Should We Ban Walking While Wired?

The Nanny State targets hand-held gadgets.

You've had the experience of walking along and negotiating around someone who is walking slowly, weaving, or bumping into other pedestrians for an obvious reason: He or she is talking on a cell phone, listening to an iPod, or texting on a Blackberry.

And you've had the natural, inevitable response to this annoyance: demanding a law to prevent it.

Oh, you haven't responded that way? Well, Carl Kruger has. The state senator from Brooklyn, N.Y., wants to make it illegal to use an electronic device while crossing a big-city street on foot. He has an ally in Arkansas state Sen. Jimmy Jeffress, who wants to ban pedestrians from wearing headphones in both ears on or near a roadway.

These measures reflect a reflexive urge to regulate even the smallest elements of human behavior, from the flavorings in cigarettes to the type of fats in restaurant meals to the number of bullets a magazine may hold. Some people apparently sit around thinking, "What's the good of having all this government power if we're not going to use it?"

The urge is at its strongest when stimulated by a belief that the behavior is not only irksome but dangerous. The rationale in this case comes from a recent increase in pedestrian fatalities, as reported by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

After falling for four straight years, the number rose in the first half of 2010. One theory is that many pedestrians are too distracted by their electronic habits to notice that truck bearing down on them.

Or, as Kruger told The New York Times, "We're taught from knee-high to look in both directions, wait, listen and then cross. You can perform none of those functions if you are engaged in some kind of wired activity." Actually, you can perform all those functions and dance an Irish jig, even with text messages or rock music bombarding you.

GHSA spokesman Jonathan Adkins says electronic distractions are a conceivable explanation for the increase, but there is no way to be sure. It's also premature to assume the trend is more than a passing blip. "You don't want to overreact to six months of data," he told me. "We like to have two or three years of data before we recommend significant action."

If cell phones and media gadgets were spawning an epidemic of pedestrian carnage, you'd think it would have erupted before now. Both have been in widespread use for years, and yet pedestrian deaths have declined.

It's easy to imagine other reasons for the recent spike. Unemployment was very high in 2010, and those who are out of work may walk more, to save gas and money. Maybe public transit cuts have forced some riders to take the shoe leather express. Maybe being unemployed makes you more likely to drown your sorrows and stagger into the path of a bus.

Human beings do not always respond to new technologies in predictable ways. It's possible that listening to music or sending messages makes pedestrians less aware of the dangers around them. Or possibly it discourages them from jaywalking or crossing against the light, in unconscious self-preservation.

Laws don't always work as intended. It may sound only prudent to prohibit drivers from text-messaging. But a recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDA) found that in three of four states that imposed such bans, auto crashes increased.

Why? The HLDA says some motorists could be holding their phones down, out of sight of police, to do their texting, "taking drivers' eyes further from the road and for a longer time."

But even if gadgets are indeed luring pedestrians toward premature death, a ban would be an enforcement nightmare. How does a cop know if your music device is on or off when you hit the crosswalk? Or if you are talking to someone on your Bluetooth, rather than soliloquizing?

How many cops are going to make a priority of collaring ambulatory electronic addicts? Chicago forbids drivers from talking on hand-held cell phones, and Chicago streets are clogged with drivers talking on hand-held cell phones.

Unfortunately, some people with power lack judgment about its proper limits. Making laws is a bit like being a pedestrian: It's important to know when to go, but also when to stop.

COPYRIGHT 2011 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.

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  • Congress shall make no law||

    The law that should be passed would outlaw legislating while stupid.

  • Anarchist||

    A recent increase in pedestrian fatalities...Unemployment was very high in 2010, and those who are out of work may walk more, to save gas and money. Maybe public transit cuts have forced some riders to take the shoe leather express.

    I blame the state.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Ban da bomb!

  • Adolph||

    Any opportunity for the chronically dumb to remove themselves from the gene pool has to be a 'good thing'.

  • Brett L||

    He's probably a creationist. If God wanted them to text he'd have given them implants.

  • Rather||

  • Dull Noid||

    I remember reading an article a few years ago about how the young folks are 'evolving' (it wasn't a great article) and that for them the thumb, rather than the index finger, is the most dexterous digit.

  • Rather||

  • El Duderino||

    You don't need a dexterous index finger to pick your nose anyway.

  • Bill Clinton||

    I've seen some God given implants.

  • ||

    Amen, amen, amen!!!! Let's stop passing laws that will not change the behavior of the chronically stupid!

  • Wind Rider||

    At least, if they were going to exhibit their fetish to get their rocks off by telling other people what to do, they'd have the forthrightness to just fucking show up on C-SPAN in full latex and leather with a riding crop and ball gag accessory to make it easier fopr the average proles to ID them for what they are.

  • ||

    Only if the ball gag is in their mouth at all times.

  • ||

    Well, thanks for that image. I'm going to have trouble sleeping for a week.

  • ||

    "release the gimp!"

  • Carl Kruger||

    Actually, you can perform all those functions and dance an Irish jig, even with text messages or rock music bombarding you.

    I can't. I ... just can't.

    So neither should anyone else.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Is there currently a ban on reading a book or a newspaper while walking? These politicians are slackers!!!

    You've had the experience of walking along and negotiating around someone who is walking slowly, weaving, or bumping into other pedestrians for an obvious reason: He or she is talking on a cell phone, listening to an iPod, or texting on a Blackberry.

    Lift the ban on the ol' fist-in-the-face. Problem solved.

  • Rich||

    Right on, Mr Whipple!

    The worst are those idiots who try walking right after sitting with their leg folded under them so long it's asleep. There really ought to be a law against such reckless behavior.

  • Wesley||

    I don't know anything about these gadgets you call ipods and cell phones, but we should definitely ban changing the tape in your Walkman while crossing the street. Do you know how dangerous that is?

  • Restoras||

    No way. People watching in Manhattan would be much less fun without seing those clowns walk into light poles, step in potholes filled with water, and get plowed over by city busses.

  • Mr Whipple||

    Well, that woman that walked into the fountain in the mall while texting is now trying to sue the mall.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mg11glsBW4Y

  • JohnD||

    Well, it's obviously not her fault that she is as dumb as a bag of hammers

  • some guy||

    Not the mall's fault either. She should sue her parents and/or god.

  • ||

    She should sue the fountain.

  • ICGAMBLERS||

    Or water and shiney lights.

  • Erisian||

    The deep pockets of the smartphone maker are crying out to be picked. The fools didn't include some sort of radar warning device that would have warned her she was approaching a solid object.

  • jacob||

    Fuckin hilarious! BTW she's not suing because she fell, she's suing because the mall security put the video of her fall on the internet.

    Whether she deserves anything other than an apology is not clear, but it is a funny video.

  • Gregory Smith||

    I'm just waiting for "Fat Control," that's next on the agenda, it's gonna be like gun control, you're gonna need to wait 48 hours before buying a cheeseburger, that is if your state will even allows that.

    http://libertarians4freedom.blogspot.com/

  • ||

    “I read today that cholesterol kills more people each year than guns. So why don’t we put a seven-day waiting period on the purchase of Popeye’s chicken?” (Larry The Cable Guy)

  • ||

    Coming soon.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    More regulation. The answer is always more regulation.

    Nail, meet hammer.

  • Passerby||

    Yay! I love getting penalized for other people's stupidity.

  • Barney The Frank||

    You can penalize me anytime!

  • Old Mexican||

    These measures reflect a reflexive urge to regulate even the smallest elements of human behavior, from the flavorings in cigarettes to the type of fats in restaurant meals to the number of bullets a magazine may hold. Some people apparently sit around thinking, "What's the good of having all this government power if we're not going to use it?"


    "The urge to control is strong with this one..."

    It's all about power... Absolute Power!!!!

