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#16368 - 07/04/11 07:58 AM deadly irony
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
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#16369 - 07/04/11 01:38 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: jchuzi]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
'Tis indeed.
I'm fully in favor of people having choice. If you want to select yourself out of the gene pool, that's your right and privilege.
When on a Harley or other heavy, fast-moving qua motorized bike, I can see the point of protective gear.
Where it gets a tad out of plumb is requiring a helmet for riding a bicycle and the ostensible logic behind such. How many kids do you know while growing up who didn't fall off their bikes (an essential ingredient in learning how to ride and a rite/'right' of passage, so to speak) and who subsequently became vegetables because of a 'lack' of a helmet?!
I never knew of one.

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#16370 - 07/04/11 02:42 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: grelber]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: grelber
'Tis indeed.
I'm fully in favor of people having choice. If you want to select yourself out of the gene pool, that's your right and privilege.


I am also in favor of people having a choice, but part of the consequence of living in a large, complex society is that the choices we make have effects on others.

The choice to not wear a helmet doesn't just affect the rider. When he is injured, it affects everyone who pays for auto insurance, it affects the cost of health care (even catastrophic insurance won't pay for a years or decades-long coma, and it's the hospitals who foot the bill after that), and it affects the whole infrastructure in a number of ways--from the increased number of emergency responders which need to be available to increases in highway taxes if his heirs attempt to sue the state for whatever reason.

At one time, as a kid, I thought that the most equitable solution was to make helmets the choice of the rider, but to pass a law saying that if a rider is injured without a helmet, his insurance is immediately declared void, and if he can not pay for medical care on his own it will be denied to him--even if that means death. Now, as an adult, I realize that such a solution is actually unspeakably cruel, and that a requirement to wear helmets is a reasonable and non-invasive compromise between the rights of the rider and the rights of society.

After all, operating a motorcycle on public roads is not a basic right; and helmet laws only apply on public roads, not on private property. Since the public roads are property owned by the public, the public does have a reasonable interest in regulating how and under what conditions they are used.
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#16371 - 07/04/11 02:56 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: grelber]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
I am in favor of people having choice too but not if their choice makes them a drain on the rest of the community. In the event of an accident, the motorcyclist's choice of not wearing a helmet will very likely result in head injuries which are extremely difficult to treat, and generally need months if not years of recuperation. The cost of that care and recuperation can easily run into seven figures. If the victim is insured that cost gets passed on to all the policy holders of that company. If, as is too often the case, the helmetless victim is uninsured the cost gets passed on to the hospital or in the case of a public hospital the taxpayers. In every case the public ends up bearing the expense for the rider's choice.

I used to think, if the state passed a helmet law that absolved doctors and hospitals from treating head injuries where the rider chose not to wear a helmet it would solve the problem. But then I realized, the only benefits of such a law would accrue to the lawyers contesting the law or litigating each and every decision to treat or not treat.

There are lots of safety rules and regulations for every mode of transportation from trains, planes, trucks, cars, and even motorcycles. These laws, rules, and regulations have all been passed in the interest of protecting the public from their own and other people's stupidity. Passengers and drivers in automobiles have pretty well adapted to seatbelt laws but some are apparently willing to pay $200 fines every time they get caught riding with the seatbelt unfastened to keep from wrinkling their skirt or because of the very remote chance the seatbelt does not release after an accident. So why shouldn't motorcycle riders be equally willing to pay a similar fine every time they get caught riding without a helmet?

Originally Posted By: grelber
How many kids do you know while growing up who didn't fall off their bikes (an essential ingredient in learning how to ride and a right of passage, so to speak) and who subsequently became vegetables because of a 'lack' of a helmet?!
I never knew of one.

Spend some time in the emergency room at a trauma center such as Parkland in Dallas or the next door Children's Medical Center if you have the stomach for it and you will see some. My son, a radiologist specializing in trauma studies, can cite you chapter and verse of several he has seen this year alone. Most were killed outright or died during treatment, some were hospitalized for many months, a few will never recover. Admittedly he has seen a lot more head injuries from kids riding ATVs but no few bicycle accidents. Face it when a 70 pound child riding a 15 pound bicycle gets into a contest with a 3,500 pound automobile — the automobile wins every time.

