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Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby AAFitz on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:42 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
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.


Nah...you're the one ignoring the details of the situation and just creating some perfect entrepreneurial fantasy land, not the other way around.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Frigidus on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:48 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
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.


I wouldn't say that it overlooks anything, although I would certainly say that we use a different metric to judge a situation. I judge a law by the measurable pros and cons of the end result, not by society's or various individual's perceptions. I also don't try to fit market forces into every political or philosophical situations. The biking law results in less injuries and deaths to bikers, biking becomes slightly more inconvenient overall, and some bikers are annoyed. For me, the pros far outweigh the cons.

As for TG's stance, I agree that punishment outside of a monetary fine is warranted. Flat monetary fines are inherently flawed, as they tend to punish the poor more than the rich. I'd much prefer we use a different system of punishment (public service and eventual revoking of privileges would be ideal). The flawed implementation of a law by a corrupt government does not reflect poorly on the law itself.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby TA1LGUNN3R on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:49 pm

crispy wrote: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).


What do you mean by this? Like, if the bicyclist crashes because a car didn't see him? That would be a risk that you take every time you take your bike out. Indeed, as motorcycle rider, I recognize that the greatest threat to my safety is the lessened visibility I have and the greater chance that somebody's going to hit me rather than operator failure on my part.

Again, maybe I'm missing something, but if I'm not wearing a helmet and decide to do the ragdoll routine, wearing a helmet isn't going to protect anybody but me.

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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:58 pm

Frigidus wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:
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.


I wouldn't say that it overlooks anything, although I would certainly say that we use a different metric to judge a situation. I judge a law by the measurable pros and cons of the end result, not by society's or various individual's perceptions. I also don't try to fit market forces into every political or philosophical situations. The biking law results in less injuries and deaths to bikers, biking becomes slightly more inconvenient overall, and some bikers are annoyed. For me, the pros far outweigh the cons.

As for TG's stance, I agree that punishment outside of a monetary fine is warranted. Flat monetary fines are inherently flawed, as they tend to punish the poor more than the rich. I'd much prefer we use a different system of punishment (public service and eventual revoking of privileges would be ideal). The flawed implementation of a law by a corrupt government does not reflect poorly on the law itself.


So, subsidize that corrupt government by supporting the laws which feed it? Makes sense!

RE: underlined, oh, then you'll continue have problems with your position, which you're not bothering to defend (e.g. overlooking problems with the statistics which Haggis has already mentioned). Given this, you don't have an argument here.

Why can't people recognize the limits of their presumptuous positions? 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.

The flawed implementation of a law by a corrupt government does not reflect poorly on the law itself.
The law itself shall remain perfect within your imagination. The rest of us would rather not feed the corrupt government to begin with. Makes more sense than supporting an ideal law and running it through a corrupted system--while expecting good outcomes.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:20 pm

BBS wrote: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.


No, earlier I criticised the fact that TGD was proposing an idea, but seemed unwilling to back that idea up with further explanation, clarification and such like. I'm trying to expand on my ideas in as far as I understand any of the criticisms or objections. Sometimes I still haven't understood the ciriticism correctly, but you cannot claim that I'm throwing out one liners here.

Re: the one liner, rules of government built, maintained and regulated public highways do. There are other optional informal conventions and courtesies, but the actual rules all come from the state, and in the event of an incident it is these that are considered, not the informal social conventions and courtesies.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:24 pm

And BBS, your presumption is that an anarcho-free market would be better in all cases. You don't seem to recognise the blatant problms with that position in any of your posts.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:28 pm

TA1LGUNN3R wrote:
crispy wrote: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).


What do you mean by this? Like, if the bicyclist crashes because a car didn't see him? That would be a risk that you take every time you take your bike out. Indeed, as motorcycle rider, I recognize that the greatest threat to my safety is the lessened visibility I have and the greater chance that somebody's going to hit me rather than operator failure on my part.

Again, maybe I'm missing something, but if I'm not wearing a helmet and decide to do the ragdoll routine, wearing a helmet isn't going to protect anybody but me.

