Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Frigidus on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:05 pm

Jesus, there are actually people opposed to bike helmet laws.

Edit:
crispybits wrote:Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls.


I was trying to think of a comparable complaint that is obviously ludicrous, but I couldn't come up with a good one. Thank you crispybits.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:26 pm

crispybits wrote:Sod the financials, if I'm driving and through no fault of my own hit a cyclist wearing a helmet and he is badly injured but recovers, that will have a very different effect on me than if, through no fault of my own, I hit a cyclist not wearing a helmet and he dies. If nothing else because at least I can try and ease any (undeserved) guilt I may feel to someone who is still alive afterwards, but there's nothing I can do for someone who has died. We read occasionally about people who have killed people completely accidentally who struggle with that for the rest of their lives, with the fact that it has a profound effect on them.

Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls. To claim that it's "big bad government taking away my freedom!" is just plain ridiculous.


If you're so concerned, then drive more carefully and at lower speeds. That's your choice to do so.

Other than that, I find no compelling case to impose your standard of concern onto everyone else. Furthermore, why would a law induce more concern? What effects would it have on individual decision-making?

If anything, a helmet makes the bicyclist safer, so if you hit them, "Hey! good thing they had their helmet! Now I don't feel so bad!"


The analogy of wearing clothes in public isn't valid because not wearing a helmet is not at all offensive to one's visual senses. Exposing your dick to kids at the mall is not at all similar to exposing your flowing mane of hair while riding a bike/bicycle.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:31 pm

Lootifer wrote:
TA1LGUNN3R wrote:If this is your reasoning for supporting mandatory helmet/seatbelt laws, I expect you to likewise support mandatory diet laws, mandatory eugenics programs, and mandatory prophylactic laws. All of these things contribute to the "higher health insurance premiums" and medical expenses being paid with "taxpayers' funds."

Diet and prophylactic laws would be unenforcable; thus it doesnt make sense for them to be laws. I do however very much support government campaigns that educate and promote the use of healthy lifestyles and use of contreception (read: spending money on convincing people to not be fat and have unwanted pregnancies).

Eugenics is slightly different; its a grey/sliding scale in terms of ethics; telling someone they are too fat and should go on a diet is one thing, telling someone they cant have kids because their genes are a detriment to society is, for me, probably one bridge too far.


All it takes is further conditioning and enforcement by the state to reach those conclusions--and have the majority satisfied with them.


Lootifer wrote:Tangent: I see democracy as needing to intervene here (and to me should intervene only on this kind of case by case basis rather than the two horse charade we currently use): This is something we should vote on as a population and decide where, along this grey scale, we should set our ethical limits.


Agreed, but politicians and a loud, insensible minority are relentless.

I'd rather have the scale set at lower levels--than at State or Federal. It would be much more representative of each democratic process and the general desires of the constituents.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:31 pm

Haggis_McMutton wrote:
Lootifer wrote:
Army of GOD wrote:can we vote gillipig off the forum?

AAFitz can go first I reckon.


Yeah, seems like this was a bad thread for both of them.
I liked how fitz seamlessly went from accusing Tails of being old and stubborn to being young and inexperienced.

Btw. didn't see this on the CDC website. Is the reduction in no. of people using bikes because they won't wear helmets taken into account?

i.e. if we make it mandatory that you strap a pink dildo to your forehead while riding a bike I'm gonna bet that bike accidents are going to significantly drop. But probably not because the dildo makes you safer.



Oh, and for the record, the Q&A on the CDC website is complete bullshit.
Do helmet laws interfere with a person’s freedom to choose whether to wear a helmet?

Yes. Many laws restrict people’s freedom to perform behaviors judged contrary to the public good. These include drunk driving laws, cellphone use laws, and infectious disease quarantine laws, to name a few. Courts usually uphold such laws as important to the nation’s well-being.

Notice a slight distinction between the cases they present and helmet laws? Like maybe how all of those behaviors directly impact others?

If a motorcyclist chooses not to wear a helmet, does it only affect him?

No, not if the rider crashes. Unhelmeted riders injured in a crash have substantially higher healthcare costs than helmeted riders. When the rider is insured, these costs are passed on to others in the form of higher health insurance premiums. Unhelmeted riders are more likely to be uninsured than other riders. When the riders are uninsured, their medical expenses may be paid for using taxpayers’ funds.

Oh cool. So then if I'm insured I can ride without a helmet, correct ?
Also, when is McDonals's becoming illegal? Coke taxed like nicotine? No? Hmm, that's odd, almost like there might be a double standard there. Nah, that couldn't be it.

I don't have a strong opinion one way or the other regarding these laws, but this bullshit peddling really gets on my nerves. It smells way too much of "reefer madness" campaigns.



I support your valid criticism of the CDC statistics and your Pink Dildo Policy.

AAFitz has dug in his heels, which doesn't overcome this problem in the statistical analysis.
( AoG's summary of AAFitz's stance is more succinct)
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:37 pm

I think the moral of the story here, is not to involve the internet in your thought thinking. Since it'll just make you angry, or fall in love, and probably both with AOG.


--Andy
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby laughingcavalier on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:44 pm

Generally I approve of the nanny state but I am angrily anti- bike helmet laws. Even tho I always wear mine. Even tho my daughter has a scar on her head from the time she fell off without a helmet on. Don't they f***ING well know cycling is good for your health? Are they trying to mark.us out as lycra- wearing helmet-headed plonkers so as to discourage folks from getting on their bikes?!! Grrrr.
The real need is for better safety features on modern cars. Every 4x4 should come fitted with 3' spikes on the inside pointed at the driver. We would see a dramatic improvement in driving standards overnight.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:52 pm

AndyDufresne wrote:I think the moral of the story here, is not to involve the internet in your thought thinking. Since it'll just make you angry, or fall in love, and probably both with AOG.