What Tacit said too. I am beginning to get worried that I am agreeing with Tacit too often. shocked


Edited by joemikeb (07/04/11 03:00 PM)
Edit Reason: Tacit beat me to posting
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#16372 - 07/04/11 03:08 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: tacit]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
My wife and I spent the day on a rented Harley in Kauai. There's no helmet law, so we didn't pay extra to rent one. We had a very nice day and the worst that happened was a (painful) sunburn along my hairline.

Having said that, I have had two or three accidents over the past 30 years that required the replacement of my full-face helmet. I'm certain it saved my life.

Too bad you have to legislate common sense.
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#16374 - 07/04/11 08:44 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: jchuzi]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
It's not irony, it's choice. I'm a firm supporter in one's right to do stupid things. Doesn't mean I agree with said stupid things, just one's right to do them.

I agree with wearing helmets on motorcycles, but not bicycles. I agree with wearing seatbelts. But I don't agree there should be a law making any one of them a requirement.

It's been my general observation that the supporters of "laws of forced self-protection" are not the ones being protected, but the ones that are afraid for the safety of others they care about. They don't want a law that will force them to protect themselves, they want a law to force someone else to be more protected, against their will. And that's not the point of laws. Laws exist to protect a person's rights, not to make someone else do something that has nothing to do with your rights. If that person doesn't want their rights protected, you have no grounds to make a law for them. And to restrict someone's freedom based purely on something other than protecting your own rights, is wrong on two counts.

Bottom line: If it doesn't impact your rights, you have no grounds to restrict someone else's rights.
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#16376 - 07/05/11 03:40 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: grelber]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: grelber
How many kids do you know while growing up who didn't fall off their bike....and who subsequently became vegetables because of a 'lack' of a helmet?! I never knew of one.

Like you I did my share of falling as a child and, like you, I never knew a single kid who received serious head trauma after a bike accident. However, neither did I know a single kid who died from a heroine overdose. I don't think that means it didn't happen somewhere else.

ryck
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#16377 - 07/05/11 03:41 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: Virtual1]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
IThey don't want a law that will force them to protect themselves, they want a law to force someone else to be more protected, against their will.

I think there are others involved who need legislation to advocate on their behalf. The same people who flout seat-belt laws, for example, are the same people who would fail to provide that protection for their children.

Originally Posted By: Virtual1
Bottom line: If it doesn't impact your rights, you have no grounds to restrict someone else's rights.

I don't understand why arguments for not wearing seat-belts or helmets are referred to as an infringement of rights when the very act of operating a vehicle on a public roadway is itself not a right. It is a privilege.

Along with that privilege are some rules about how you exercise it and, if you fail to abide by the rules, your privileges are revoked. If the basic act of operating a vehicle is a privilege, how can a person's wish to do it a certain way be a right?

I don't have an in-depth understanding of the American system but it seems to me that if things like seat-belt or helmet legislation were violations of rights, they would be challenged on constitutional grounds. The course of events would take the challenge to the Supreme Court where, if rights were being violated, the legislation would be struck down.

ryck


Edited by ryck (07/05/11 03:42 AM)
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#16378 - 07/05/11 03:43 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: tacit]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Perhaps a bit of an overstatement on several counts.
Be that as it may, there is a movement afoot (supported by many physicians) to deny (or at least forestall) treatment including transplant surgery to those who are responsible for the condition which requires such — eg, lung transplants for inveterate smokers, liver transplants for alcoholics. It's hardly a stretch to consider the same for those who engage in other risky behaviors; in fact, back-country skiers and snowmobiliers now have to pay for their rescue in many parts of the world, whether they have insurance or not.
And on and on.
If someone's going to behave like a jerk, he/she should be treated in like fashion. Callous? Merely natural selection. We need to improve the species (as well as cull it). Irresponsible behavior qua stupidity should be its own reward.

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#16381 - 07/05/11 11:49 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: ryck]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: ryck
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
They don't want a law that will force them to protect themselves, they want a law to force someone else to be more protected, against their will.

I think there are others involved who need legislation to advocate on their behalf. The same people who flout seat-belt laws, for example, are the same people who would fail to provide that protection for their children.


That's the only working angle in the debate... protecting the rights of those that are unable to exercise them. (such as mentally ill or children) But this isn't a case of someone that lacks the ability to understand the problem and make a decision. This is someone telling a competent person what they ought to do. And what that comes down to is, I should be able to do as I damn well please as long as it doesn't violate someone else's rights. (that's pretty much the definition of "Liberty") And you have no right to keep me safe. end.