-TG


As I've said, if I, as a driver, hit and kill a cyclist because the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and the cyclist does something compeltely stupid that I could not reasonabloy be expected to predict or expect, then I am not at fault for the accident. But would that make the psychological damage of knowing that I have played a part in killing another human being disappear? Would I just shrug and go "well it was his own fault" and carry on as before, or would I maybe suffer from doubt and trauma myself knowing that I've been involved in the death of another person? Our actions have consequences on others, intentional or not, and refusing reasonable and minor inconvenience that puts other people at risk of significant damage (however unlikely) is unreasonable, selfish and should be enforced against. Just like I have to have lights in the dark.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:30 pm

crispybits wrote:
BBS wrote:No, earlier I criticised the fact that TGD was proposing an idea, but seemed unwilling to back that idea up with further explanation, clarification and such like. I'm trying to expand on my ideas in as far as I understand any of the criticisms or objections. Sometimes I still haven't understood the ciriticism correctly, but you cannot claim that I'm throwing out one liners here.

Re: the one liner, rules of government built, maintained and regulated public highways do. There are other optional informal conventions and courtesies, but the actual rules all come from the state, and in the event of an incident it is these that are considered, not the informal social conventions and courtesies.


No, they don't.

Here's a reading list:

Ellickson - Order without Law
Ostrom - Governing the Commons
Bamyeh - Anarchy as Order
Scott - The Art of Not Being Governed
Anderson and Hill - The Not So Wild Wild West
Stringham - Anarchy and the Law

And, here's more on rules, law, and order (whether it be centrally planned, i.e. statist, or not):
Hayek - Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 1: Rules and Order
North - Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance


@TGD: I've read 4/8 of them. Currently working on Order without Law.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:33 pm

Can you give an example of a rule of a public highway that is enforcable that does not come from legislation? (note, not one that started as something other than legislation, but something that can be enforced by someone without there being any legislation)
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:38 pm

crispybits wrote:And BBS, your presumption is that an anarcho-free market would be better in all cases. You don't seem to recognise the blatant problms with that position in any of your posts.


Actually, I don't, but I know which areas to look at and how to examine them. You, AAFitz, and Frigidus (Mets, Sym, JB, etc.) do not--or sometimes outright refuse to, which is funny but sad.

I'll keep highlighting all the holes in your argument, and point how your position at times is counterproductive to your goals of having a smaller government.

RE: italicized, I'm very cognizant of the problems with market anarchy, but I hardly ever have that conversation with people on here--Usually because I have to start with the basics and get people to understand what are markets exactly, why they should appreciate them, what's wrong with the political process, what's wrong with imagining the "common good" and assuming certain problems away, etc. etc. etc.

Some people aren't ready for a freer society because critical thinking is costly and rhetoric/unchallenged beliefs are cheaper.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:50 pm

I don't want a smaller government at any cost though. I am more than happy for government to be involved in welfare and healthcare, security/safety and defence, and state education provision, plus enforcing things like contract law mediation and settlement during disputes. I think that government is best placed to ensure that the populaton in general is provided with certain basic levels of all of these things. I also think that some of these require legislation to be effective. So arguing for laws that provide these basics for all is in no way counter-productive to my aim of small government, becuase the things I think government should not be involved in fall outside of these categories (for example arts funding and sports funding outside of the educational system to name but one)
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:05 pm

crispybits wrote:Can you give an example of a rule of a public highway that is enforcable that does not come from legislation? (note, not one that started as something other than legislation, but something that can be enforced by someone without there being any legislation)


If you want such an example, then the first thing that comes to mind is this: the informal rules which develop and are enforced at 4-way stops.

The law says, "come to a full halt at a stop sign, and yield to the person on your right."

But hardly anyone does this. It usually involves a rolling stop while coordinating with the person across from you to go at the same time--after the other side on the left and right has moved. Enforcement can come about through facial expressions of disdain/pleasure, honking, or vulgar body language. If not there, it can occur outside the situation (e.g. my talking about this can make others more aware of the informal rules at play, thus allowing them to coordinate their behavior more smoothly with others--which reduces conflict/lack of coordination.

None of this required legislation or any central planning. It's an example of spontaneous order and informal rules.

And, regardless of this order, cops occasionally give tickets to people who slow down yet roll through the stop. It's stupid for cops to do this because their enforcement is unnecessary from our perpsective, but from their perspective it's completely rational: (1) Durr, uphold teh law at all costs, which incurs little cost on me; (2) tickets make me look good to my superiors, and (3) the superiors want to expand their budget--which helps to explain why their profit motive may not be in line with the general interest.