--Andy


You're just jealous because of other people's manes of flowing hair--as they ride down the streets of your neighborhood.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Lootifer on Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:58 pm

laughingcavalier wrote:The real need is for better safety features on modern cars. Every 4x4 should come fitted with 3' spikes on the inside pointed at the driver. We would see a dramatic improvement in driving standards overnight.

I CONCUR!
I go to the gym to justify my mockery of fat people.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:22 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
crispybits wrote:Sod the financials, if I'm driving and through no fault of my own hit a cyclist wearing a helmet and he is badly injured but recovers, that will have a very different effect on me than if, through no fault of my own, I hit a cyclist not wearing a helmet and he dies. If nothing else because at least I can try and ease any (undeserved) guilt I may feel to someone who is still alive afterwards, but there's nothing I can do for someone who has died. We read occasionally about people who have killed people completely accidentally who struggle with that for the rest of their lives, with the fact that it has a profound effect on them.

Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls. To claim that it's "big bad government taking away my freedom!" is just plain ridiculous.


If you're so concerned, then drive more carefully and at lower speeds. That's your choice to do so.

Other than that, I find no compelling case to impose your standard of concern onto everyone else. Furthermore, why would a law induce more concern? What effects would it have on individual decision-making?

If anything, a helmet makes the bicyclist safer, so if you hit them, "Hey! good thing they had their helmet! Now I don't feel so bad!"

The analogy of wearing clothes in public isn't valid because not wearing a helmet is not at all offensive to one's visual senses. Exposing your dick to kids at the mall is not at all similar to exposing your flowing mane of hair while riding a bike/bicycle.


If I'm doing 50mph in a 60mph limit I can think of several roads within 5 miles of my house where a cyclist could come out of nowhere with no notice from a side track and I wouldn't be able to stop in time. I would have been driving perfectly reasonably and the blame for the accident would be entirely with the cyclist. Would that make everything peachy if the cyclist died? Hardly.

Also, I can think of several ways of dressing that are highly offensive to one's visual senses, and to the visual senses of everyone else. "Because I think I look like an idiot" is not a valid objection to not wearing something that could prevent your death when partaking in a risky activity on a public highway. There are good reasons for rules and regulations on the roads, and cyclists shouldn't be any more immune to that than motorcyclists having to wear a helmet, or drivers having to wear a seatbelt.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:16 pm

to hell with being the last post!
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Neoteny on Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:30 pm

I am pro-people-too-ridiculous-to-wear-a-helmet-removing-themselves-from-the-genepool. As long as they don't do it on my car, because I worry about it being contagious.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:35 pm

crispybits wrote:
If I'm doing 50mph in a 60mph limit I can think of several roads within 5 miles of my house where a cyclist could come out of nowhere with no notice from a side track and I wouldn't be able to stop in time. I would have been driving perfectly reasonably and the blame for the accident would be entirely with the cyclist. Would that make everything peachy if the cyclist died? Hardly.

Also, I can think of several ways of dressing that are highly offensive to one's visual senses, and to the visual senses of everyone else. "Because I think I look like an idiot" is not a valid objection to not wearing something that could prevent your death when partaking in a risky activity on a public highway. There are good reasons for rules and regulations on the roads, and cyclists shouldn't be any more immune to that than motorcyclists having to wear a helmet, or drivers having to wear a seatbelt.



So by using an extreme particular case, you somewhat can support your stance which applies to all cases? I don't find that convincing.
Insurance (even in the form of helmets) lowers the costs of riskier behavior.

"Because I look like an idiot" isn't the only objection of the millions of people affected by the law, and that straw man fallacy fails to portray how people perceive their profit and opportunity cost. Nor have you succeeded in defending your incorrect analogy.

    Sure, I agree with you that there are good reasons for most people to use safety devices. They may improve their chances of survival even though the chance of dying--depending on an individual's skill and circumstances--varies and may be relatively low regardless of wearing a helmet.


The economist within me asks, "What's the tradeoff between various forms* of protection and various preferences defined by one's opportunity cost**?"
*(e.g. improving one's skills in cycling/driving, wearing a helmet, and/or learning to pay more attention to the road, etc.)
**(e.g. flowing hair in the wind, more comfort, 20% coolness--visually and physiologically, not worrying about the helmet being stolen, not having to risk paying for another helmet, and/or not having to lug a helmet with you throughout the day, etc).

    As "society," we don't know that answer, and neither do you because this tradeoff is subjectively perceived by millions of individuals and varies all the time. It's extremely complex, yet the one-size-fits-all laws and obtuse statistics pay no heed to this process.

So how can we discover the optimal tradeoff? By allowing people to make that tradeoff for him or herself, but of course feel free to advertise in favor of helmets. I wear mine all the time because my opportunity cost = significant loss of future profit from brain damage. (My profit = future prestige, capability to learn, write, earn money, make jokes, etc.--who knows what I may lose with the possibility of brain damage?) I won't risk it, but others may have lower or different opportunity costs. I acknowledge that I am in no position to dismiss their opportunity costs; however, some ITT (you, AAFitz) are being presumptuous by not acknowledging this.

Besides, the market has companies which will advertise--and beg--for people to buy their helmets. This is the profit motive at work. It aligns self-interest into complementing the general interest (a.k.a. Adam Smith's Invisible Hand).

And here's another thing about law and economics. Without a helmet mandate, then individual preferences for more coolness and whatever are allowed to be revealed. Entrepreneurs, who are seeking profits through helmet-production, now have the incentive to discover these preferences and then create cool-looking helmets which consumers are free to choose at a price. However, with a mandatory helmet law, those preferences are quashed*, thus the profit opportunity remains hidden or constrained.