  • Old Mexican||

    "Laws don't always work as intended. It may sound only prudent to prohibit drivers from text-messaging. But a recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDA) found that in three of four states that imposed such bans, auto crashes increased.

    Why? The HLDA says some motorists could be holding their phones down, out of sight of police, to do their texting, 'taking drivers' eyes further from the road and for a longer time.'"


    Same with helmet laws and all other sort of "it's for your own good" impositions. People simply refuse to behave like reprogrammable robots.

  • Wind Rider||

    It's way past more than enough to wish the Puritan's boat had sunk in mid Atlantic at the appropriate moment.

  • ||

    There's a Titanic joke in there somewhere.

  • ||

    I propose a ban on walking while looking skyward at all the tall buildings. Do you know how many people get hurt each year doing that?

    My guess is 4 million.

  • Ice Nine||

    Much more prudent to ban tall buildings.

  • ||

    """We're taught from knee-high to look in both directions, wait, listen and then cross. You can perform none of those functions if you are engaged in some kind of wired activity." ""

    What an idiotic statement. You can walk, and look with music blasting. So you can't listen to your surroundings, neither can a deaf guy. Should we ban deaf people from walking on the streets too? How about blind people? They can't see cars coming, do they have any business in a crosswalk?

  • ||

    I'm still wondering if blind people have any business living, much less crossing the street.

  • ArbutusJoe||

    "It's important to know when to go, but also when to stop."

    Especially in Malawi: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....crime.html

  • ||

    To me, the really scary thing about Barack Obama working a Blackberry is that it shows he has no fucking clue what his real duties are. None of which can be discharged over a Blackberry. All of which are impaired by having a constant distraction like a Blackberry.

    IMO, nobody in a senior executive position should have a Blackberry. Their job is big picture, long-range stuff. Blackberries are for instant reaction, micro-managing stuff. For people whose job it is to do that, they are invaluable. For everyone else, they are a hindrance and a distraction.

  • some guy||

    "... it shows he has no fucking clue what his real duties are."

    You had to see him with a Blackberry to pick up on that fact?

  • ||

    The weird thing is that the battery died in 2007. He's just looking at a blank screen. Really strange.

  • Erisian||

    His battery will only recharge using green energy. Why do you think huge government subsidies are required for development... he is totally blind without his visual crackberry feed.

  • Dull Noid||

    Wait. People do work on a Blackberry?

  • Obama||

    Mine is called a Dingleberry.

  • Mrs. Obama||

    I prefer to call them huckleberries.

  • Ted S.||

    That's racist!

  • 29InNet||

    Give BHO a break...he thinks it a small teleprompter and is waiting for it to tell him what to say/do/think.

  • ||

    There's an app for that....right?!

  • marlok||

    The NYT's app. Krugman's column.

  • Ray LaHood||

    It IS important to know when to go and when to stop. That's why our next regulatory action will involve bladders. Bladder control is a serious issue that needs my person urgent attention!

  • some guy||

    Suggestion:

    Why don't we just cut to the chase and ban harming oneself? If you show up at the doctor's office or hospital, you get fined. If you buy a box of bandages or disinfectant, you get fined. Of course this can be applied ot financial harm, as well. If you lose money gambling or in the stock market, you get fined. If you do something to incur a fine, you get fined.

  • ||

    No way. If you lose money gambling or in the stock market, it's the casino's fault or your financial adviser's fault. Why should you be penalized for their malfeasance?

  • some guy||

    Can't it be both our faults?

  • ||

    Sure, but at the most only 10% on your part. How could you know the real risk of placing a futures bet on the Clippers to win the title?

  • Barney The Frank||

    It's all my fault....penalize me!

  • Ice Nine||

    Um, I believe he prefers to be penileized.

  • Erisian||

    Double dipping; it's the American way.

  • Raul||

    This kind of behavior is never tolerated in Boraqua. You shout like that, they put you in jail. Right away. No trial, no nothing. Journalists, we have a special jail for journalists. You’re stealing? Right to jail. You’re playing music too loud? Right to jail, right away. You’re driving to fast? Jail. Slow. Jail. You’re charging too high prices for sweaters, glasses, you right to jail. You undercook fish, believe it or not, jail. You overcook chicken, also jail. Undercook overcook. You make an appointment with the dentist and you don’t show up? Believe it or not, jail, right away. We have the best patients in the world. Because of jail.

  • Edwin||

    "These measures reflect a reflexive urge to regulate even the smallest elements of human behavior"

    THESE measures are like that? Please. There is a genuine risk to the public that actually exists and is not internalized. This is one of the few things that can be legitimately regulated.

    You guys should stick with public smoking bans, trans fat bans, light bulb mandates and the like, where there is clearly no public issue. Oh, wait a minute, that would mean you'd have to actually be reasonable, and then god forbid you might actually start getting elected and getting things done! THE HORROR!

  • Edwin||

    whoops, spoke to soon - didn't read the article - thought it was about bans on texting or phoning while driving

  • some guy||

    Pardon, but your bias is showing.

  • Edwin||

    did I ever say I didn't have a bias?

    the question is whether a bias is representative of something somewhat accurate. And considering you guys think drunk driving should be outright legal, among other ridiculous notions, I'd say it is. Also considering you do NOT believe in no regulations, since you guys constantly point to courts as a remedy for these situations. You wanna take my money to pay for a huge bureacracy of assholes in black robes, and force people in sets of a dozen to leave their job and listen to some stories? I guess you guys are just as much a bunch of AuthoritarianFascists® as everyone else.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    I guess you guys are just as much a bunch of AuthoritarianFascists® as everyone else.


    Which tells me you have NO idea what 'authoritarian' and 'fascism' mean, or entail.

    "When in doubt, attack the person, not the argument."
    Old Statist proverb.

  • Edwin||

    I was mocking the shrill way you guys describe even the tiniest laws, that have even the smallest proscription on one's freedom of action

  • some guy||

    The idea isn't to replace all our politicians and bureaucrats with judges and juries.

    The idea is to get rid of the politicians and bureaucrats and have the existing judges and juries only deal with cases where someone was actually harmed.

    I'll agree that everyone has a bias, but you need to rethink your bias once it starts causing you to spout BS before you've even RTFA.

  • Wesley||

    And considering you guys think drunk driving should be outright legal, among other ridiculous notions, I'd say it is.

    Who thinks that?

  • Edwin||

    countless times I've heard it from libertarians

    here's one article
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/roc.....iving.html

    if you google it you can find another article too, but I'm in too much of a hurry to get it

  • Distracted||

    If it was, you'd still be wrong.

  • Edwin||

    so you have the right to risk serious injury to everyone else, just because you fucking want to text? The text can wait. You can buy the hand-free thingy that goes on your visor for $60, I did.

    Saying you get to risk everyone's else's life and limb just to avoid a minor inconvenience isn't the thinking of someone dedicated to rights, it's the thinking of a sociopath

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    so you have the right to risk serious injury to everyone else, just because you fucking want to text?


    You confuse "risk" with "intent."

    "When in doubt, equivocate."
    Old Statist proverb.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I read comments from people like Max/Edward/whoever all the time and I can't help but always wondering at what point they will ever ask themselves if their proposed or favored bits of nannyism actually work as intended. They never ask, and the laws never do...

    Risking other peoples lives is obviously something we should try to prevent, but by regulating BAC, you shift the focus on an arbitrary number that isn't representative of intoxication for everyone equally - away from focusing on reckless behavior. Banning texting while driving, as Chapman pointed out hasn't stopped anyone from texting, but it has very likely made driving less safe as people now try to hide their behavior and look down more. I will never understand why idiots like Max don't bother to look past the intentions of the laws they demand.

