Re: GPS Car speed control advancing in UK

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Mon Jan 29 2001 - 16:30:25 MST wrote:
> denis bider, <>, writes:
> > I am looking forward towards a time when technology will enable us to limit
> > ourselves to good behavior by means of technology rather than by means of
> > law.
> Of course he got raked over the coals by the knee-jerk libertarians here,
> but Denis makes a good point. Given that you are going to have laws
> at all (whether privately enforced, public, negotiated or whatever),
> it makes sense that uniform and consistent application is preferable to
> haphazard and random enforcement. One of the great advances of Western
> society was the move towards the "rule of law" rather than the "rule
> of men". Removing the element of capriciousness from law enforcement
> makes it easier for everyone to make decisions.

Knee-jerk? Reaction antagonistic to a proposal to wire up human beings
or their environment in such a way that they have no choice but to obey
whatever laws have been passed by their government is "knee-jerk"? The
rule of law is not what is sacred. The rights of human beings are
supposed to be protected by laws. Reversing the equation where the law
determines the human beings is utterly perverse.

Men make the laws. Men are fallible and corruptible. Therefore
absolute enforcement of the law cannot help but be pernicious.

> Imagine that other aspects of life, such as contracts for employment,
> were enforced in the same random way that most laws are today. There's a
> certain chance you won't get paid at all, another chance that you'll
> get paid what you should, a different chance that you'll be paid twice
> as much, and so on. Would anyone argue that such a system is superior
> to one where you have consistent and reliable expectations about the
> outcomes of your actions?

But this does not require hard-wiring the environment or employers. It
is a matter of normal enforcement of contracts with quite a bit of
wiggle room on what is and is not a valid contract and so on. It is not
what is being proposed.

> automatically lead to a more restrictive society. But this assumes that
> society does not already have the degree of restrictiveness that people
> desire on the average. If that were true, people would already have
> increased penalties and/or spent more money on law enforcement. The fact
> that society is (roughly) in a steady state on these issues indicates that
> the degree of restrictiveness is approximately what is already desired.
> With more effective law enforcement tools, Denis is entirely correct
> that we should expect the laws to be relaxed correspondingly.

On the contrary. If the politicians knew for a fact that whatever law
they passed absolutely would be enforced because there was no room for
it to be otherwise and all means of effective protest could be squelched
by passing and perfectly enforcing a properly crafted set of laws, then
we would be headed pell mell to a dictatorship deeper and more complete
than anything this world has ever seen.

> If you want to gamble, go to the casinos. But in your legal relationships
> with society, predictability and reliability is preferable.

It is not a crapshoot. We do have laws and contracts. But we also have
room to question the laws and contracts and where necessary to remodel
them. That a law is enforced perfectly may give pause to an honest
lawmaker. But many lawmakers are not that honest.

Shackling free people from having any choice is enslavement regardless
of how much predictability and reliability you think are possible to get
by such means. Where there is no freedom of choice there is no

- samantha

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