Saturday, December 18, 2010

More Bans

The US Department of Transportation is set to ban cell phones by truckers.  This ban would affect nearly 4 million truck drivers across the United States.  Secretary LaHood cited “lack of attention” in a number of crashes involving trucker drivers.  His solution: ban something.

If distracted driving, defined by Mr. LaHood as “taking your eye off the road for even a second”, is the culprit, let’s ban distracted driving.  This would mean no sneezing, as this can really disorient a driver, even if only for a moment.  Let’s also ban tuning the radio while driving.  That’s really bad.  Don’t think about blowing your nose either.  Also, no digging around for that pack of gum or cigarettes.  Too distracting.  No beverages either, lest you spill some and that distracts you.

Better yet, let’s empower the government to re-design the interior of today’s trucks.  No radio, no citizen band’s radios, and no knobs, switches, levers or handles.  Additionally, drivers shall wear a special head set to track their eye movements, monitored by the government for compliance, of course. 
If Mr. LaHood is serious about ending accidents cause by distracted drivers, I think he needs to go further than just cell phones.


  1. Okay, I can play the reductio ad absurdum game to.

    Lets not have any rules. Lets have true freedom. I'm free to play my music at whatever decibel I want all night long. Why cant I drive on the left side of the road? Thats an arbitrary thing, the Brits drive there. Dont tell me I cant have 3 Tequila shooters and drive, who the hell are you? In fact dont tell me what time I have to show up for work, Ill get my crap done on my time.

    See it sounds ridiculous at any extreme

  2. Greg,

    First, I'm sure you and I can agree on limits to our freedom (if you call these limits) Most libertarians adopt these two axioms: non-violence and no trespass. These should address most of your concerns above, no?

    I don't wish for a wild-west. I just reject the notion that only government can perform certain functions.

    For example ~ drug approval. Currently the gatekeeper for all drugs is the FDA. But why should some government agency say to my dying father, "No, you may not try this experimental drug because we haven't approved it yet". If we own our own bodies, who is the government to say what I can and can't do with it, provided I abide by my two axioms?

    I don't like the government having monopoly power over my liberty. If the FDA says "no", I have no redress. If, on the other hand, Consumer Reports rated drugs, and provided me with the pros/cons of a certain medication, should I not be able to decide what's best for me?

    The government shouldn't be in the business of denying me things for my own good. I can take of myself, thanks.

  3. Hey Brad

    Meant to get back to this before now, sorry. This really is a topic of interest for me and this is one of the biggies where TO ME, many libertarians go off the rails and careening down the ditch.

    No one wants limits to their own freedoms, just limits to someone elses. You really dont want restrictions to the use of violence either because you and I both know that there are times when I want to be able to use violence to address a situation. Trespass? In a libertarian paradise all land would be privately owned so the minute you step off your property you are trespassing, unless you pay a toll of some sort. So even those simple axioms are fraught with many questions.

    I too reject the notion that ONLY govt can perform certain functions. Obviously we COULD have a completely private court system or a completely private interstate system BUT in order for us to have true market advantages and avoid it becoming just like a public monopoly (except in private hands now) we would need multiple court systems and multiple interstate systems. Do you think 3 court systems to choose from or 4 interstate systems to choose from would be a wiser use of our precious resources. maybe we can have 3 times as many lawyers and pave 4x as much farmland!!

    I actually agree about the FDA but I see the problem as one where big Pharmaceutical companies actually control the FDA and are profiting from the environment that is created. Europe actually does things in a way that encourages new drug testing. Could a consumer reports type model work for drugs? Only if there is more than one. Again, multiple sources would need to be carrying out the tests and then we could as citizens decide from all the information. Might work with drug testing as its not that expensive to carry out a test but the larger the sample the more accurate the test so there will be limits to how many reliable tests could be conducted. I dont know the potential test sample size for any particular drug. Again, having one well run, well staffed, non corruptable site that tests these new drugs SEEMS the best solution as opposed to having multiple, hard to assess the legitimacy of, smaller Consumer Reports type thing.

    Anything which we are better off with only one of should not be privatized, in my view, because that makes it by definition a private monopoly. Privatizing our prison system was absolutely a terrible thing. Having people profit from a higher incarceration rate is sick. Society should profit when a well run prison, justice sytem is operable but letting an individual get rich because people are going to jail, and having THEIR incentive to be even more people in jail is despicable.