    Who cares if accidents go up, we've banned all the right things!

  • Edwin||

    so because the law isn't theoretically perfect we shouldn't have it? Because it doesn't PERFECTLY address EXACTLY what we're trying to regulate, it's illegitimate? After a certain point, BAC levels come with a very strong likelihood of impairmen. And frankly, the data shows that impairment starts way lower than even the current low legal limit.

    The police DO pull over people who are drunk driving and stop them. Unless you want to deny reality, this saves lives.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Uh... No Arfy, because the law explicitly DOES NOT address the real problems (reckless behavior) and has "unintended" consequences that greatly outweigh the perceived benefits is why we shouldn't have the stupid laws.

    If a law banning texting while driving fails to prevent people from texting while driving AND worse, encourages them to text below their field of vision - the law has made driving less safe, not more.

    As for drunk driving... You're right. Police do pull drunks over and keep them off the road. Good stuff.

    They also pull over people who are not actually drunk or significantly impaired who run the risk of fines, jail, losing their licenses, etc. which then translates into long-term economic damage to themselves & their families, and you don't seem to care about that.

    It's the same argument I have with people about the TSA, about the expansive military state, etc., and it's just boring... The TSA should not have unlimited powers, because while a police state may "save lives", it also seriously damages many times more.

    It's also kind of like talking to psychics. You're only looking at the hits and ignoring the misses. You're only looking at the benefits without considering the costs... Which is pretty much the SOP for most statist idiots.

    If you want to protect people on the road, then the law should be about dangerous driving behaviors, not arbitrary BAC limits, arbitrary but currently unpopular "distractions", and other such idiocy. If you've got kids in the back of the car, they're 10 times the distraction much of the time than talking on a cell phone. If you're trying to put on make up in heavy traffic, your reaction time is easily as slowed as a drunk's. What matters is how you actually drive.

    ARF ARF ARF ARF ARF

  • Edwin||

    we understand the concept of unintended consequences

    we're just not going to buy into one or two random studies that libertarians jump on because it matches their world view, when commons sense and even more studies show the opposite.

  • ||

    Didn't you guys waste enough energy on this troll and his alter ego SM over the weekend?

    Please, please, please don't be his porn.

  • Destrudo||

    We should probably just start ignoring the trolls. Only one or two can even be considered intelligent and informed. Edwin is neither. Some people aren't worth having on your side.

  • Edwin||

    yeahhhhh......

    with the rest of the comments, you guys clearly don't know what you're talking about when it comes to the topic of liability and the court system

    and I quickly exposed your circular logic with "property right"

    no to mention basically all you've got it strawmanning my arguments into absolutist claims. I say I think regulation is a better path compared with the alternatives, you claim that I think regulators are supermen. etc. etc. Is it even possible for you guys to have an honest argument?

  • Strawman||

    "I say I think regulation is a better path compared with the alternatives, you claim that I think regulators are supermen." Speaking of 'strawmanning' arguments...

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Well by all means, Max. Cite away!

  • It's Worse||

    When there is an accident, the government steps in and makes it even worse by rubbing your nose in it with fines and jail time.

  • sevo||

    Edwin|1.31.11 @ 11:41AM|#
    "..so you have the right to risk serious injury to everyone else, just because you fucking want to text?"

    And you claim to have read the article?
    "...a recent study by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDA) found that in three of four states that imposed such bans, auto crashes increased."
    It doesn't WORK, you bozo! I'm tire of new laws so that bozos can feel better about their sorry lives.

  • El Duderino||

    Trolls don't need to read the article, but don't blame them, they learned it by watching daddy govt. not bothering to read a bill. There is a simple reason for this. They have already made up their minds about what they are going to do or say so why waste time reading anything that might challenge their intended end game.

  • Edwin||

    OMG LOOK A STUDY YOU'RE WRONG LOLOLOLO!!!!11!!!

    yeah, there are more studies that show such laws do lower risk

    and however well it does or doesn't work (at worst it lowers accidents by a STATISTICALLY UNMEASURABLE amount - doesn't mean it isn't ACTUALLY lowering accidents/risk), the "freedom" to endanger other people isn't really a freedom*, and administering the law doesn't really cost anything extra to the government coffers

    *in other words, even if you think it inconveniences you, it doesn't violate your rights, because there is no right to endanger other people

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Again... Cite the studies.

  • ||

    Actually, you are wrong when you say it doesn't cost anything extra to the government coffers. I'll assume that you know what opportunity costs are, but I'll give you an example anyway. I was hit by a red-light runner who was most likely drunk. He was doing about 50 mph in a 35 and swerving all over the road. I happend to be going through the green light on my motorcycle at just the wrong moment. The person was never caught. Fast forward about 14 months and I was pulled over because a cop saw a vehicle with a similar description as my vehicle speeding. I was found completely innocent, but still spent a couple thousand on a lawyer. It took about 3 hours of 2 officers time to drag me through the "DUI Process", not to mention the time the officer spent in court. That is at least 6 man hours a cop could be out catching people who are actually hurting people. The more officers you have on the street picking up people who haven't actually harmed anybody, the less officers you have on the street to pursue people who have already harmed someone. Not to mention the problems with selective enforcement (which was the case with the cop that arrested me; He didn't like the fact that I envoked my right to not incriminate myself and treated me accordingly.)

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    This is one of the few things that can be legitimately regulated.


    "Few"?

    You just won the "Head In Sand" award.

  • El Duderino||

    LOL, I would love to see anyone actually enforce this. 99 out of 100 times I have crossed a street, there was absolutely no police presence there to enforce the law and if there was, I would just put the phone in my pocket and finish my message when I get away from them. This is the same reason why pot dealers do not sell right outside of the police station . . . err except for your occasional crackhead dealer who ends up on Americas Dumbest Criminals.

  • ||

    Welcome to our world.

    Now that you realize what's wrong with this one rule they are trying to push, you'll know why we think 90% of the rest of the rules are bollocks. We just set our standards of personal responsibility a bit higher.

  • Edwin||

    so because one rule is stupid all rules are stupid? Right. Got it.

    Freggin' political geniuses here...

  • sarcasmic||

    90% != all rules

    holy crap you're dumb

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    so because one rule [created by Statist fucks] is stupid all rules [created by Statist fucks] are stupid?


    You got it... Statist.

  • Edwin||

    So can I start living in your house?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    So can I start living in your house?


    Try it... you will certainly be welcomed by my two friends: Smith, and Wesson.

  • Edwin||

    Really? I guess you do believe in the initiation of force after all

  • Edwin||

    also, rules

  • sevo||

    Edwin|1.31.11 @ 12:06PM|#
    "Really? I guess you do believe in the initiation of force after all"

    You think you'd get into my house without using force?

  • sarcasmic||

    Edwin, you would be the initiator of force by entering without leave.

    also, no government imposed rules does not mean an absence of rules.

    Tell me, if I said I don't want the government to raise grain would you conclude that I do not want anyone to eat bread?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    Really? I guess you do believe in the initiation of force after all[.]


    If you enter my house, you're the one initiating force, written rules or not.

    If you are a person who needs written rules to know what is good and what is evil [that is, instead of using REASON], then the REST OF THE HUMAN POPULATION needs to be armed to defend ourselves from the likes of YOU, as you would show to be deranged.

  • sarcasmic||

    "If you are a person who needs written rules to know what is good and what is evil [that is, instead of using REASON], then the REST OF THE HUMAN POPULATION needs to be armed to defend ourselves from the likes of YOU, as you would show to be deranged."

    I think you nailed it.

  • Edwin||

    If you and no one else is at your house, I could go to your house with some tools, get in, change the locks and doors, and then you could never get in. For like $5,000 (gotta buy some nice security doors) I could get a bunch of handy mexican laborers into your house and they could manipulate your house and occupy it like their own. I might be inclined to do that for that price, those guys work hard, and they already live in large groups. They could use a free house.

