In recognition of Hayek’s birthday last month, Steve Horwitz encourages us to adopt Hayek’s “model of scholarship and civility.”
The world would also be a better place were more people to emulate Hayek as a model of scholarship and civility. We need more people willing to start with the assumption that those who disagree with them are only guilty of intellectual error rather than maliciousness or stupidity.
Maybe it’s merely intellectual error. But I stop giving people the benefit of the doubt, the moment that they refer to me as maliciously motivated, or stupid. The irony, as I’ve noted before, is that more often than not, our opponents are not willing to grant us that formality. Take, for instance, the notion that “libertarians want to run the country.” No, we really don’t. We just want to run our own lives. The only people who want to run the country are the people we’re debating.
I have heard this one radio commercial several times on WRIF that unwittingly makes the click-it-or-ticket efforts seem absurd, which they are.
The commercial consists of a guy saying something to the effect of, “I can’t believe what I got a ticket for. It wasn’t speeding, or running a stop sign, [or other reasonable causes for tickets]. Nope, I got pulled over for not wearing my seat belt! And I was slapped with a $65 fine!” The thing is, his tone of voice seems to be saying, “Is that not the stupidest, lamest, most unnecessarily paternalistic government intrusion into your life that you’ve ever heard of?” As a fellow Michigan resident, maybe you’ve heard it.
I agree with (my interpretation of) what the guy’s saying: Seat-belt-enforcement efforts are lame, stupid, and a waste of officers’ time and victims’ money.
Listening to the same morning show, I have heard that commercial. My interpretation of that same commercial, is that the tone implies, “Gee, I sure am a dumbass. I can’t believe I was sooo stupid to drive without my seatbelt.” Since (I presume) the commercial is produced by the State, and not the Michigan Libertarian party, I’d be very surprised if the actor was paid to denigrate the State’s annual Fund-raiser. I think the commercial suggests that only idiots ignore seatbelt laws, not that the law in itself is idiotic.
Right! Time to turn the car in to the bank! Oh wait, did that already…
I’d love to, but not because of safety belt laws. In retrospect, the Jeep Grand Cherokee might not have been the wisest decision, at about 15mpg, $4 gas is cramping my style.
Some off-the-cuff calculations suggest that between non-discretionary fuel (i.e., only the fuel required to commute), car insurance, and my monthly payment, I’m spending something like $7,000 a year, just to have a car. At least in theory, I should be able to absorb a $7,000 pay-cut if it permitted me to either work from home, or commute by bike or on foot. Since such a pay-cut would put me in a lesser tax-bracket, and my deductible/exempt expenses wouldn’t change, I’d probably come out ahead.
When I arrived at that $7,000 figure, I started to cry.
Mike G also left a comment on Discrimination Writ Large: Hamtramck Evictions, where I highlighted one local municipality’s egregious use of power to basically evict all the brown people from its jurisdiction.
Really sick. It’s disgusting that the actual individuals who carried this out won’t be touched at all by this so-called “justice”.
And so it goes, with the State. Those who perpetrate injustices on its behalf are rarely punished in any meaningful way. War criminals are rarely tried, unless they’re on the losing side. And it’s worth repeating that through government, unscrupulous individuals can always perpetrate crimes to a greater extent than is otherwise possible in their individual capacity.
Commenting on A Thousand Others Just Like You, Mike appreciated my “million-hit-points- and-maximum-charisma” reference, one of many Simpsons references that I sneak in to my blogging from time to time.
Francois Tremblay left a comment on Does Unanimity Make Government Valid?:
What person would be so insane as to, if starting from the state of nature, accept all that government entails?
Only liars and thieves would be willing to accept it, and only then so long as they thought they had a pretty good chance of holding the reins. No sane person would ever relinquish his right to self-determination. No sane person would (on any condition) ever grant unspecified power over his life and property, to another. The people who formed the governments of the world did so in order to control people, to exercise power over them, and to amass for themselves great fortunes. Only after governments have been established, do they begin to propagate the great falsehoods used to justify their existence.
No man, or group of men, has ever justified the creation of a government ex ante. Since they were all formed by violence or deceipt, none are fit to exist. It is an exercise in futility to justify that which injustice has conceived.