The main problem is that many people are completely unaware of how many rules upon which they rely, and that these rules do not originate nor are enforced by the state. Instead, many uninformed voters support policies which quash or conflict with these avenues of social coordination and development.





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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:07 pm

crispybits wrote:I don't want a smaller government at any cost though. I am more than happy for government to be involved in welfare and healthcare, security/safety and defence, and state education provision, plus enforcing things like contract law mediation and settlement during disputes. I think that government is best placed to ensure that the populaton in general is provided with certain basic levels of all of these things. I also think that some of these require legislation to be effective. So arguing for laws that provide these basics for all is in no way counter-productive to my aim of small government, becuase the things I think government should not be involved in fall outside of these categories (for example arts funding and sports funding outside of the educational system to name but one)


Haha, your definition of "smaller government" is amusing. Those are worthy goals, but the political process rewards people into avenues which expand the state and increase collusion between government and 'big business'. In other words, you can't have your cake and eat it.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:22 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:
crispybits wrote:Can you give an example of a rule of a public highway that is enforcable that does not come from legislation? (note, not one that started as something other than legislation, but something that can be enforced by someone without there being any legislation)


If you want such an example, then the first thing that comes to mind is this: the informal rules which develop and are enforced at 4-way stops.

The law says, "come to a full halt at a stop sign, and yield to the person on your right."

But hardly anyone does this. It usually involves a rolling stop while coordinating with the person across from you to go at the same time--after the other side on the left and right has moved. Enforcement can come about through facial expressions of disdain/pleasure, honking, or vulgar body language. If not there, it can occur outside the situation (e.g. my talking about this can make others more aware of the informal rules at play, thus allowing them to coordinate their behavior more smoothly with others--which reduces conflict/lack of coordination.

None of this required legislation or any central planning. It's an example of spontaneous order and informal rules.

And, regardless of this order, cops occasionally give tickets to people who slow down yet roll through the stop. It's stupid for cops to do this because their enforcement is unnecessary from our perpsective, but from their perspective it's completely rational: (1) Durr, uphold teh law at all costs, which incurs little cost on me; (2) tickets make me look good to my superiors, and (3) the superiors want to expand their budget--which helps to explain why their profit motive may not be in line with the general interest.


The main problem is that many people are completely unaware of how many rules upon which they rely, and that these rules do not originate nor are enforced by the state. Instead, many uninformed voters support policies which quash or conflict with these avenues of social coordination and development.





Hayek's Constitution of Liberty (wiki, pdf)

Hayek's Law, Legislation, and Liberty. (wiki and torrent/pay for it).


That doesn't demonstrate what I asked for, as in an enforcable rule that isn't enforced by legislation. That comes under the category convention/courtesy.

I happily admit that there are conventions and courtesies, but in the event of an incident then the law is what is fallen back on to determine fault, to determine what is enforced.

As for the rolling stop thing, yes the police often do take an authoritarian rather than common sense approach, but people would soon be complaining if the police were inconsistent too. Either you have laws and disobeying them is punished regardless of context, or yu open a whole can of worms where you can be punished one day for doing something in front of the police, and not the next day. At least with the by the book approach you know where you stand at all times.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:31 pm

Yeah, the rule is

(1) disobey the Law by rolling through the stop sign while coordinating with others so that you don't hit them.

It's enforced through: Enforcement can come about through facial expressions of disdain/pleasure, honking, or vulgar body language. If not there, it can occur outside the situation (e.g. my talking about this can make others more aware of the informal rules at play, thus allowing them to coordinate their behavior more smoothly with others--which reduces conflict/lack of coordination.

None of that requires legislation.

Your requirements have been met. "OH, but what about car accidents? Who's the Law there?" Okay, different circumstances and shifting standards? See:


Note: Informal rules aren't codified, but they still exist and don't rely upon the state, which in many cases quashes those informal rules and/or impose formal rules which create conflict and/or undermine coordination.

Note: enforcement doesn't always entail the coercive power of the state (which seems to be your implicit requirement here). The Not So Wild Wild West provides many details of rule enforcement by the use/threat of violence--by the state and by non-state actors. Governing the Commons provides many examples of common-pool resources and the local groups of people enforcing their rules through "soft" coercion, conversation, and outright coercion---none of which required the State, which ruled over these political areas. So read those if you're interested.