    None of this would involve any initiation of violence against any person. If you tried to get in and shoot them, YOU'D be the one intiating violence.
    All they'd have to do is have at least one or two guys in their at all times to keep the locks locked.

  • sarcasmic||

    "If you and no one else is at your house, I could go to your house with some tools, get force my way in, change the locks and doors, and then you could never get in."

    You are the initiator of force. Not against his person, but against his property.

    And he has every moral right to respond with force.

  • Edwin||

    yes, but then HE initiated force against me

    all I did was manipulate some objects

    you can't re-define words. You guys are just as "violent" as anyone else, you just have a ridiculously impractical standard of when people get to use it. And frankly it borders on impossible/vague; libertarians frequently hand-wave away the problem of WHO GETS TO DECIDE whether someone has the right to do something.

    I was having a discussion once with a libertarian on child consent laws, and he said that below a certain age, a child can't consent to sex. When I asked how that would be determined or what that age is, all I got was "people will do what they do". That isn't an answer. And not to mention that same guy was an anarchist and held that any group of people could create their own protection agency and could follow their own idea of rights. So what the hell do you think is going to happen when NAMBLA gets together and makes it's own mini-country/protection agency?

  • Edwin||

    the only true NAP position is that you can only defend yourself from attack and harm

    Why the hell do you thing so many absolute pacifists are socialists (also anarchists, but still socialist)?

  • sarcasmic||

    "yes, but then HE initiated force against me

    all I did was manipulate some objects"

    You violated his right to property, which gives him a moral right to respond with force.

    The rest of your post is inane.

  • Edwin||

    OK, so then WHY does he have the right to own property, and thus initiate force against me?

    If your reason is that you're "against the initiation of force", you're using circular logic.

  • sarcasmic||

    If he labors to produce something, doesn't he have the right to keep and defend it?

    Is your taking away the product of his labor not an assault on his life, for a portion of his life was devoted to producing the value required to acquire that property?

    Does he not have the moral right to respond to your assault on his life with force?

  • sarcasmic||

    Edwin - you keep responding with 'says who? says who?'.

    You are in a constant appeal to authority.

    'how can there be no rules if they're not imposed from authority?'

    'how can he have a right to property without some authority saying so?'

    Does two plus two equal four because some authority says so, and would the sum be different if some authority said so?

    At some point you need to use your own mind.

    Until then.... c-ya!

  • Edwin||

    you didn't answer my question

    because you can't

    because property rights can only be a premise

    and it would still involve the initiation of force. But if you accept the premise you see that as legitimate. But it's still the initiation of force.

  • Edwin||

    If you're going to tell me, as one anarchist did, that not only does no one have the right to set up a government, but that no one's even allowed to impose his ideas on the specific details of libertarian/anarchist theory, then literally you've described a system of no rules; you've jumped out of political philosophy. All that a system like that would do is allow you to describe whether someone had the right to do this or that, it would be solely epistomelgocial (or whatever, I don't know which exact term) and descriptive.
    Which still leaves open the question of how men can legitimately govern themselves.

  • sarcasmic||

    I am asking you to learn, but you only know how to be taught.

    pathetic

  • Edwin||

    you've not actually described how I'm wrong with what I've said

    you know your opposition has run out of steam when all it can do is throw out vague, meaningless platitudes

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm out of steam because no amount of logic can battle a fallacy.

    All you've got is fallacies, but if you refuse to see them then there's nothing I can do about it.

    Since a fallacy is by definition illogical, then there is no logical discussion to be had with you.

  • Edwin||

    OK... what fallacy? Which of my points is wrong?

    Your guys' arguments are so stupid they don't even have fallacies for them. "Enforcing property rights isn't initiating violence because I have defined initiating violence as initiating harm against a person or deliberately damaging or stealing his property."
    Yeah, you can't re-define words and then it all of a sudden changes reality.
    I could define the moon as cheese and then I'd be "correct" in saying the moon is made of cheese. Wouldn't reflect reality.

  • fake Edwin||

    I once had a conversation with a guy who called himself a libertarian.
    He said something patently foolish.
    Ergo, all libertarians are fools.
    I crown myself King of Geniuses and Pope of Logic.

  • El Duderino||

    Did you or any of your Mexican friends PAY for the house? Do you think the people who built it should build houses for free?

    You are pro-slavery.

  • El Duderino||

    Please explain how slavery isn't violent.

  • Edwin||

    Why don't you go back and read the comments more thoroughly?

  • El Duderino||

    Yes, you are just going to enter the home without using force. I get it, but the owner of the home works to pay for the house. You are taking something he has worked for. How is that not slavery. How is slavery not violent?

  • ||

    "no to mention basically all you've got it strawmanning my arguments into absolutist claims."
    -Edwin (1.31.11 @ 2:19pm in this thread)

  • ||

    I definitely agree. Less regulation, not more. It should be legal to kick wandering iPhoners inna fork.

  • Edwin||

    depends on what you mean by regulation. As someone who's been in the process of creating things and running a business, I'd much rather face a bunch of annoying paperwork and a slower work pace (waiting for inspections), than face 12 people who were too stupid to get out of jury duty and some fucking huckster lawyer, and the endless he-said she-said and emotionalism and unpredictability that comes with it.

  • sarcasmic||

    How many frivolous lawsuits do you think there would be if we had a 'loser pays' rule in this country?

  • Edwin||

    HOLY SHIT. A USEFUL, REASONABLE proposal from a libertarian. I think the space-time continuum just ripped.

    You actually looked at actual reality, took into account trade offs and what might actually be accomplished/could get passed, looked at the moral aspect from a utilitarian and not purely moral angle, and made a reasonable recommendation

    if only you guys could do that more often

  • Destrudo||

    Actually this is an awful idea. The potential cost of taking on any wealthy company or individual and losing will be so prohibitive for anyone with limited means that justified cases that should be persued will never have that chance. Use your f*#cking brain.

  • sarcasmic||

    Under the current system someone can initiate a lawsuit that they know they will lose in court, yet still "win" a hefty settlement because it is cheaper for the wealthy company to pay them off than to take on the legal costs of defending themselves in court.

  • El Duderino||

    Also, loser pays need not encompass all expenses involved down to lawyer fees. All it needs to cover are those costs absolutely necessary to prosecute the case, which would have to be both proven necessary and not simply expedient or beneficial. Basically companies cannot over lawyer the case for the sake of pressuring the other party from going forward with a case. That said, I am certain there could be a robust lawsuit insurance industry that would evolve from this sort of rule and the insurers would also help to prevent lawsuit abuse through their own risk analysis and underwriting standards.

    Of course there is an easy answer to this. Do your homework before buying a product or service. Know the risks involved with your use of a product or service. Find out if the company or entity you intend to do business with is reliable and trustworthy. This is increasingly difficult for consumers to do because so many people trust regulatory agencies to "look out for them", this creates a false sense of security. We need more journalists doing honest investigations, more private rating agencies doing more objective reviews, more private auditors doing more objective audits. I would gladly pay a private auditing firm to tell me if a particular company is trustworthy rather than trust the govt. I am sure most companies would want to be audited or reviewed by the best firms because if they are not audited by these firms, they would not be seen as transparent and people would be rightfully reluctant to do business with those firms. Not that these things do not exist, its just that far too many people don't bother to look beyond the surface of the product or service they are buying because they trust the govt. to do it for them.

    Sorry, I went on a slight tangent and it didn't end with anything that had to do with the article.