*(Of course, those who break the law can reveal their preferences, but this is beside the point.)

    Before we jump up and support a prohibition against Not Wearing Helmets, we should really consider the capabilities of the market, the unintended consequences, the extreme limit of one's knowledge of other people's preferences, the special interest groups who may benefit from that law (police, city governments through police tickets, local Business Bureaus), the politicians, and the judges. Most importantly, we should reflect upon the opportunities that we may lose.

    Instead, some loud minority insists upon Helmet Laws, and--get this--"for the common good." And, that law gets passed. Which sounds better? To me, it's the former, cautious argument, but this latter argument--wrapped in the guise of common good--usually fails to acknowledge what it tramples underneath.

So, taken all together, plus the other objections mentioned earlier (TG's for instance), it doesn't seem you have much of an argument here--other than repeating essentially the same argument. We can choose to live in a freer society and allow others to benefit each other on a voluntary basis--free of unnecessary government intervention. Or we can overlook all these opportunities and all of those individual preferences by staunchly supporting another mindless law.

I'm in favor of a freer society, are you?

/thread
edit3: (replace key terms, apply this to other threads, and /thread those threads).
Last edited by BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:41 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:36 pm

Neoteny wrote:I am pro-people-too-ridiculous-to-wear-a-helmet-removing-themselves-from-the-genepool. As long as they don't do it on my car, because I worry about it being contagious.


Voluntary eugenics---with no coercive power of the state at play?

Hmm... a firm stance, but it does have its benefits!
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Army of GOD on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:13 pm

Frigidus wrote:Jesus, there are actually people opposed to bike helmet laws.

Edit:
crispybits wrote:Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls.


I was trying to think of a comparable complaint that is obviously ludicrous, but I couldn't come up with a good one. Thank you crispybits.


C'mon, even my left testicle can tell this is a terrible analogy. The reason clothes are necessary is because nobody wants to see nietzsche's schlong out in public. It's a PUBLIC protection thing...it has nothing to do with protecting the non-clothes-wearer from themself. Helmet laws are.

I would only support helmet laws if the government handed out helmets. Otherwise, no.

inb4 "HURRDURR YOURE AN IDIOT I HOPE YOU CRASH AND DIE WITHOUT A HELMET"
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:34 pm

Army of GOD wrote:
Frigidus wrote:Jesus, there are actually people opposed to bike helmet laws.

Edit:
crispybits wrote:Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls.


I was trying to think of a comparable complaint that is obviously ludicrous, but I couldn't come up with a good one. Thank you crispybits.


C'mon, even my left testicle can tell this is a terrible analogy. The reason clothes are necessary is because nobody wants to see nietzsche's schlong out in public. It's a PUBLIC protection thing...it has nothing to do with protecting the non-clothes-wearer from themself. Helmet laws are.

I would only support helmet laws if the government handed out helmets. Otherwise, no.

inb4 "HURRDURR YOURE AN IDIOT I HOPE YOU CRASH AND DIE WITHOUT A HELMET"


That's rational, but it's not a morally good stance.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby TA1LGUNN3R on Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:50 am

Lootifer wrote:Diet and prophylactic laws would be unenforcable;


Prophylactics maybe. Diet mandates are feasible and have been done. Think of the Communist regimes of Russia and China mid 20th century that forced people onto communes to grow staple crops. Or rationing during the world wars. It would be easy to implement over the course of years as well, just by banning the unsafe foods. To me, banning, say, high-fructose corn syrup in the public interest for reducing medical costs would be equal to enforcing helmet laws- that is, it would reduce costs as delineated in the CDC link and improve national health.

telling someone they cant have kids because their genes are a detriment to society is, for me, probably one bridge too far.


How? The greatest argument that the pro-laws have put forth is that it's in the public interest, or that I'm too stupid to decide for myself or that I may choose the wrong choice. So while deciding habits and activities for an adult in the spirit of public benefit it okay, how is it somehow less okay to allow unfit genes to be passed on? Either it's a moral question (the suffering endured by people with severe disabilities, e.g.), a financial one (reduced medical strain on the public), or some combination of the two. Let me put it another way: are you comfortable with the idea of an HIV-infected person conceiving a child, pretty much giving the child HIV? Or how about the knowing spread of STIs? Is it too uncomfortable of an idea to press charges against a person who didn't inform their partner when they knowingly were infected with a disease, which is yet a willful lack of concern?

'funny how the pro-helmet law supporters equate being anti-law with anti-helmet. I've never said any such thing. As a frequent motorcycle rider, I always and will always wear my full face helmet.

If you are in favor of helmets/seat belts simply because you think it's your civic duty to protect people you'll never meet, you need to apply this to all areas of life.

-TG
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby TA1LGUNN3R on Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:55 am

crispybits wrote:Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls.


fwiw I think public nudity is fine. Just a lil' ol' skin.

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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Army of GOD on Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:56 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:
Army of GOD wrote:
Frigidus wrote:Jesus, there are actually people opposed to bike helmet laws.

Edit:
crispybits wrote:Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls.


I was trying to think of a comparable complaint that is obviously ludicrous, but I couldn't come up with a good one. Thank you crispybits.


C'mon, even my left testicle can tell this is a terrible analogy. The reason clothes are necessary is because nobody wants to see nietzsche's schlong out in public. It's a PUBLIC protection thing...it has nothing to do with protecting the non-clothes-wearer from themself. Helmet laws are.

I would only support helmet laws if the government handed out helmets. Otherwise, no.

inb4 "HURRDURR YOURE AN IDIOT I HOPE YOU CRASH AND DIE WITHOUT A HELMET"


That's rational, but it's not a morally good stance.


Do I look like a moral man?

