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.