  • Edwin||

    "Of course there is an easy answer to this. Do your homework before buying a product or service"

    Again, this won't solve the litigation problem. You can't sign away your right to sue for damages/liability. If you COULD then you might have a point, but you CAN'T under common law.
    Now who's for a huge bloated government bureaucracy? Why should it all of a sudden matter just because this particular bureaucracy is called "courts"?

  • El Duderino||

    Dont be a dumbass. Over litigation is a social issue that stems from a system that makes it easy and an overwhelming tangle of bureaucracy that gives people a litany of ways to nit pick every single commercial interaction. Burnt your dumb ass by spilling coffee on yourself? Thats okay, sue McDonalds for failing to properly label its cups to remind you that your coffee is hot and then find some bullshit code that suggests coffee be served at a specific temperature and try to prove that they served it a few degrees warmer. Bingo, your a millionaire over night!

    All I am saying is that people need to take responsibility for their own transactions. Frivolous lawsuits are not the same as substantive lawsuits for the very reason that they are brought by people who feel as if they got burned somehow and want retribution, when in reality, the defendant in their lawsuit did nothing wrong. If you want to avoid getting a raw deal, make sure you are taking the time to actually investigate every aspect of the deal you are about to make.

    I once worked for a major cell phone carrier in the late 90's. When you sign a contract, it clearly states that you will pay a $175 early termination fee, yet every other mother fucker I spoke to on the phone seemed to be absolutely unaware of that fee despite the fact that they signed their fucking name not three inches away from that disclaimer. People feel like their fucking entitled to shit and that they have a right to sue everyone under the sun because there are supposedly all of these great rules governing every conceivable transaction. They think that the rules are meant to be their leverage, their ace in the hole should the deal not turn out as sweet as they imagined it would. My point is, if we get rid of all the stupid rules and find only keep the very very few important ones, then people will have to protect themselves and take greater care when making any kind of a deal. Ask yourself, if there were no lemon law, would you ask the car dealer more or less questions about the car before buying it? Would you insist on taking the car to an independent mechanic before buying the car if there were no lemon law? Remember, you are the only one who can decide to buy that car, nobody can force you to buy it. If you think the car is no good, look deeper. If people started questioning things more before buying them, the people making and selling the products will be more inclined to make a better product that will stand up to the scrutiny of millions of picky buyers, rather than the scrutiny of a few government inspectors. My car example is actually not a great example because the auto industry has a reasonably robust ratings industry, but even those ratings companies (Car and Driver, JD Power etc...) are not as robust as they could be.

    If there were no such regulation that required hot beverages to be labeled as such, then people would just have to use common sense. Do they now have to start labeling roads to say "caution automotive traffic is deadly cross at your own risk"? Even fucking squirrels understand this, they are just not smart enough not to know which way to run when a car gets too close.

  • Destrudo||

    I also like the fact that you contrasted utilitarian with moral. Your confusion caused you to accidently say something wise. They certainly are incompatible.

  • Edwin||

    Why? Why can't I consider utility, and the practicality of a situation when consdiering it's morality?
    If the consequences of a proposition will obviously be disastrous, and I can even point to previous history showing it, why doesn't utility matter? Half the stuff you Libertarians (anarchists) is insanely ridiculous.
    And how about getting it passed? If your proposal is so out there, then all you will end up doing is bitiching. Why doesn't actually DOING something for the better matter?

  • sarcasmic||

    "Half the stuff you Libertarians (anarchists) is insanely ridiculous."

    limited government != no government

    lack of regulation != no rules

    What separates us from you is that we have a sense of right and wrong.

    You do not.

  • Edwin||

    yeah, but your buds here ARE arguing for no government, and often even no rules

    I think maybe you're not a Libertarian, and that would be a good thing. I'm very small-l libertarian leaning, but I'm far too reasonable, and I understand the limitations of philosophy and logic, to be a Libertarian.

  • sarcasmic||

    "yeah, but your buds here ARE arguing for no government, and often even no rules"

    Uhhh, no?

    Saying that government has no business in something is not an argument in favor of no government.

    Saying that we do not need government imposed regulation is not the same as arguing in favor of no rules.

    If you can't tell the difference there's something seriously wrong with you.

  • Edwin||

    fuck you

    I can tell the difference, but that isn't what your buddies argue for.
    Again, see my post above. Libertarians frequently hand-wave away who gets to decide who has the right to do what. And freqeuntly ignore their own proposed rules.

  • sarcasmic||

    "I can tell the difference, but that isn't what your buddies argue for."

    Alright. I'll write you off into the "don't get it" category.

    Have a nice day!

  • Edwin||

    No, I get it. you're just projecting onto Libertarianism what you wish it was

    Whereas I've actually done extensive research into actual libertarians, and my descriptions are apt

  • sarcasmic||

    Now I'm not a true libertarian because I don't fit what you say a libertarian is.

    Did you graduate from college with a degree in logical fallacies?

    False dichotomy, straw man, appeal to authority, and now no true Scotsman.

    You're a pro!

  • Edwin||

    strawman

    I'm only describing tendencies, not definitions. But once such an overwhelming number of people believe a certain way or thing in a movement, or that's the only public face the movement has, then it's better to refer to only those who adhere to those more specific ideas by the original name.
    And then to use a euphemistic version of the original term to describe people who follow the philosophy more loosely.

    Hence, I'm conservative with very small-l libertarian tendencies, or what one might call a South Park Republican, and the countless crazy fucks who tell me things like they have the right to murder a kid who crosses their lawn, or they have the right to fuck little kids, or that murdering federal agents is morally defensible, are Libertarians.

  • Edwin||

    this makes the relevant terms more useful and meaningful/specific

  • fake Edwin||

    I'm small-l libertarian.
    Also, a small-c Castrati.

  • El Duderino||

    Utility: The quality or condition of being useful; usefulness.

    Here is a brief study in utility. Making a rule may force some to adhere to the rule and that rule may well make for greater safety while crossing the street. The rule has to be enforced. To enforce the rule, you impose economic penalties, such as a fine. The fine must be collected for the penalty to have any UTILITY. If the fee is not paid, it must be extracted. To extract the fine you must extract it from a pay check or banking account. If this fails, you must arrest the party. To arrest the person, you must use violence. It goes without saying that virtually any situation can be dangerous. Hell, crossing certain streets regardless of whether or not you are texting is dangerous. How far do we go making rules to make everyone safe. Awe fuckit, lets just encase everyone in a plastic bubble with feeding tubes and excrement holes and then we can put all of these people filled balls into a massive foam structure for added safety. They all have to exercise for 4 hours a day, to prevent obesity. Nobody will be taught anything that might be used to facilitate an escape from the bubble room. . . for their own safety. People will also be forbidden from getting upset or making any sort of ruckus about the situation because this might inspire some sort of escape from the bubble box.

    Awe fuckit, this is too complicated. Why don't we just euthanize all of humanity, that is the safest thing to do. You cant hurt yourself or anyone else if you do not exist. More abortions thats the answer! Thats what China does and they are just fucking spectacular!

    On the other hand, people could just learn, perhaps the hard way that crossing the street while texting is not a very good idea. And those that do not learn will perish and their stupidity carrying genes will be less likely to proliferate.

  • Edwin||

    didn't read this last one too thoroughly, but it seems like you're saying using the tired old "utility can mean anything - anything can be more utilitarian. Therefore it's going to lead to TYRANNY!!!111!!!"

    Yeah, more tired libertarian bullshit. There's clearly a limit in terms of maximizing any one of your goals because of trade-offs. As Thomas Sowell says, 25 mph speed limits everywhere would make everyone safer, but it clearly wouldn't be worth it.
    The problem is libertarians don't recognize the trade off - only freedom of action matters to you guys. That's just as bad as going all the way the other way into over-safety and 25mph speed limits everywhere. Even state-loving liberals recognize a trade-off.

