented had the vehicle occupants been wearing their seatbelts.  I guess if adults want to be irresponsible about their own safety that is one thing but to put a kid at risk is beyond reproach.

        Not the church. Not the state. Women will decide their fate.

        by JaciCee on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:47:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think it means what you think it means... (0+ / 0-)

          ...but to put a kid at risk is beyond reproach.

          'Beneath contempt', possibly.  'Beyond the pale.'  'Beyond stupid' is a goodie, though not really much of a cliche.

          But putting a kid at risk is pretty much the opposite of 'beyond reproach', given that it means (according to my dictionary):

          such that no criticism can be made; perfect

          -fred

      •  What about others on the road? (0+ / 0-)

        Let's say you have no seatbelt on and get nerfed hard enough to lose your grip on the wheel, perhaps sliding right too far to reach the brake as well. Your now-unguided car crosses the median into my lane. Please state the law that allows your irresponsibility to kill me.

        Or is it "all about me me me?" Are you a libertarian, BTW? At least a republican, I'd say. They can't stand personal responsibility.

        OK, more points. When you die or get injured, all the cost of your tax-supported education and OJT goes with you. Your former employer must hire a replacement, which might be expensive, plus he has the cost of restoring your OJT. He has to pass these costs to me, the consumer, or go broke. Why should we responsible consumers have to pay for your lack of responsibility? And what about hospital capacity? Hospitals have to have enough beds to handle the average load. Every little bit adds up. This increases my health and insurance costs, as does the extra costs of more severe injuries you may sustain, should you survive. Everybody pays, even if you have insurance, as insurance companies must raise rates to cover your and other non-seatbelt-wearers' extra average costs. We are subsidizing your irresponsibility, you are using other people's money to act foolishly.

        There are many other indirect costs. Your family may have to take time off from work to tend to you. Stress may lower their productivity, too. That raises the price of goods and services. And on and on it goes... We can't afford people like you.

        The rest of us do have business protecting ourselves and our pocketbooks from people who can't seem to function in a society for the mutual benefit of all. If you lived on a desert island, I'd say fine, knock yourself out. But for now, please realize what you do affects others, at least financially.

        "Question authority and the authorities will question you." Now more than ever!

        by armadillo on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 06:51:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Haha (0+ / 0-)

          I basically wrote a post that copies yours before I read yours. The only thing I would note is that seatbeltless drivers actually get in less acidents than those with seatbelts. This was found when people used to have the ability to buy a car without seatbelts so it might not hold up anymore, but I haven't seen newer data.

          "Quidquid dicendum est, libere dicam." -Cicero

          by BennyAbelard on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 07:27:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Doesn't sound right (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BennyAbelard

            especially people who don't wear seatbelts are by definition less responsible, and also aggressive (just look at how they argue about it) and bigger risk takers, from everything I've read.

            To sum up, a secondary reason for seatbelts is to help you keep control of your vehicle so you don't endanger others. Libertarians and conservatives don't care about others, so this makes no sense to them. Why they don't want the other guy to keep control of his vehicle so they don't get hit is beyond me - just another predictable inconsistency. <sigh>

            "Question authority and the authorities will question you." Now more than ever!

            by armadillo on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 07:40:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (0+ / 0-)

              there are studies that show this. Steven Landsberg talked about it in the mass market book The Armchair Economist. Granted Landsberg is crazy even for an economist, but the numbers are there.

              The theory basically goes like this: a seatbelt's main function is to reduce injury when an accident occurs. By doing this it decreases the cost of accidents. Since accidents no longer cost as much, people take fewer precautions to prevent them and therefore get into more accidents.

              The net result seen in studies was that, with seatbelts, a lower percentage of accidents resulted in fatalities. At the same time the number of accidents increased to a degree such that the total number of fatalities stayed the same.

              That being said, I don't know whether anyone has examined the case of seatbelts allowing you to maintain control over your vehicle in the case of an accident. Would be interesting to see.

              Also, the studies I am aware of were done before the universal inclusion of seatbelts in cars. So I tend to think that you are right to suggest that today, when the cost of using a seatbelt is only 5 seconds when you enter the car, only the inherently reckless will not use seatbelts. That could cause the earlier positive correlation between accidents and seatbelts to dissapear.

              "Quidquid dicendum est, libere dicam." -Cicero

              by BennyAbelard on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 09:09:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Losing control of vehicle (0+ / 0-)

                That being said, I don't know whether anyone has examined the case of seatbelts allowing you to maintain control over your vehicle in the case of an accident. Would be interesting to see.

                Kind of self-evident, no? Si?

                The most recent example I saw was a news story on employers placing cameras in company vehicles to prove or disprove carelessness. In one, a guy hits something or gets hit. He goes from the driver's seat to the back glass and back to the front. My guess he couldn't control the vehicle while in the back seat, but that's just me. Once things settled down, I doubt he'd be healthy enough to get control again.

                I got T-boned once and while I had a bad bruise on my left arm, I never let go of the wheel. I saw it coming and hit the brakes. My foot stayed on the brake through the whole thing - I was stopped before I even got all the way through the intersection. Had I not been belted, no way I could have kept control. Moral: There is no argument against firsthand experience. :)

                Likewise, I T-boned a Chevette that ran a stop sign in a 1972 T-bird, not an even match. The occupants bounced around the car like pingpong balls.

                Surely you've seen those insurance industry crash test films, too. Pretty obvious. Let's hope the conservatives and liberatians feel some personal responsibility for the safety of others, if not themselves, and buckle up. Not likely with authoritarians, though.

                I'll take my chances with the self-evident.

                Sorry for contributing to the hijacking of this diary.

                "Question authority and the authorities will question you." Now more than ever!

                by armadillo on Sat Aug 26, 2006 at 01:07:42 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  In general (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        armadillo

        as someone who thinks like an economist I agree about protecting people from themselves. People can weigh the costs and benefits themselves. However, there is a tricky point with seat belts in that people may not know the trade off they are making. Certainly the reaction to Nader's Unsafe At Any Speed indicates that most people at the time didn't really know about the safety of their cars. Times may have changed, but I wouldn't want to stake myself to either side very strongly.
        There is also an externality issue. My auto insurance and health insurance premiums are almost certainly higher than they need to be because the historical data on my demographic (18-25 males) includes quite a few non-seatbelt wearing morons.
        As far as the 4th amendment thing, I think states get around with some sort of implied consent principle. When you get a driver's license you agree to all sorts of things in exchange for the right to drive. You are forced to take a field sobriety test, or cede your licence, and you probably also agree to have you seatbelt status inspected. Basically, the state is giving you a priviledge in exchange for you following their rules, which might not otherwise be totally legal. Same way your employer can drug test you, even though the government cannot stop you on the sidewalk and drug test or sobriety test you. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not sure how this applies to someone like you who doesn't have a licence, but I bet it does.

        "Quidquid dicendum est, libere dicam." -Cicero

        by BennyAbelard on Fri Aug 25, 2006 at 07:25:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  No problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        armadillo

        States should also pass a law saying that if you're injured in an accident because you weren't wearing a legally mandated seatbelt or bike helmet, then your insurance company and all levels of gov't are not liable to pay for your medical care.

        If you want to live outside the system, then you should be willing to take full responsibility for your actions and shun society's safety net.

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