(I hope that implicit requirement of yours is not actually yours because it's a self-serving yet incorrect assumption.)
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:56 pm

The "enforcement" you describe doesn't enforce anything on a public highway. It expresses disapproval. If I drive like a loon and many people honk their horns at me and pull faces and shout and make gestures what exactly have they enforced on me? Your examples are flawed.

The rule "roll through a stop sign" is enforced by a policeman stopping you and dealing out the relevant punishment above and beyond what any normal citizen could do. No normal citizen could force me to stop, fine me and/or add points to my license. Sometimes there is no policeman there to enforce it, but if there is that is how it is enforced. Not by someone calling me names or waving a finger.

I may well read the book, though tbh this subject and this conversation as a whole bores me witless. I have made my statement, and the objections you have come up with I think are compeltely irrelevant. Maybe I'm wrong, but your solution doesn't seem to me to actually solve anything. It just means that we all wag our fingers at each other and if someone doesn't give a crap then they will continue to break rules with no meaningful enforcement of those rules at all. Your system relies on people adhering to social conventions, but those social conventions are never made properly clear to all, so how anyone can expect to follow a set of rules that is constantly shifting and never codified for the benefit of the society as a whole I just don't get. We'll probably just have to agree to disagree unless you can show how anyone can be expected to follow such a system reliably and effectively.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby TA1LGUNN3R on Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:52 pm

crispybits wrote:
TA1LGUNN3R wrote:
crispy wrote: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).


What do you mean by this? Like, if the bicyclist crashes because a car didn't see him? That would be a risk that you take every time you take your bike out. Indeed, as motorcycle rider, I recognize that the greatest threat to my safety is the lessened visibility I have and the greater chance that somebody's going to hit me rather than operator failure on my part.

Again, maybe I'm missing something, but if I'm not wearing a helmet and decide to do the ragdoll routine, wearing a helmet isn't going to protect anybody but me.

-TG


As I've said, if I, as a driver, hit and kill a cyclist because the cyclist was not wearing a helmet and the cyclist does something compeltely stupid that I could not reasonabloy be expected to predict or expect, then I am not at fault for the accident. But would that make the psychological damage of knowing that I have played a part in killing another human being disappear? Would I just shrug and go "well it was his own fault" and carry on as before, or would I maybe suffer from doubt and trauma myself knowing that I've been involved in the death of another person? Our actions have consequences on others, intentional or not, and refusing reasonable and minor inconvenience that puts other people at risk of significant damage (however unlikely) is unreasonable, selfish and should be enforced against. Just like I have to have lights in the dark.


Ah. Thank you for clarifying.

I guess that's your opinion, but that's a bit of a silly justification. 1) Like I said, that's a risk you take when driving/biking (or hell, just walking around town on the sidewalk of a city street). 2) There are innumerable other instances where this potential guilt could apply and would be similar yet laws pertinent to them aren't enacted.

If your position comes down to enforcing habits upon people because you fear the unwarranted effects on your ego, then perhaps your premise should be checked.

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

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:05 pm

1) I take the informed risk of driving under the assumption that other road users will take all reasonable precautions when they use the road too. I wear a seatbelt, use my lights in the dark, etc etc because it is the morally responsible thing to do in order to minimise harm to myslf and others in the event that something goes wrong.

2) Because there are other examples of something being wrong exist, does that mean we shouldn't try to deal with this one? That's like saying that because other people are getting murdered, we shouldn't bother investigating this murder.

My position comes down to the fact that whilst using public highways, everyone has a responsibility to take every reasonable step minimise the damage to themselves and others if things go wrong. And while my example may be a rare case, so are the cases where people run red lights or drive at night with no lights. The rarity of the event is not a reason to say we don't need to take reasonable precautions against that event or to mitigate the damage caused by that event when the repurcusions of that event are potential significant harm to oneself or to others. It doesn't matter if that harm is physical or psychological, the moral thing to do is to take precautions.