    And really, is it really going to lead into tyranny? Is basic recognition of these trade offs really going to lead to forced abortions* and mandated exercises? Especially when we already have strong civil rights and property protections ingrained in our constitution and common law?

    *I'm guessing you'd be stupid enough to point to a few instances in China. Yeah... That's why China is scolded by everyone including the state-loving liberals for its human rights abuses. Their one-child policy has nothing to do with any real practical problems (one billion people sounds like a lot, but it isn't for China's size) they have but more a form of political control, which their brutal regime wants.

  • El Duderino||

    Utility is an excuse everyone uses to create rules THEY THINK are good for everyone else.

    There are two issues here, public safety and personal safety. Public safety is important, but lets get some perspective on what this is. Public safety is preventing harm to others AKA the public. If I am driving in a manner that is easily documented as being reckless, I am putting others in harms way and should be stopped. It really should not matter WHY I am driving recklessly, just that I am driving recklessly. Making rules about texting while driving and drinking and driving are useless if you have rules against driving recklessly. You cannot always prove that I was driving drunk or texting, but if you have video or witness evidence that I was driving recklessly, why not just make that the crime rather than make a big deal about BAC or whether or not my phone was in hand.

    Personal safety covers activities that could be injurious to me as an individual. Texting while walking across the street is probably not a safe thing to do, but since it is my goddamn life, I can take any goddamn risk I want with it. Why should texting while crossing a street be banned, while skiing, sky diving, bungee jumping and rock climbing be perfectly okay. If I cause a three car accident because I was crossing the street carelessly, which is now a public safety issue, then it doesnt matter if I was texting, eating an ice cream cone, or playing with my tallywacker, I was not being careful and as a result, i caused an accident. It doesnt matter WHY I was being reckless, all they have to say is he was not paying attention because he was playing with his tallywacker and he caused an accident. There are literally an infinite array of distractions that could cause one to be distracted while crossing the street. I have seen tits that would cause a mid air collision from 30k feet up, we are not going to ban sexy tits because of it are we?

  • Edwin||

    dude, tl;dr

    utilitarianism isn't going to lead tyranny when a) we have strong constitutional and common law protections on civil and property rights b)people don't view the issue any one law as meaning that the government should have absolute regulatory power c) people view a certain level of regulation as unreasonable

    end of story
    that's the only thing I'm talking about

  • El Duderino||

    Constitutional and common law protections mean absolutely shit when laws are passed that defy individual liberty. How is making rules about crossing the street while listening to an iPod in any way protecting civil rights. Like I said, any action can be deemed dangerous to any number of the governments goals to "protect" everyone. Do fat people add to the burden of health care? Sure they do and because the state thinks it is unhealthy to be obese, probably more unhealthy than crossing the street while texting depending on where you live, why shouldn't the government mandate exercise? Do you think there is any possibility that a persons civil rights might be tarnished if the government FORCED them to exercise? Do you think there would be any harm to civil rights if the government FORCED you to put away your phone while crossing the street? You see, the problem is not that there is no rule protecting us from harm, its that we have stupid people who do not know better than to cross the street while texting.

    b)people don't view the issue any one law as meaning that the government should have absolute regulatory power

    I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that you are saying that just because there is a law concerning an issue that the government has absolute regulatory authority. To this I say be careful what you believe. Nobody from the government is ever going to proclaim absolute regulatory authority, at least nobody that is sane, but every time the government tries to fix an issue, it does it through regulation. The longer we tolerate regulation, the more they will be inclined to do it because they think that we need it and that we want it. Consider this, asking the government to regulate something is like a kid asking for a pony for Christmas. At first the pony is cute and fun, but it only takes a day or so to find out how large its shit is and how often it needs to be cleaned up. Then you have to feed it, a pony is no kitty cat, it eats more food than most normal people can afford and it also needs a stable. Soon the pony is one big expense that does nothing but eat all sorts of food and shit it out on your lawn, but every once and a while, little Sally or little Timmy gets to enjoy riding the pony and this is fun until they hit puberty at which point they are into sex, drugs and rock n' roll. If little Timmy or Little Sally like ponies so much why not just take them to the fucking petting zoo. My point here is government regulation needs to be enforced, but government enforcement is no subtle thing. Also, is it not a right to live and move about the country freely without undue harassment from the law? How far are we willing to let the government control what we do as individuals?

    I know texting while crossing the street isn't exactly a major civil rights concern for some people, but if you believe that individuals have liberty, then all the government should be allowed to do to protect that liberty is prevent others from violating it. Individual freedom includes risking getting hit by a bus while crossing the street. If the cops have to step in and manage that situation, then what dont they think they have to manage?

    I like your point "c" people view a certain level of regulation as unreasonable. You may be on to something here, however, I would say we have passed that threshold a long time ago.

  • Edwin||

    You've got to ask yourself, do you want a nation of laws, or a nation of men.
    It seems to me where de-regulation would be replaced by courts, you'd be shifting towards a nation of men. Right now, building codes are written by the ICC, which is a professional organization, made up of people from construction and engineering. For any one instance when I build something, whether I built it properly or negligently is based on whether I followed that code. The benefit here is I know exactly how to build and what to expect. If such issues were decided by courts only, the decision would be in the hands of judges and jurors who are NOT professionals in the industry. I also would not know what to expect from my actions. I could build something I believe is sound and then it could turn out I would have to pay my customer damages anyway (and BTW, this would be the case even if nothing happens to his house - the way it is nowadays they can just complain and sue even if nothing's happened and win - hell even if THEY caused the damage. At the very least they could leave me with tons of lawyer bills)
    Not to mention that more and more it's coming out that courts are widely corrupt. It's one of the easiest places to bribe someone. And sure, code writers and lawmakers are also susceptible to rent-seekimg - but because they're writing for everyone, there's only so much that they can write down and get away with. They can be swayed to give this or that industry a little kickback in the form of a statute, but it would be a small change in one statute. There would be some small change I'd have to do from then on in my house building method. But If you bribe a judge or a juror, that's his entire decision that you've bought. His absolute power of my money and in some cases in my life and limb.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    You've got to ask yourself, do you want a nation of laws, or a nation of men.


    "False dichotomies!
    False dichotomies!
    Come together
    In all Statist Arguments!
    This, I tell you brother
    You can have one without the other!"

    It seems to me where de-regulation would be replaced by courts, you'd be shifting towards a nation of men.


    Equivocation, Will Robinson! Equivocation!

    Right now, building codes are written by the ICC, which is a professional organization, made up of people from construction and engineering.


    All hail the infallible and omniscient Supermen!

    If such issues were decided by courts only, the decision would be in the hands of judges and jurors who are NOT professionals in the industry.


    Only perfect beings are to rule over us!

    I also would not know what to expect from my actions.


    Don't live or stay near this guy! He cannot know what to expect from his actions!

    Don't say you weren't warned!!

    I could build something I believe is sound and then it could turn out I would have to pay my customer damages anyway[...]


    Which you would simply pay without a fight... right?

    I mean, YOU said it... Courts are made of simple and fallible folk... Not SUPERMEN, like the ones that populate the I.C.C.

  • Edwin||

    I never said the ICC are infallible supermen. Now who's throwing out false dichotomies?

    and I like how you completely ignore the importance of before-hand knowledge of the legality of one's actions. I guess the whole Magna Carta thing is overhyped, right?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    I never said the ICC are infallible supermen. Now who's throwing out false dichotomies?


    Yet you said courts are manned by simple, fallible folk, and argued against leaving liability decisions to them. So who's being disingenuous NOW, Edwin?

    and I like how you completely ignore the importance of before-hand knowledge of the legality of one's actions.


    If all you need is the previous experience, why would you need codes at all? I am not being facetious, I believe you just answered yourself: PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE serves as guide. So why would you need the ICC for?

