Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Column incubator for feds' ideas

Column incubator for feds' ideas

(My Clovis News Journal column for May 24, 2013)

Federal employees must read my columns and use the warnings therein as a blueprint for future schemes, just as Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" and George Orwell's "1984" seem to have been adopted as suggestions for governing rather than as the dire warnings they should have been.

Recent news that the National Transportation Safety Board is seeking to further lower the "legal standard" for the blood alcohol content that would be called "drunk"- to 0.05%- echoes a warning I gave in a previous column in this space about a hypothetical future where driving after eating a turkey dinner is criminalized as "driving under the influence". Welcome to the future.

No one I know of thinks driving while drunk is a good idea. There is, however, a legal concept known as "prior restraint". Actions that "might" harm someone can't be a real crime and can't legitimately be punished as one. Otherwise everything you do would be illegal and make you subject to arrest. Which might just be the real goal, after all.

Every action has some probability of causing harm, and the "law" is a poor method of deciding what the odds are. Unless an incident occurs where someone has actually been hurt or private property has been damaged, there is no individual victim and no crime can have been committed. No matter what the "law" might say, how strictly it is enforced, or how much you disapprove of the action involved. "The majority" may want to punish "pre-crime", but it will always be wrong to do so.

Anytime a "law" is expanded to criminalize more people- even if the intentions are supposedly good- a larger net has been cast and it creates more criminals and further delegitimizes everything else the "law" is expected to accomplish. It's a form of inflation- the more of something you make, the less each unit of it is worth.

The "law" can't lose much more value and continue to exist in any meaningful way. For an increasing number of people it has already lost all legitimacy.

Instead of "prior restraint", what is needed is real restitution for any and all harm that is done to an individual victim (which is never the State)- no matter the circumstances.

If you cause a wreck and an innocent person dies as a result, what does it matter whether you were drunk, texting, "running a license plate", sleepy, scolding a child, or sneezing? Do you really think the family of the dead victim cares what your excuse is? They don't, unless it happens to be their adopted "cause".



  1. What about a drunk that is weaving around and crossing into oncoming traffic, but hasn’t hit anybody or anything yet?
    What about a guy juggling loaded guns, but hasn’t hit anybody yet?
    Their intent isn’t to hurt anyone, it is just an impending consequence.
    Are you saying that ZAP prevents you from stopping them?

  2. As happens so many times when the boogieman of "drunk driving" is used to justify The State/initiation of force, you misunderstand the ZAP.

    You have no right to initiate force. Do what you feel you must, accepting that you are acting outside of what you have a right to do, and accepting the consequences- even if you feel they aren't "fair".

    If there is a credible threat that someone's actions are going to cause imminent harm to individuals or property, then by stopping them you wouldn't be initiating force. That's NOT how The State's "protection" schemes work, though. Plus, The State's enforcers are financed by theft. You can't do the right thing by doing the wrong thing.