And in the absence of moral behaviour, where there is a risk to public safety, it is the government's job to enforce moral behaviour through legislation.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:07 pm

crispybits wrote:The "enforcement" you describe doesn't enforce anything on a public highway. It expresses disapproval. If I drive like a loon and many people honk their horns at me and pull faces and shout and make gestures what exactly have they enforced on me? Your examples are flawed.


Although the enforcement which I'm describing may be ineffective for some individuals, it isn't ineffective in all cases, and it does influence one's decision-making so that they may comply with the informal rules.

If everyone everyday only honked at you for a particular behavior of yours, then this would incur a cost on your particular action. Whatever that cost may be, it's still a cost and is still relevant to your profit-maximization. You'll respond accordingly--however that they may be, but nonetheless we can sit back and examine the informal rules (a) affecting your behavior, and (b) in x-amount of cases being enforced--however effective or ineffective they may be.

For example, when people on the fora say something really bigoted, in all cases they are not banned. There exists informal rules held and enforced by many. One informal rule does not condone bigotry, while another approves of non-bigoted speech. Based on these rules, people respond accordingly, either in the form of support or disapproval. Those responses are part-and-parcel of monitoring and enforcement.

This subforum, Off-Topics, is a fine example of the role of formal and informal rules and the various enforcement and monitoring mechanisms at play. Although you may not yet be cognizant of this, the rules and enforcement of this social order nonetheless exist and play a role on users' behavior.

crispybits wrote:The rule "roll through a stop sign" is enforced by a policeman stopping you and dealing out the relevant punishment above and beyond what any normal citizen could do. No normal citizen could force me to stop, fine me and/or add points to my license. Sometimes there is no policeman there to enforce it, but if there is that is how it is enforced. Not by someone calling me names or waving a finger.


Sure, enforcement mechanisms vary in their effectiveness in the 'circumstances of time and place', but it doesn't follow that those particular enforcement mechanisms do not exist. For example, although the state exercises a monopoly on the 'legitimate' use of force, civilians sometimes "take the law into their own hands."

Even private security guards enforce rules--e.g. don't steal. Surely, you don't deny this, and if not, then you'll have to admit that the state is not only the foundation of Rules, Regulation, and Enforcement. Substitutes for State Enforcement can be created and need not be restricted to the realm of Custom/Convention--contrary to your position.

crispybits wrote:I may well read the book, though tbh this subject and this conversation as a whole bores me witless. I have made my statement, and the objections you have come up with I think are compeltely irrelevant. Maybe I'm wrong, but your solution doesn't seem to me to actually solve anything. It just means that we all wag our fingers at each other and if someone doesn't give a crap then they will continue to break rules with no meaningful enforcement of those rules at all. Your system relies on people adhering to social conventions, but those social conventions are never made properly clear to all, so how anyone can expect to follow a set of rules that is constantly shifting and never codified for the benefit of the society as a whole I just don't get. We'll probably just have to agree to disagree unless you can show how anyone can be expected to follow such a system reliably and effectively.


Well, based on the above, I provided more examples which refute your general stance here, and hopefully if applied correctly on one's own, can be used to see that the underlined is incorrect.

RE: italicized. That's what spontaneous order theory asks and explains. To clarify, informal rules can become codified, thus becoming formal rules. See Peter Leeson's An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization for an example.


A main stumbling block for you is that you seem to implicitly hold that the State is the foundation of social order, which isn't correct. Although the State possesses a monopoly on the 'legitimate' use of force and legislation (e.g. enforcement and the generation of formal rules), there do exist substitutes which play a significant role in that social order. Otherwise, any State could do whatever it wanted to its people (which isn't true).


So far, "but the actual rules all come from the state" is false,
and "enforceable rule[s] that [aren't] enforced by legislation" do exist, contrary to your position.

Also, re: "in the event of an incident then the law is what is fallen back on to determine fault, to determine what is enforced."

The Law can be enforced (or "fallen back upon") by either the state or non-state organizations and individuals--even in dire cases.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby crispybits on Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:22 pm

BigBallinStalin wrote:A main stumbling block for you is that you seem to implicitly hold that the State is the foundation of social order, which isn't correct. Although the State possesses a monopoly on the 'legitimate' use of force and legislation (e.g. enforcement and the generation of formal rules), there do exist substitutes which play a significant role in that social order. Otherwise, any State could do whatever it wanted to its people (which isn't true).

