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From Cell Phone Laws to Tyranny Run Amok

Across many of the United States, it has nearly become illegal to sneeze while driving. Just short of that, states have begun to clamp down on handheld cell phone use while driving. 

This measure clearly tugs on the heartstrings of constituents and passive onlookers who identify with the spirit of the law, and yet those who parrot the talking points of safety seldom distribute anything more than a familiar form of conventional wisdom, while concomitantly embodying further examples of those content with the strategy of squandering every ounce of freedom for a few drops of presumed safety. 

Consider the hypothetical study commissioned to demonstrate a high inverse correlation between auto accidents and IQ. 

As a consequence of this contrived study, one might suppose that those of relatively lower IQ ought to be prohibited from driving. 

After all, platitudes abound wherever one discovers the subject of safety. 

What's more, the preponderance of road accidents tend to occur on public roads, a manifestly obvious observation, so one might then also conclude that we ought to just eliminate them as well. 

However, this author doubts that many, if any at all, would support such a broad initiative. Ironically then, of the many who might embrace such an IQ-based policy, a great number would formally render themselves ineligible for licenses.

Moreover, while operating any device, or even preoccupying oneself in thought, may indeed prove dangerous while driving, there are nearly infinite circumstances which might render these activities relatable or excusable. 

In the case of a family member desperately pleading for help, or in the case of an imperiled child, or in the coordination of recovery efforts for a devastated community, most of us would unquestioningly embrace use of a cell phone while driving. 

While the activity itself is demonstrated to produce a distraction which jeopardizes safe driving habits, there are unequivocally circumstances in which it is popularly assumed excusable, and therefore we must first appreciate those circumstances before judging the person or his actions at face value. 

Beyond that, there is no substantial evidence which proves that traffic citations are more effective than warnings in terms of incentivizing behavior, as most people, especially respectable individuals with relatively clean driving records, tend to heed the officer's guidance after such a palpably embarrassing event as being pulled over. 

On the contrary, however, there is a host of evidence which illustrates the economic damage of taxation on this basis, as supported by the counter-cycle theory of exchange

Another such example of the unseen consequences of California policymaking may be found in Botts' dots, traffic meters, HOV lanes, and red light cameras. 

While each of these initiatives has been delivered with a host of heartwarming intentions, they have caused a great measure of grief for those who travel California roads, from expensive legal battles with a pedestrian bureaucracy to lost time at the behest of inordinately long traffic cycles and extensive congestion caused by the inadvertent elimination of the left-hand passing lane.

Meanwhile, much less has been reported in terms of estimated time delays and elevated risks near the site of traffic stops, which tend to increase congestion, slow the flow of traffic, and endanger the lives of law enforcement officers, their subjects and passersby. 

While these measures have long endured as law in the state of California, many cities and municipalities have begun to question the efficacy and ethics of such policies, as there exists always a set of costs and benefits associated with any action. 

In the case of many of these laws, the quantities of time and abstractions of freedom are often dismissed or neglected in passing positive-sounding legislation which appears elegant on refined paper but systematically exacts untold grief on its subjects. 

Just as with cell phone use and even the abhorrent seat belt law, many have reported the evils of red light cameras which capture vehicles passing just as the light changed or even others which have stopped mere inches beyond the stop line. 

In California, these tickets cost motorists more than $500 apiece. 

While some contend that these costs are justified for the punishment of those who impart real harm on others by committing the crime the policy is truly intended to penalize or deter, the struggle of those who incur those enormous costs tends to be widely overlooked by those who have been transfixed by intentions which have yet to be empirically tested or shown to work. 

Yet that seemingly will not keep the institutionally-indoctrinated mind from pursuing such policies, despite the increasing enormity of the costs shouldered by people who are mistakenly written off as convicts or complainers when they have merely veered a literal inch beyond the confines of their strictly enumerated liberties. 

In a free world, people are simply free to commit mistakes just as they are free to pursue methods of self-preservation. 

When someone introduces an institution which purports to solve social problems, that civilization then becomes the subject of servitude to those described ends, whereby the barrel of a gun backs the, albeit, well-intentioned policies of those who commonly wish to do well by their constituents. 

However, the unseen cost is always a measure of freedom, and the element of human discretion is often exhausted when words written with ink supersede superior human discretion. 

When these laws are finally executed, there is plainly no room for disagreement or discussion, as they are swiftly executed by force and through the confidence of doing right by the community through the empowering word of law. 

So, when anyone contends that a law might resolve a problem, consider the attending tradeoffs and this question before resolving to any conclusion: is such a measure of systematic violence and coercion proportionate with the perceived problem and the anticipated efficacy of that law? 

If not, then you surely have a form of tyranny run amok.


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