#Libertarianism, #Politics

Thoughts on Rights and Government Intrusion

I was thinking about something the other day concerning seat belt laws. In the past I’ve been against regulations concerning the wearing of seat belts; namely that you are required by law to do so when in fact the choice harms no one but yourself in the case of an accident, thus the requirement in itself is intrusive. The government is involving itself in something that it should not!

My notion of what libertarianism meant was one of absolutes, in that any and all government involvement was inherently wrong and, I think you run into a lot of folks who have this view, it becomes a little murky when determining what is acceptable as opposed to what is off limits. It is hypocritical of me to claim all involvement is unwarranted, though isn’t it?

In the case of seat belt laws, and road regulations in general, it is perfectly acceptable for government to regulate in any way they wish in relation to a system of roads they developed, built, and encouraged the use of for the expansion of the nation. The roads are public and government property, and so in order to maximize utility and ensure the safety of everyone, these laws become necessary as deterrents, as well as punishments, for this who would shirk their responsibility as a user of public goods to follow the rules.

Whether the government should be in the business of building and regulating roads is another matter, but one I suspect most would find to be an agreeable proposition.

So, essentially what I’m saying is, there are legitimate uses of the long arm of government; and for the most part this includes the regulation of public properties and their use.

In general, though, I’m highly suspicious of the police powers of the state. Such coercion can be dangerous when given the kind of power they regularly exercise. This is indeed an affront to liberty and something that is unlikely to be corrected anytime soon.

4 Responses to “Thoughts on Rights and Government Intrusion”

  1. Scott

    May 30, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

    Good point.

    If the police had built the roads, would you feel different about their powers?

    It’s sad, really. You grow up thinking the police are the good guys. Through time, for many, the sense of trust evaporates.

    No complaints about Worcester’s Finest, however. You never see them. And they seemingly allow drunk driving. For the responsible drinkers at least.

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  2. Mike

    May 31, 2010 @ 12:17 am

    Part of what gives them so much power is the belief in their virtue that is instilled in you as a child.

    It is a very powerful psychological tool.

    No, the police are more powerful than our military and more dangerous to liberty as evidenced by their actions.

    Funny story. My dad used to tell me the police would generally let you drive home around these parts if they pulled you over when drunk. Simpler times.

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  3. Scott

    May 31, 2010 @ 10:45 am

    Yeah, my dad spins those yarns too. The best: if the “head cop” (not sure of rank here) pulled you over, he would confisgate your alcohol, and help find you a ride home. Then one night during the summer, he’d invite all those teenagers to his house for a massive pool party, where all of the taken alcohol would be present, and all would get trashed.

    I feel so dirty for even considering becoming a cop at one time.

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  4. Mike

    May 31, 2010 @ 12:11 pm

    Might have been a better profession prior the 70’s/80’s. I’m sure they were just as crooked, but the impression I get is that society was just more relaxed. And, more importantly, cops had a little more common sense when it came to enforcing the law.

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