So far, "but the actual rules all come from the state" is false,
and "enforceable rule[s] that [aren't] enforced by legislation" do exist, contrary to your position.

Also, re: "in the event of an incident then the law is what is fallen back on to determine fault, to determine what is enforced."

The Law can be enforced (or "fallen back upon") by either the state or non-state organizations and individuals--even in dire cases.


Your example of the private security firm which I snipped, the private guards are able to enforce against theft because theft is legislated against. Can you name something that isn't either a crime or preventing a crime (i.e. asking someone to leave a private property) that a private security guard can legitimately enforce? Who does the enforcing is basically irrelevant, because it is the legislation that provides them with the framework and the power to do so.

I do not hold that the state is the foundation of social order. The society is the foundation of social order. The state is the means by which society imposes that order. The state is the tool, not the reason why the tool exists. But the state is the only tool of society that produces codified, clear rules on a societal scale with (theoretically) universal enforcement. Sure we have many customs and conventions, but these differ between different areas, and change through time with great fluidity in some cases. If they are codified then they become rules, but they cannot be considered rules before then, because to enforce "unwritten rules" with the tool that is the state would not be just or fair.

Also, the fact the law can be used as a tool by either the state or by individuals or companies doesn't change the nature of the fact that the law is the only enforcable set of rules in society. If someone wants to be a jackass scumbag all day every day and doesn't care what society thinks of them then there is nothing anyone can do to enforce any change to that behaviour if the jackass isn't breaking any laws. The customs and conventions are meaningful only if all individuals care about them or about their social standing, and they are not enforcable outside of that totally voluntary framework.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Metsfanmax on Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:36 pm

crispybits wrote:Also, the fact the law can be used as a tool by either the state or by individuals or companies doesn't change the nature of the fact that the law is the only enforcable set of rules in society. If someone wants to be a jackass scumbag all day every day and doesn't care what society thinks of them then there is nothing anyone can do to enforce any change to that behaviour if the jackass isn't breaking any laws. The customs and conventions are meaningful only if all individuals care about them or about their social standing, and they are not enforcable outside of that totally voluntary framework.


You forgot the obvious alternative of just letting society naturally sort out who it thinks is a douchebag and just killing them off. Life back then was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short -- but people were free!
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby thegreekdog on Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:38 pm

Metsfanmax wrote:
crispybits wrote:Also, the fact the law can be used as a tool by either the state or by individuals or companies doesn't change the nature of the fact that the law is the only enforcable set of rules in society. If someone wants to be a jackass scumbag all day every day and doesn't care what society thinks of them then there is nothing anyone can do to enforce any change to that behaviour if the jackass isn't breaking any laws. The customs and conventions are meaningful only if all individuals care about them or about their social standing, and they are not enforcable outside of that totally voluntary framework.


You forgot the obvious alternative of just letting society naturally sort out who it thinks is a douchebag and just killing them off. Life back then was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short -- but people were free!


Aren't you the guy in favor of eugenics?
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:21 pm

Metsfanmax wrote:
crispybits wrote:Also, the fact the law can be used as a tool by either the state or by individuals or companies doesn't change the nature of the fact that the law is the only enforcable set of rules in society. If someone wants to be a jackass scumbag all day every day and doesn't care what society thinks of them then there is nothing anyone can do to enforce any change to that behaviour if the jackass isn't breaking any laws. The customs and conventions are meaningful only if all individuals care about them or about their social standing, and they are not enforcable outside of that totally voluntary framework.


You forgot the obvious alternative of just letting society naturally sort out who it thinks is a douchebag and just killing them off. Life back then was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short -- but people were free!


I remember when I first read Hobbes too! Many people have developed more intelligent stances which either credibly support shifts toward less government or more government. Whenever you care to join them--regardless of the shift that you favor, then I'll be very glad for you.

If not, then unfortunately you limit yourself to making credible position only within the realm of astrophysics--and other closely related sciences, e.g. physics and blah blah blah. Restricting yourself to normative-laden works (Rawls) is insufficient as well.
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby BigBallinStalin on Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:22 pm

crispybits wrote:
BigBallinStalin wrote:A main stumbling block for you is that you seem to implicitly hold that the State is the foundation of social order, which isn't correct. Although the State possesses a monopoly on the 'legitimate' use of force and legislation (e.g. enforcement and the generation of formal rules), there do exist substitutes which play a significant role in that social order. Otherwise, any State could do whatever it wanted to its people (which isn't true).