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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Frigidus on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:19 am

Army of GOD wrote:
Frigidus wrote:Jesus, there are actually people opposed to bike helmet laws.

Edit:
crispybits wrote:Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls.


I was trying to think of a comparable complaint that is obviously ludicrous, but I couldn't come up with a good one. Thank you crispybits.


C'mon, even my left testicle can tell this is a terrible analogy. The reason clothes are necessary is because nobody wants to see nietzsche's schlong out in public. It's a PUBLIC protection thing...it has nothing to do with protecting the non-clothes-wearer from themself. Helmet laws are.

I would only support helmet laws if the government handed out helmets. Otherwise, no.

inb4 "HURRDURR YOURE AN IDIOT I HOPE YOU CRASH AND DIE WITHOUT A HELMET"


It isn't the reasoning behind the ban that's comparable, it's the reasoning behind the complaint about the ban. "Stop telling me what to wear! Muh freedom!" The implementation of such a law has been shown to reduce injuries, and I'm really having trouble seeing a legitimate downside beyond 'I think this looks stupid'. They are an overall good thing.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:13 am

Army of GOD wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
Army of GOD wrote:
Frigidus wrote:Jesus, there are actually people opposed to bike helmet laws.

Edit:
crispybits wrote:Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls.


I was trying to think of a comparable complaint that is obviously ludicrous, but I couldn't come up with a good one. Thank you crispybits.


C'mon, even my left testicle can tell this is a terrible analogy. The reason clothes are necessary is because nobody wants to see nietzsche's schlong out in public. It's a PUBLIC protection thing...it has nothing to do with protecting the non-clothes-wearer from themself. Helmet laws are.

I would only support helmet laws if the government handed out helmets. Otherwise, no.

inb4 "HURRDURR YOURE AN IDIOT I HOPE YOU CRASH AND DIE WITHOUT A HELMET"


That's rational, but it's not a morally good stance.


Do I look like a moral man?

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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:15 am

Frigidus wrote:
Army of GOD wrote:
Frigidus wrote:Jesus, there are actually people opposed to bike helmet laws.

Edit:
crispybits wrote:Wearing a helmet while cycling is hardly an infringement on freedom any more than people having to wear clothes in shopping malls.


I was trying to think of a comparable complaint that is obviously ludicrous, but I couldn't come up with a good one. Thank you crispybits.


C'mon, even my left testicle can tell this is a terrible analogy. The reason clothes are necessary is because nobody wants to see nietzsche's schlong out in public. It's a PUBLIC protection thing...it has nothing to do with protecting the non-clothes-wearer from themself. Helmet laws are.

I would only support helmet laws if the government handed out helmets. Otherwise, no.

inb4 "HURRDURR YOURE AN IDIOT I HOPE YOU CRASH AND DIE WITHOUT A HELMET"


It isn't the reasoning behind the ban that's comparable, it's the reasoning behind the complaint about the ban. "Stop telling me what to wear! Muh freedom!" The implementation of such a law has been shown to reduce injuries, and I'm really having trouble seeing a legitimate downside beyond 'I think this looks stupid'. They are an overall good thing.


Your stance has many flaws and overlooks many problems, which has already been explained.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:31 am

BigBallinStalin wrote:
crispybits wrote:
If I'm doing 50mph in a 60mph limit I can think of several roads within 5 miles of my house where a cyclist could come out of nowhere with no notice from a side track and I wouldn't be able to stop in time. I would have been driving perfectly reasonably and the blame for the accident would be entirely with the cyclist. Would that make everything peachy if the cyclist died? Hardly.

Also, I can think of several ways of dressing that are highly offensive to one's visual senses, and to the visual senses of everyone else. "Because I think I look like an idiot" is not a valid objection to not wearing something that could prevent your death when partaking in a risky activity on a public highway. There are good reasons for rules and regulations on the roads, and cyclists shouldn't be any more immune to that than motorcyclists having to wear a helmet, or drivers having to wear a seatbelt.



So by using an extreme particular case, you somewhat can support your stance which applies to all cases? I don't find that convincing.
Insurance (even in the form of helmets) lowers the costs of riskier behavior.

No, by using an example of several individual road/track patterns that I can think of off the top of my head in a small area that's not particularly different from other small areas up and down the country both urban and rural in nature in places I can make a valid extrapolation that there are literally hundreds or thousands of places where it is possible for a car being driven perfectly reasonably for the road conditions to hit a cyclist and it be the cyclists fault entirely if that cycle is not being ridden safely. I also have eidence that even when someone is blameless, being involved in the death of another human being has a profound psychological impact that in some cases is never recovered from. By not wearing a helmet and by taking any risk at all on a public highway you are causing potential damage to other's property (their cars) and their health. As there is no such thing as totally risk free riding or driving on a public highway, then the morally correct stance for everyone using a public highway is to take appropriate measures to reduce the risk of injury in every reasonable way when doing so. Wearing a helmet is not unreasonable. If I was suggesting thousand dollar airbag suits that inflate upon impact then that would be unreasonable. A helmet that costs a small fraction of the cost of the bike, much like lights that cost a similar amount if riding in the dark, is a reasonable measure.

"Because I look like an idiot" isn't the only objection of the millions of people affected by the law, and that straw man fallacy fails to portray how people perceive their profit and opportunity cost. Nor have you succeeded in defending your incorrect analogy.

OK, apart from "because I think I look like an idiot", "because I like the feeling of wind in my hair" and "because I just don't want to" I haven't seen any argument why wearing a helmet on the public highway is unreasonable. And those objections themselves are unreasonable when compared to the proper application of minor inconvenience for a large risk reduction both of serious harm to oneself and of serious harm to others.