    I guess the whole Magna Carta thing is overhyped, right?


    Have you read it??

  • Edwin||

    Yeah, and groups of professionals are BETTER. Not to mention that the regulation route is open to popular vote, either through direct democracy or through representatrives. A "jury" of all the voters is better than just 12 of them.

    --

    and that's the problem, isn't it. Different jurisdictions would have different precedents. And some might be so specific it might be hard to know whether they apply to what you're doing right now. It could end up being hard to keep track of. And some things might not yet have precedents.
    Not to mention that in your proposition that you implicitly admit that for each precedent, there would be a fall guy, some builder who got screwed who couldn't have predicted it.
    The regulation path avoids these vagueries.

    But what I've got to ask is why you're arguing so vehemently against what I'm saying. If you're conceding to a court system, you're conceding to the use of force in dispute resolution and human matters in general. The only question is the manner in which it is decided to be used when.
    In other words, if you believe in courts, you believe in force just as much as I do.

  • Edwin||

    also, strawman

    My entire point is about the pros/cons of each enforcement mechanism. They're both fallible, but one is much better in very important ways

  • sevo||

    "They're both fallible, but one is much better in very important ways"

    You're right, and it's not the one you're betting on.

  • Edwin||

    yes it is - because it's better from the aspect I pointed out - knowability and predictability.
    Businesses don't thrive on some libertarians' esoteric notion of freedom, they thrive on consistency. If businessmen don't know how their actions will be treated under the law, it becomes risky for them to make investments.
    Now who's suppressing capitalism?

  • Edwin||

    Why the hell do you think these regulations get passed? We in the businesses LOBBY FOR THEM because they're BETTER THAN COURTS. Yes, it is rent seeking when it's professional licensing, but the other regulations do make sense.
    I remember in my realtors' class how our broker was very pleased that the regulations for realtors' is specifically designed to avoid courts.

    It's a utopian libertarian platitude to refer to courts handling disputes, but courts can be brutal. We recently wanted to rent out a house, but our lawyer recommended AGAINST IT because if a person doesn't pay it could take up to 16 MONTHS to kick him out because of the courts.

  • nekoxgirl||

    Well at least you are admitting that regulations actually are to the benefit of the businesses they supposedly regulate.

    Can't count the number of times I've wanted to strangle a liberal for saying the support some regulation so they could stick it to TEH CORPORATIONS!

  • Edwin||

    Well, I'd say professional licensing tends to be more rent-seeking-driven

    my main concern, as I keep mentioning, is knowability of the law beforehand. The thought of being subject to the whims of other people terrifies me. And no, regulations don't also do that - the judges job is to uphold the law as written, whene there is a law that applies. It's only with the somewhat vague wording of the constitution that they can screw with the words - on the local, building and health level, the codes are pretty specific.

    regulations, generally, don't really "help" or "hurt" any one business per se, because they apply to every business equally, so no one business gets a leg up over another. We all still compete equally. The problem is regulations can hurt the economy/market OVERALL, and affect people strongly on a systematic basis. Hey, just look at our current economic downturn.

  • nekoxgirl||

    Actually regulations tend to hurt smaller businesses more than larger business. Assuming the regulations are written in a fair way (which they often aren't thanks to successful lobbying by the larger companies). It costs the smaller business a greater portion of their income to comply compared to the larger business. This makes it more likely the smaller business will go under, thus freeing up customers for the larger company.

  • Edwin||

    "Actually regulations tend to hurt smaller businesses more than larger business"

    Agreed. I'd say this is more of a problem on the federal level with banking and taxes and other stuff.

    though, you know what's weird... now that I think about it, a smaller business might be better equipped to deal with the lower-level local regulations. Of course, not on the money aspect of it, but with the paperwork. I work in a small fmaily business and seems to me we must be having an easier time keep track of all the copies of plans and permits and stuff than the big corporate guys like Hovnanian and Centex. Then again, they probably have th money to rent/build/buy nice roomy storage spaces for easy filing and make plenty of copies. Hell, they can buy their own printer (the big plan printers).
    Actually, we have one too, but it's years old, and I don't thnk we remember how to use it.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    We in the businesses LOBBY FOR THEM because they're BETTER THAN COURTS.


    That would be your opinion. Better compared to what? For whom?

    Yes, it is rent seeking when it's professional licensing, but the other regulations do make sense.


    Again - opinion. Make sense according to whom? You? Tell me who made YOU the measure of all things.

    It's a utopian libertarian platitude to refer to courts handling disputes, but courts can be brutal.


    They can also handle specific, diverse situations on a case-by-case basis, instead of HOBBLING the REST OF US with a one-size-fits-all solution from the experten you're so fond of.

  • Edwin||

    acoording to the standard I had already set forth - knowability of the law

    try actually reading and understanding people's posts

    and yes, that is the con of regulation, that it's less case-by-case
    I never denied that. That's what I've been talking about
    I'M TELLING YOU, THAT IN OUR CURRENT LITIGIOUS AND RIDICULOUS LIABILITY SCHEME, I OFTEN PREFER THE REGULATION PATH RATHER THAN THE COURT PATH OF LIABILITY AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION

    Maybe you disagree. But you know the one thing that's true? Neither of our opinions are ABSOLUTELY TRUE and written into the fabric of existence. I actually think we disagree, as opposed to asserting that I'm right and there can be no argument.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Edwin,

    acoording to the standard I had already set forth - knowability of the law


    This reply has NOTHING to do with the question I posited, it is purely circular thinking: We in the businesses LOBBY FOR THEM because they're BETTER THAN COURTS, and they are better than courst because we have knowledge of the law.

    That is: it is good because we know it is good.

    I'M TELLING YOU, THAT IN OUR CURRENT LITIGIOUS AND RIDICULOUS LIABILITY SCHEME, I OFTEN PREFER THE REGULATION PATH RATHER THAN THE COURT PATH OF LIABILITY AND DISPUTE RESOLUTION


    And I am telling you: You have not thought this through. Can't you think that regulation breeds LITIGATION, and not the other way around.

    And, you know what else regulation breeds?
    COMPLACENCY.

  • Edwin||

    OK... Now I just don't know what you're talking about. I've already shown you here and in comments below that regulation lessens and is specifically designed to lessen use of the courts.
    Really I don't understand this last comment of yours.

  • sarcasmic||

    The argument against rules in the form of government imposed regulations backed by threat of force is not an argument against any rules at all.

    In a libertarian world there would be competition among code writing organizations. Builders would choose to join these organizations or not. Customers would have the choice of choosing a builder that adheres to their favorite set of rules, or none at all.
    Contracts would be set up based upon the builder following that organization's codes, and failure to do so would be reason to go to court.

    Rules without government regulation!

    Freedom of choice!

    Amazing!

  • Edwin||

    Except that as soon as it hits the court system, something WILL be imposed on people by FORCE.
    So, what, some guy spends like $400,000 to start a code and inspection company, and then loses all his business because his code is found by the courts to constitute negligent or insufficiently strong building?

  • Edwin||

    If there are courts to resolve claims of negligence, property damage, etc. then there IS force.

  • sarcasmic||

    If the builder followed the agreed upon codes to the letter, and that is what was stipulated in the contract, then there's nothing to sue about.

    Though word would quickly get out that that code organization sucks, and they'd need to revise their codes quickly. The builder, if he didn't voluntarily do something to help out the customer, would quickly get a reputation as an ass clown and would have trouble finding customers.

    No force necessary.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Except that as soon as it hits the court system, something WILL be imposed on people by FORCE."

    Why? We're only talking about breach of contract.

    "So, what, some guy spends like $400,000 to start a code and inspection company, and then loses all his business because his code is found by the courts to constitute negligent or insufficiently strong building?"