So far, "but the actual rules all come from the state" is false,
and "enforceable rule[s] that [aren't] enforced by legislation" do exist, contrary to your position.

Also, re: "in the event of an incident then the law is what is fallen back on to determine fault, to determine what is enforced."

The Law can be enforced (or "fallen back upon") by either the state or non-state organizations and individuals--even in dire cases.


Your example of the private security firm which I snipped, the private guards are able to enforce against theft because theft is legislated against. Can you name something that isn't either a crime or preventing a crime (i.e. asking someone to leave a private property) that a private security guard can legitimately enforce? Who does the enforcing is basically irrelevant, because it is the legislation that provides them with the framework and the power to do so.


All rules, both formal and informal, don't flow only from the legislators. All rules aren't enforced only by government organizations and actors. Therefore, the underlined doesn't really matter here.


crispybits wrote:I do not hold that the state is the foundation of social order. The society is the foundation of social order. The state is the means by which society imposes that order. The state is the tool, not the reason why the tool exists. But the state is the only tool of society that produces codified, clear rules on a societal scale with (theoretically) universal enforcement. Sure we have many customs and conventions, but these differ between different areas, and change through time with great fluidity in some cases. If they are codified then they become rules, but they cannot be considered rules before then, because to enforce "unwritten rules" with the tool that is the state would not be just or fair.


Simply because the monopolists on legislation said, "don't steal," it doesn't follow that those legislators and the current form of government are (1) necessary for creating formal rules, and (2) are necessary for enforcing those rules. Therefore, the underlined is false.

crispybits wrote:Also, the fact the law can be used as a tool by either the state or by individuals or companies doesn't change the nature of the fact that the law is the only enforcable set of rules in society. If someone wants to be a jackass scumbag all day every day and doesn't care what society thinks of them then there is nothing anyone can do to enforce any change to that behaviour if the jackass isn't breaking any laws. The customs and conventions are meaningful only if all individuals care about them or about their social standing, and they are not enforcable outside of that totally voluntary framework.


Sure they are. Currently, the State deprives citizens from enforcing and directly shaping the law. Historically, this was not the case. See: The Not So Wild Wild West.


I'm getting tired of this discussion--and to be clear I have no negative feelings toward you. You're a bright person, and again I always enjoy reading your posts.

If you're interested in challenging your fundamental beliefs as stated ITT, then I strongly encourage you to advance your education on your own.


The following books are awesome, and many of the authors would actually agree with you on your vision of the ideal government.

Ellickson - Order without Law
Ostrom - Governing the Commons
Bamyeh - Anarchy as Order
Scott - The Art of Not Being Governed
Anderson and Hill - The Not So Wild Wild West
Stringham - Anarchy and the Law

And, here's more on rules, law, and order (whether it be centrally planned, i.e. statist, or not):
Hayek - Law, Legislation and Liberty, Volume 1: Rules and Order
North - Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance

Peter Leeson's An-arrgh-chy: The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization
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Re: Bike helmet laws shown to reduce number of injuries

Postby Metsfanmax on Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:30 pm

thegreekdog wrote:
Metsfanmax wrote:
crispybits wrote:Also, the fact the law can be used as a tool by either the state or by individuals or companies doesn't change the nature of the fact that the law is the only enforcable set of rules in society. If someone wants to be a jackass scumbag all day every day and doesn't care what society thinks of them then there is nothing anyone can do to enforce any change to that behaviour if the jackass isn't breaking any laws. The customs and conventions are meaningful only if all individuals care about them or about their social standing, and they are not enforcable outside of that totally voluntary framework.


You forgot the obvious alternative of just letting society naturally sort out who it thinks is a douchebag and just killing them off. Life back then was solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short -- but people were free!


Aren't you the guy in favor of eugenics?


No, I'm the guy in favor of a one child policy.

To quote a great character in a great show -- the rules are what make us better.

By the way, in case anyone is confused about my ethics,

Metsfanmax wrote:I don't share Rawls' conception of moral justice.


I work hard to make it clear that I am a preference utilitarian and I would hate for that reputation to be sullied by people who don't pay close enough attention.
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