    Sure, I agree with you that there are good reasons for most people to use safety devices. They may improve their chances of survival even though the chance of dying--depending on an individual's skill and circumstances--varies and may be relatively low regardless of wearing a helmet.


The economist within me asks, "What's the tradeoff between various forms* of protection and various preferences defined by one's opportunity cost**?"
*(e.g. improving one's skills in cycling/driving, wearing a helmet, and/or learning to pay more attention to the road, etc.)
**(e.g. flowing hair in the wind, more comfort, 20% coolness--visually and physiologically, not worrying about the helmet being stolen, not having to risk paying for another helmet, and/or not having to lug a helmet with you throughout the day, etc).

    As "society," we don't know that answer, and neither do you because this tradeoff is subjectively perceived by millions of individuals and varies all the time. It's extremely complex, yet the one-size-fits-all laws and obtuse statistics pay no heed to this process.

So how can we discover the optimal tradeoff? By allowing people to make that tradeoff for him or herself, but of course feel free to advertise in favor of helmets. I wear mine all the time because my opportunity cost = significant loss of future profit from brain damage. (My profit = future prestige, capability to learn, write, earn money, make jokes, etc.--who knows what I may lose with the possibility of brain damage?) I won't risk it, but others may have lower or different opportunity costs. I acknowledge that I am in no position to dismiss their opportunity costs; however, some ITT (you, AAFitz) are being presumptuous by not acknowledging this.

Besides, the market has companies which will advertise--and beg--for people to buy their helmets. This is the profit motive at work. It aligns self-interest into complementing the general interest (a.k.a. Adam Smith's Invisible Hand).

And here's another thing about law and economics. Without a helmet mandate, then individual preferences for more coolness and whatever are allowed to be revealed. Entrepreneurs, who are seeking profits through helmet-production, now have the incentive to discover these preferences and then create cool-looking helmets which consumers are free to choose at a price. However, with a mandatory helmet law, those preferences are quashed*, thus the profit opportunity remains hidden or constrained.

Entreprenurs are still free to come out with any helmet design they can think of, subject to certain safety standards, with a mandate in place. They can design for any level of coolness they like so long as their product is fit for purpose, just like any other product must be fit for purpose. It doesn't restrict the economy and arguing from an economic angle makes no sense at all unless you can show somehow that the economic cost to society of the extra damage done by accidents involving riders without helmets because the rider wasn't wearing a helmet, notably brain damage and psychological trauma, is less than the economic cost to society of people who wouldn't otherwise wear one having to have helmets. As helmets are a low cost item, and brain damage patients often need lifelong care costing many many thousands, and therapy for psychological damage can also get very expensive if required long term, without proper research I believe that the cost of helmets for the objectors would be less overall.

*(Of course, those who break the law can reveal their preferences, but this is beside the point.)

    Before we jump up and support a prohibition against Not Wearing Helmets, we should really consider the capabilities of the market, the unintended consequences, the extreme limit of one's knowledge of other people's preferences, the special interest groups who may benefit from that law (police, city governments through police tickets, local Business Bureaus), the politicians, and the judges. Most importantly, we should reflect upon the opportunities that we may lose.

    Instead, some loud minority insists upon Helmet Laws, and--get this--"for the common good." And, that law gets passed. Which sounds better? To me, it's the former, cautious argument, but this latter argument--wrapped in the guise of common good--usually fails to acknowledge what it tramples underneath.

So, taken all together, plus the other objections mentioned earlier (TG's for instance), it doesn't seem you have much of an argument here--other than repeating essentially the same argument. We can choose to live in a freer society and allow others to benefit each other on a voluntary basis--free of unnecessary government intervention. Or we can overlook all these opportunities and all of those individual preferences by staunchly supporting another mindless law.

I'm in favor of a freer society, are you?

/thread
edit3: (replace key terms, apply this to other threads, and /thread those threads).


TGs arguments are "it's just an excuse for the cops to give out tickets and make money" and "if we legislate public safety for this then we should legislate it for everything which could cause self-harm". The second one fails because as can be shown there is the risk of substantially greater harm to others through no fault of their own if involved in the death of someone becaus they weren't wearing a helmet. It's not just about damage to the rider themselves. The first one fails for much the same reason. If it can be shown that you are risking the health of anyone else who has not agreed to take that risk themselves, then the law can and should be used to prevent that. When using a public highway the reasonable assumption is that all of the other users will have taken sensible precautions both in the way they use the highway, and in the protection they have adopted should this inherently risky activity go wrong for whatever reason, like wearing a seatbelt or turning on lights at night, or wearing a helmet if on a bike (motorised or not).
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 1:35 pm

crispybits wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
crispybits wrote:
If I'm doing 50mph in a 60mph limit I can think of several roads within 5 miles of my house where a cyclist could come out of nowhere with no notice from a side track and I wouldn't be able to stop in time. I would have been driving perfectly reasonably and the blame for the accident would be entirely with the cyclist. Would that make everything peachy if the cyclist died? Hardly.

Also, I can think of several ways of dressing that are highly offensive to one's visual senses, and to the visual senses of everyone else. "Because I think I look like an idiot" is not a valid objection to not wearing something that could prevent your death when partaking in a risky activity on a public highway. There are good reasons for rules and regulations on the roads, and cyclists shouldn't be any more immune to that than motorcyclists having to wear a helmet, or drivers having to wear a seatbelt.



So by using an extreme particular case, you somewhat can support your stance which applies to all cases? I don't find that convincing.
Insurance (even in the form of helmets) lowers the costs of riskier behavior.

