Tuesday, 2 August 2005

Car crash calls for knee-jerk Leviathan

A tragic crash in Hastings (picture right) has highlighted why this country oozes bad law. Author Robert Higgs in his book Crisis and Leviathan suggested that big government has an ever-expanding 'ratchet-like' growth, with that growth fed by various crises.

Higgs was talking about large-scale crises such as wars, depressions and other disasters, during which Leviathan government grows and never shrinks back . Here in New Zealand, we do it differently. A tragic car crash, for example, is enough to prompt knee-jerk calls that "the guvamint should do something about it," and talkback shows are awash with schemes for raising the licensing age; for compulsory third-party insurance; for P-plates, L-plates and R-plates; for restricting the cc rating of cars for young drivers; and for locking teens up at night and fitting them with chastity belts.

Expect to see a stampede of party pledges from aspiring politicians seeking to stroke this disaffection, and a stream of bad, nannying law to eventually emerge, and self-responsibility to diminish.

It's often said that hard cases make bad law. It's also true that knee-jerk law written in an atmosphere of emotion is bad law, and bad law almost always feeds Leviathan. Talkback callers demanding "the guvamint should do something" might like to reflect on two points: First, that a government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take it all away again; and second, when you're wondering who is responsible for the growth of Nanny Government, the answer is you.


  1. And the libertarianz solution is??

  2. I thnk yo've missed the point, Berend. The solution will not come from a government, whatver colour that governmet is.

  3. But clearly these kids are not only a danger to themselves, but drink-driving and speeding kids are a danger to the public as well.

    So I would argue that the guys regulating the motorway (the government, the company that owns the road, who and whatever) have some interest in 'solving' this problem.

    Simply arguing: the libertarianz don't think this can be solved in any shape or form doesn't win a lot of votes I'm sure.

  4. And coming up with an easy political solution will probably win votes, and at best do nothing to solve anything, and at worst make things worse, or shift the problem elsewhere.

    Is that what you want Berend? A short-sighted and cosmetic-only 'fix' from govt?

    You can be sure that whatever the solution proposed to this and every problem that appears in the headlines that it won't see the rolling back of govt. :-/

  5. This phenomena is also called 'tombstone technology'. Deductive reason knew the answer a long time ago but not until some nice empirical blood and gore spills do we care.

    The phenomena is also called 'common law'. Ahem ahem Mr PC.

  6. I don't know why these accidents are happening. If they drived carefully i hope it might not happen.
    Most of the accidents are happening due to OVERSPEED. Life is in our hands.

    los angeles car accident lawyers


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