    That's not his problem as long as both parties voluntarily agreed to the contract.

  • Edwin||

    Problem is, that's not the way our court system works. You can still be liable even if you only promise to build according to a certain standard. The agreement doesn't supercede liability.

    To do what you're talking about, you'd have to supercede common law itself.

  • Edwin||

    and yes, that goes for our current code system too. So yes, I am admitting that even our current system of having a code doesn't offer complete protection. But it helps a LOT - it is widely recognized in the courts.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Problem is, that's not the way our court system works."

    When did I say our court system would remain unchanged?

    Didn't I already propose 'loser pays'?

  • Edwin||

    even with loser pays,

    again, you'd have to supercede common law itself
    If you're telling me that's what your proposing, your proposal is HUGE and better be fucking detailed. I need to see 1,000 pages citing our 200+ years of case law. MAYBE Cato institute could do it.
    Also, you're not likely to get it actually done in our society.

    I WOULD suggest that they could legislate that "Any builder is only liable up to the standards of the code he contracts to", but believe it or not that might not even do anything. Our legislature doesn't CONTROL the courts. They recognize the right of the legislature to legislate, but only up to a certain point (and that certain point isn't just the Bill of Rights). It's happened before where a law says one thing but courts rule another way in spite of it, and NOT having to do with constitutional protections.

  • Edwin||

    by "even with loser pays" I meant that liability would still be there

  • sarcasmic||

    The problem with case law is that it assumes that all previous court decisions were correct, which is why I think the whole concept is incredibly stupid, not to mention arrogant.

  • Edwin||

    but it lends consistency - it was how "laws" were written before there were laws. If we are to have rules (like, let's say, all people have to recognize other people's property rights), then there has to be a way for them to be made and dealt with. And when a decision is reached, it does make sense to follow it and use it in other situations that are fundamentally the same in terms of property and agreements. It's just a natural thing that came about on that cloudy big island way back when.

    Hell, the entirety of common law is just a "tradition". There are no rules saying judges HAVE TO follow it. And like I said, they have even superceded the legislature sometimes. If he wanted to, a judge could order both plaintiff and defendant to ride elephants painted pink as a "resolution". His decision would ultimately be overturned and he be commited (and removed as judge by some member of the relevant local legislature/executive), but there's noting that says he can't. That they generally DON'T do crazy things is incidental to their actual power; each judge can still come up with his own precedents and overturn previous ones.

  • Edwin||

    not that I necessarily agree with such a system, but changing it would be hard.

  • El Duderino||

    Case law and the use of precedent is lazy law. Now, I am not a fan of having a million and a half laws out there regulating every conceivable action or event, but there are some laws that are good and those laws respect the principals of the constitution. Laws against fraud for example are good because for most part, they require some kind of contractual agreement from which to determine fraudulent action. That said, certain regulations make it easy for lawsuit abuse. I think that you should be able to enter any contract with anybody as long as the contract doesnt force you to violate the law or violate other contractual obligations. Courts don't need rules or even precedent to figure out if a contract has been violated, they just need the contract and the evidence of breach.

    Precedent has the nasty side effect of becoming unwritten law because stupid lawyers and judges follow them blindly.

  • Edwin||

    "Case law and the use of precedent is lazy law"

    it's the fundamental basis of common law. If you're saying we should overturn our entire system of judiciary, fine, and good luck with that

    But I've been telling you how the law actually is and the limitations created therefrom

  • El Duderino||

    Just because the law "is" a certain way, doesnt make it a good way.

    Just because it is difficult to change how law is prosecuted doesn't mean it is not the right thing to do.

    We have a constitution to provide a framework for creating laws. Case law and precedents are not LAWS, they are INTERPRETATIONS of laws. If one jackoff judge gets it wrong why should every other judge after him have to be beholden to that retarded decision. All I am saying is cases should be tried on their own. Case law and precedent should not be a factor, only interpretation of the law as it applies in the context of the case should matter. There is nothing wrong with studying case law and precedent, but these things should not be the basis for a decision as often as they are.

    Precedent is like that game kids play called telephone. Each case that builds on the precedent adds a slightly different flavor to the interpretation. Rather than do the hard work of figuring out just how the law should be interpreted for the specific case at hand, the prosecutors will pick the precedent that most closely tastes like the one they prosecuting and present it to the judge. The judge is a busy man and doesn't have the time to do a more careful consideration so he allows it and the jury takes that precedent and treats it as if it were the law. If the judge had to disallow the use of precedent in the hearing, the jury would not be be considering the precedent, they would be considering the law.

  • ||

    "Right now, building codes are written by the ICC, which is a professional organization, made up of people from construction and engineering".

    Of course, those same contractors tend to draft the codes so that they benefit them. For example, the insurance industry has pushed for hail resistent roofs in hail prone areas. ICC pushes back, using cost to the consumer. But their real concern is that there won't be as many roofs for them to replace if they stand up to hail.

  • Edwin||

    Yes, indeed

    governance is a complex thing

    and there are no clear answers
    But there are goals and preferences and limitations and possibilities

  • Edwin||

    and rent seeking

  • ||

    I see your point. It's just that when some idiot runs into me on the sidewalk because he's gazing into his Device instead of maintaining situational awareness, I'd really like to have the legal option of kneeing him in the groin. Maybe I could get a permit.

  • Realist||

    "Should We Ban Walking While Wired?"

    Yes, if you are a sack of shit with big ears!

  • nekoxgirl||

    I can't believe this is actually being proposed. I'm not sure what else to say...

  • El Duderino||

    Well, whatever you decide to say, make sure you are standing still while saying it.

  • Ted S.||

    How many cops are going to make a priority of collaring ambulatory electronic addicts?

    That's not the point. It's about getting one step closer to making all of us criminals. Once everybody is guilty of something, they have complete power.

  • nekoxgirl||

    I'm hoping they piss everyone off enough that we rebel before that happens. I would think criminalizing Ipods, phones, etc. while walking would go a long way in doing that. I can hope anyway...

  • ||

    How many cops are going to make a priority of collaring ambulatory electronic addicts?

    This isn't the right question. The right question is:

    How many cops will use this new law to hassle people who "need hassling" because the cops feel like it?

    Do we really want to add "texting while black" to the unofficial criminal code?

  • deutsche||

    One could make the argument that accidents that happen while being distracted by electronic devices is a form of behavioral Darwinism. Those not intelligent enough to realize the stupidity of walking into a busy street while staring down at their texting device might be culled from the herd and less likely to pass that lack of intelligence on to the next generation.

  • ||

    Darwins theory of evolution take the stupid ones out of the gene pool

  • El Duderino||

    Can we start a countdown clock to when we pass a law banning walking while chewing gum? This is a serious choking hazard. If you fall, you could swallow your gum and choke. According to my high school gym teacher, choking on gum is no joke!

  • Dank||

    Great now the deaf will get fined for walking because they cannot hear.

    What will they think of next?

  • El Duderino||

    What?

  • Emperor wears no clothes||

    I hereby decline to be Edwin's cum bucket.
    I beg my fellow Reasoners to likewise withdraw and let him spooge on himself.
    Maybe he'll get bored and go away.

  • Edwin||

    yeah too late though...
    you guys already took my load when you started babbling about liability when you clearly have no idea how it works under common law

  • lancec||

    Senator Carl Kruger is one to talk. I think there should be a law that requires elected officials and federal employees to have their BMI (Body Mass Index) calculated every month. If they are too high on the BMI, they must join Weight Watchers and become a contestant on Biggest Loser.

    Until our elected officials can get a grip on their own lives, they need to stop legislating our lives.

    I'm just sayin' Carl could stand to lose a few lbs.

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