No, by using an example of several individual road/track patterns that I can think of off the top of my head in a small area that's not particularly different from other small areas up and down the country both urban and rural in nature in places I can make a valid extrapolation that there are literally hundreds or thousands of places where it is possible for a car being driven perfectly reasonably for the road conditions to hit a cyclist and it be the cyclists fault entirely if that cycle is not being ridden safely. I also have eidence that even when someone is blameless, being involved in the death of another human being has a profound psychological impact that in some cases is never recovered from. By not wearing a helmet and by taking any risk at all on a public highway you are causing potential damage to other's property (their cars) and their health. As there is no such thing as totally risk free riding or driving on a public highway, then the morally correct stance for everyone using a public highway is to take appropriate measures to reduce the risk of injury in every reasonable way when doing so. Wearing a helmet is not unreasonable. If I was suggesting thousand dollar airbag suits that inflate upon impact then that would be unreasonable. A helmet that costs a small fraction of the cost of the bike, much like lights that cost a similar amount if riding in the dark, is a reasonable measure.

"Because I look like an idiot" isn't the only objection of the millions of people affected by the law, and that straw man fallacy fails to portray how people perceive their profit and opportunity cost. Nor have you succeeded in defending your incorrect analogy.

OK, apart from "because I think I look like an idiot", "because I like the feeling of wind in my hair" and "because I just don't want to" I haven't seen any argument why wearing a helmet on the public highway is unreasonable. And those objections themselves are unreasonable when compared to the proper application of minor inconvenience for a large risk reduction both of serious harm to oneself and of serious harm to others.

    Sure, I agree with you that there are good reasons for most people to use safety devices. They may improve their chances of survival even though the chance of dying--depending on an individual's skill and circumstances--varies and may be relatively low regardless of wearing a helmet.


The economist within me asks, "What's the tradeoff between various forms* of protection and various preferences defined by one's opportunity cost**?"
*(e.g. improving one's skills in cycling/driving, wearing a helmet, and/or learning to pay more attention to the road, etc.)
**(e.g. flowing hair in the wind, more comfort, 20% coolness--visually and physiologically, not worrying about the helmet being stolen, not having to risk paying for another helmet, and/or not having to lug a helmet with you throughout the day, etc).

    As "society," we don't know that answer, and neither do you because this tradeoff is subjectively perceived by millions of individuals and varies all the time. It's extremely complex, yet the one-size-fits-all laws and obtuse statistics pay no heed to this process.

So how can we discover the optimal tradeoff? By allowing people to make that tradeoff for him or herself, but of course feel free to advertise in favor of helmets. I wear mine all the time because my opportunity cost = significant loss of future profit from brain damage. (My profit = future prestige, capability to learn, write, earn money, make jokes, etc.--who knows what I may lose with the possibility of brain damage?) I won't risk it, but others may have lower or different opportunity costs. I acknowledge that I am in no position to dismiss their opportunity costs; however, some ITT (you, AAFitz) are being presumptuous by not acknowledging this.

Besides, the market has companies which will advertise--and beg--for people to buy their helmets. This is the profit motive at work. It aligns self-interest into complementing the general interest (a.k.a. Adam Smith's Invisible Hand).

And here's another thing about law and economics. Without a helmet mandate, then individual preferences for more coolness and whatever are allowed to be revealed. Entrepreneurs, who are seeking profits through helmet-production, now have the incentive to discover these preferences and then create cool-looking helmets which consumers are free to choose at a price. However, with a mandatory helmet law, those preferences are quashed*, thus the profit opportunity remains hidden or constrained.

Entreprenurs are still free to come out with any helmet design they can think of, subject to certain safety standards, with a mandate in place. They can design for any level of coolness they like so long as their product is fit for purpose, just like any other product must be fit for purpose. It doesn't restrict the economy and arguing from an economic angle makes no sense at all unless you can show somehow that the economic cost to society of the extra damage done by accidents involving riders without helmets because the rider wasn't wearing a helmet, notably brain damage and psychological trauma, is less than the economic cost to society of people who wouldn't otherwise wear one having to have helmets. As helmets are a low cost item, and brain damage patients often need lifelong care costing many many thousands, and therapy for psychological damage can also get very expensive if required long term, without proper research I believe that the cost of helmets for the objectors would be less overall.

*(Of course, those who break the law can reveal their preferences, but this is beside the point.)

    Before we jump up and support a prohibition against Not Wearing Helmets, we should really consider the capabilities of the market, the unintended consequences, the extreme limit of one's knowledge of other people's preferences, the special interest groups who may benefit from that law (police, city governments through police tickets, local Business Bureaus), the politicians, and the judges. Most importantly, we should reflect upon the opportunities that we may lose.

    Instead, some loud minority insists upon Helmet Laws, and--get this--"for the common good." And, that law gets passed. Which sounds better? To me, it's the former, cautious argument, but this latter argument--wrapped in the guise of common good--usually fails to acknowledge what it tramples underneath.

So, taken all together, plus the other objections mentioned earlier (TG's for instance), it doesn't seem you have much of an argument here--other than repeating essentially the same argument. We can choose to live in a freer society and allow others to benefit each other on a voluntary basis--free of unnecessary government intervention. Or we can overlook all these opportunities and all of those individual preferences by staunchly supporting another mindless law.

I'm in favor of a freer society, are you?

/thread
edit3: (replace key terms, apply this to other threads, and /thread those threads).


TGs arguments are "it's just an excuse for the cops to give out tickets and make money" and "if we legislate public safety for this then we should legislate it for everything which could cause self-harm". The second one fails because as can be shown there is the risk of substantially greater harm to others through no fault of their own if involved in the death of someone becaus they weren't wearing a helmet. It's not just about damage to the rider themselves. The first one fails for much the same reason. If it can be shown that you are risking the health of anyone else who has not agreed to take that risk themselves, then the law can and should be used to prevent that. When using a public highway the reasonable assumption is that all of the other users will have taken sensible precautions both in the way they use the highway, and in the protection they have adopted should this inherently risky activity go wrong for whatever reason, like wearing a seatbelt or turning on lights at night, or wearing a helmet if on a bike (motorised or not).


Nevertheless, by using an extreme particular case, you can't support your stance which applies to all cases. Therefore, this post still holds.

I've already listed more than your straw man argument and more than your other two new additions to it, so omitting relevant points isn't a good counter-argument.

RE: the entrepreneurs, sure, but that's for a particular market. After seeing so many people not wear helmets in a place which has helmet laws, then it's obvious that the price of a helmet has not sufficiently offset their benefits of not wearing one. Looks like more entrepreneurial work needs to be done, so your argument doesn't hold here.

RE: cops, business bureaus, and politicians. TG's point is still valid, and you're not really convincing anyone here by ignoring those three groups' profit-motives, so the public choice argument here holds.

RE: underlined, if we apply that argument consistently, we get unnecessary, constraining laws. Of course, if you're a state socialist, then this may be fine.

Basically, since you greatly perceive the benefits while heavily discounting the costs (and omit relevant points), then we can conclude that you oppose a freer society and favor an imagined* better, state socialist society.

    *Apparently, you believe that you know the optimal tradeoff. Very presumptuous of you and totally nonsensical, but a state socialist couldn't have done it better.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:16 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:Nevertheless, by using an extreme particular case, you can't support your stance which applies to all cases. Therefore, this post still holds.

I've already listed more than your straw man argument and more than your other two new additions to it, so omitting relevant points isn't a good counter-argument.

RE: the entrepreneurs, sure, but that's for a particular market. After seeing so many people not wear helmets in a place which has helmet laws, then it's obvious that the price of a helmet has not sufficiently offset their benefits of not wearing one. Looks like more entrepreneurial work needs to be done, so your argument doesn't hold here.

RE: cops, business bureaus, and politicians. TG's point is still valid, and you're not really convincing anyone here by ignoring those three groups' profit-motives, so the public choice argument here holds.

RE: underlined, if we apply that argument consistently, we get unnecessary, constraining laws. Of course, if you're a state socialist, then this may be fine.

Basically, since you greatly perceive the benefits while heavily discounting the costs (and omit relevant points), then we can conclude that you oppose a freer society and favor an imagined* better, state socialist society.

    *Apparently, you believe that you know the optimal tradeoff. Very presumptuous of you and totally nonsensical, but a state socialist couldn't have done it better.


I've never claimed to be in favour of a completely free society with no rules whatsoever, but your strawman of saying I want a socialist state where everything is regulated to the hilt is just as much of a strawman as anything I've put forward. My position is, that when partaking of activities with inherent risk of harm to others, the morally correct decision is to take all reasonable steps to reduce that risk of harm. Wearing a helmet is a reasonable step. In the absence of people being willing to take those reasonable steps themselves, then government should legislate to enforce that reasonable step. On a public highway we already have laws, like speed limits, or turning lights on in the dark, or many others, that are based on this very philosophy. To argue that a further reasonable measure should not be imposed because it may cause minor inconvenience despite the facts showing it can have a significant impact is not a sound position.

To argue against the known facts that wearing one significantly reduces the risk of serious harm to others, you have to show that the downsides of wearing a helmet, for the average, reasonable person, is greater than the downsides of not wearing one. The downsides of not wearing one is that you risk significant harm to yourself and more importantly to others. The downsides of wearing one is a bit of minor inconvenience and cost, similar to having to buy lights for the bike if you are riding in the dark, and having to carry a very lightweight helmet with you for a small time. If the risks were only to the rider themselves and nobody else was affected then sure, let the people that don't value their brains or their lives do what they want, but when they are risking the health of others by refusing a reasonable measure like a fairly cheap helmet then that is not reasonable.

Entrepreneurial work is not the only driver in a society. To argue that because people sometimes choose not to do something despite laws to the contrary means that more entrepreneurial work needs to be done is flawed, because it could mean that more educational work needs to be done, or more correctional (as in cops/punishment) work needs to be done. Because the free market hasn't adopted something 100% does not invalidate any argument for that thing. People are still free to produce any design of helmet they like so long as it is fit for purpose, and in that way there is no restraint of freedom by enforcing a helmet law, much like the fact anyone can build any design of TV they like as long as it is fit for purpose doesn't restrict anyone's freedom to watch TV.

I would be arguing against "safety" measures that had no significant safety benefits but were income generators if the government tried to enforce them. To enforce a safety measure that is demonstrably both effective and low cost is not the government trying to generate income, it is the government enforcing public safety. Whether you like it or TG likes it or not, part of the government's current remit is to protect the population. If someone is riding on a public highway without a helmet they could cause me significant harm through no fault of my own. Just like if I drive my car with no lights I could cause significant harm to someone else. Or would you say that I should be allowed to drive at night without my lights on as a matter of my own free choice, I mean streetlights mean I can see where I'm going just fine, why should I turn those lights on and waste my battery power just to satisfy that damn nanny state?

Freedom isn't ever absolute. We all have a lot of freedom right now, but with that comes social rules and responsibilities. I am free to eat undercooked chicken if I want, or to serve undercooked chicken within my house in a private gathering, but I am not free to serve that undercooked chicken to other members of the public in a public forum. I am free to walk naked around my own house if I choose, but if I walk in the public streets I am required to wear clothes. In exactly the same way, I am free to drive any vehicle in any state I want on private ground, but if I want to drive on public highways that vehicle, and me myself, must pass certain safety standards (the vehicle must have bumpers, I must be sober, etc). Bicycles are a vehicle, therefore reasonable safety legislation for those vehicles and their riders is not socialist state meddling, but a simple and logical extension of the principles of road safety that are well established.

Your total fre market anarchic society is a flawed dream BBS, and to keep using it as the solution for everything ever is not appropriate. Society needs some rules and regulations. I am all for minimal rules and regulations, I want small government, but you can't just shout "free market forces!" whenever arguing against anything which asserts any level of control, however reasonable, and expect it to hold water.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:39 pm

crispybits wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:Nevertheless, by using an extreme particular case, you can't support your stance which applies to all cases. Therefore, this post still holds.

I've already listed more than your straw man argument and more than your other two new additions to it, so omitting relevant points isn't a good counter-argument.

RE: the entrepreneurs, sure, but that's for a particular market. After seeing so many people not wear helmets in a place which has helmet laws, then it's obvious that the price of a helmet has not sufficiently offset their benefits of not wearing one. Looks like more entrepreneurial work needs to be done, so your argument doesn't hold here.

RE: cops, business bureaus, and politicians. TG's point is still valid, and you're not really convincing anyone here by ignoring those three groups' profit-motives, so the public choice argument here holds.

RE: underlined, if we apply that argument consistently, we get unnecessary, constraining laws. Of course, if you're a state socialist, then this may be fine.

Basically, since you greatly perceive the benefits while heavily discounting the costs (and omit relevant points), then we can conclude that you oppose a freer society and favor an imagined* better, state socialist society.

    *Apparently, you believe that you know the optimal tradeoff. Very presumptuous of you and totally nonsensical, but a state socialist couldn't have done it better.


I've never claimed to be in favour of a completely free society with no rules whatsoever, but your strawman of saying I want a socialist state where everything is regulated to the hilt is just as much of a strawman as anything I've put forward. My position is, that when partaking of activities with inherent risk of harm to others, the morally correct decision is to take all reasonable steps to reduce that risk of harm. Wearing a helmet is a reasonable step. In the absence of people being willing to take those reasonable steps themselves, then government should legislate to enforce that reasonable step. On a public highway we already have laws, like speed limits, or turning lights on in the dark, or many others, that are based on this very philosophy. To argue that a further reasonable measure should not be imposed because it may cause minor inconvenience despite the facts showing it can have a significant impact is not a sound position.

To argue against the known facts that wearing one significantly reduces the risk of serious harm to others, you have to show that the downsides of wearing a helmet, for the average, reasonable person, is greater than the downsides of not wearing one. The downsides of not wearing one is that you risk significant harm to yourself and more importantly to others. The downsides of wearing one is a bit of minor inconvenience and cost, similar to having to buy lights for the bike if you are riding in the dark, and having to carry a very lightweight helmet with you for a small time. If the risks were only to the rider themselves and nobody else was affected then sure, let the people that don't value their brains or their lives do what they want, but when they are risking the health of others by refusing a reasonable measure like a fairly cheap helmet then that is not reasonable.

Entrepreneurial work is not the only driver in a society. To argue that because people sometimes choose not to do something despite laws to the contrary means that more entrepreneurial work needs to be done is flawed, because it could mean that more educational work needs to be done, or more correctional (as in cops/punishment) work needs to be done. Because the free market hasn't adopted something 100% does not invalidate any argument for that thing. People are still free to produce any design of helmet they like so long as it is fit for purpose, and in that way there is no restraint of freedom by enforcing a helmet law, much like the fact anyone can build any design of TV they like as long as it is fit for purpose doesn't restrict anyone's freedom to watch TV.

I would be arguing against "safety" measures that had no significant safety benefits but were income generators if the government tried to enforce them. To enforce a safety measure that is demonstrably both effective and low cost is not the government trying to generate income, it is the government enforcing public safety. Whether you like it or TG likes it or not, part of the government's current remit is to protect the population. If someone is riding on a public highway without a helmet they could cause me significant harm through no fault of my own. Just like if I drive my car with no lights I could cause significant harm to someone else. Or would you say that I should be allowed to drive at night without my lights on as a matter of my own free choice, I mean streetlights mean I can see where I'm going just fine, why should I turn those lights on and waste my battery power just to satisfy that damn nanny state?

Freedom isn't ever absolute. We all have a lot of freedom right now, but with that comes social rules and responsibilities. I am free to eat undercooked chicken if I want, or to serve undercooked chicken within my house in a private gathering, but I am not free to serve that undercooked chicken to other members of the public in a public forum. I am free to walk naked around my own house if I choose, but if I walk in the public streets I am required to wear clothes. In exactly the same way, I am free to drive any vehicle in any state I want on private ground, but if I want to drive on public highways that vehicle, and me myself, must pass certain safety standards (the vehicle must have bumpers, I must be sober, etc). Bicycles are a vehicle, therefore reasonable safety legislation for those vehicles and their riders is not socialist state meddling, but a simple and logical extension of the principles of road safety that are well established.

Your total fre market anarchic society is a flawed dream BBS, and to keep using it as the solution for everything ever is not appropriate. Society needs some rules and regulations. I am all for minimal rules and regulations, I want small government, but you can't just shout "free market forces!" whenever arguing against anything which asserts any level of control, however reasonable, and expect it to hold water.


Earlier you were berating TGD about not having a sound defense for some ideal position, but you've completely failed to hold yourself up to your own standard. I'm just sayin that you need to recognize the limits of your position, we have already mentioned the problems with the statistics, and you need to recognize the actual process through which your ideal laws are crafted and enforced.

If you neglect this, then you'll keep running into poor outcomes. That line of reasoning simply reinforces the ever-expanding nation-states and in no way does it limit government. You're not going to get your supposed goal of small government if you fail to hold yourself to your own standards of defending your ideal while neglecting the limits of your ability to know what is best for everyone and to recognize the actual, social processes at play.

RE: the rest. Rules and regulation do not only originate from the state.
Last edited by BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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