Originally Posted By: ryck
I don't understand why arguments for not wearing seat-belts or helmets are referred to as an infringement of rights when the very act of operating a vehicle on a public roadway is itself not a right. It is a privilege.


That can't be made into a blanket justification. You're confusing the difference between what they can make a law for, with what they should make a law for. Since it's a right, they could require you to wear a helmet while driving your car. But that'd be silly. They could lower the max highway speed to 20 mph. (and it would be safer for everyone!) But that too would be silly. Just because they can doesn't mean they should.


This is like trying to make skydiving illegal. Leave me alone, I'm not putting anyone else in danger. (unless you're directly below!)
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#16388 - 07/05/11 08:47 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: Virtual1]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
Originally Posted By: ryck
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
They don't want a law that will force them to protect themselves, they want a law to force someone else to be more protected, against their will.

I think there are others involved who need legislation to advocate on their behalf. The same people who flout seat-belt laws, for example, are the same people who would fail to provide that protection for their children.


That's the only working angle in the debate... protecting the rights of those that are unable to exercise them.

When a person decides that they have a "right" to flout seat-belt or helmet laws, and the result is severe brain injury, they have immediately inflicted great pain on their families. They have likely also altered their family's lives forever as the family now must tend to every need, including the most intimate, of this brain-injured person. The act may also have brought considerable unending financial hardship.

So what "right" did that person have to inflict such hardship on others?

ryck


Edited by ryck (07/06/11 05:12 AM)
Edit Reason: Down-toning
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#16395 - 07/06/11 01:22 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: tacit]
JM Hanes Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Quote:
[P]art of the consequence of living in a large, complex society is that the choices we make have effects on others.


.... and apparently living with blanket prohibitions which apply regardless of how absurd the individual circumstances might be. If you're really serious about minimizing risk, I guess you should probably make it illegal for folks to take their hands off the handlebars too -- and require battery operated turn lights with handlebar remotes in place of manual signaling.

You may be comfortable relying on the usual emergency room cost-to-society argument, but ignoring the intangibles sets you atop an exceedingly slippery slope, ISTM. One can just as easily defend government interventions of almost every ilk, from mandating exercise classes and turning supermarkets into gov't permitted health food stores, or randomly inspecting the contents of your larder (for the children!), to establishing legal penalties for sex without condoms (even the Department of Education has their own SWAT teams for no-knock raids these days!) or setting the speed limit so low that driving those hot cars just makes guys look ridiculous and irresponsible.

The list of ways that bureaucratic regulators and putatively credentialed experts would like to shape your behaviour in the name of our common welfare defy enumeration, and a whole lot of folks are all for it (especially when it comes to taxing sin!) till their own pet oxen get gored. Unless you're willing to extend the emergency room metric to its logical extremes, however, it might be well worth developing both more exacting particulars and less exclusively cost based parameters, while you still have the chance. Extrapolating generalized social harm is child's play, and I, for one, do not welcome our actuarial overlords!

More directly to your specific comment above, I do think that folks living in cities are, perforce, inclined to centralized social engineering given their complex environment and close quarters -- which is a big part of the urban/ex-urban political divide.


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#16396 - 07/06/11 01:25 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: ryck]
grelber Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: North of 49th ||
Perhaps the 'offender' should have had better parents/parenting to instill behavior which would not be so 'injurious' to the family.
The same holds true for 'society'.
But then, if one believes in free will, the issue becomes moot. Back to the drawing board.
This debate is becoming a tetch Orwellian. The simple solution is to recognize that "your rights end where my nose begins".

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#16403 - 07/06/11 06:44 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: JM Hanes]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: JM Hanes
Quote:
[P]art of the consequence of living in a large, complex society is that the choices we make have effects on others.


.... and apparently living with blanket prohibitions which apply regardless of how absurd the individual circumstances might be. If you're really serious about minimizing risk, I guess you should probably make it illegal for folks to take their hands off the handlebars too -- and require battery operated turn lights with handlebar remotes in place of manual signaling.

I don't think you can make that argument without considering the opposite, which is "Why have any prohibitions at all?"

Let's drop all other "blanket provisions" like speed limits, turn signals, giving right of way, et cetera. And, while we're at it, we can tell manufacturers that they no longer have to meet various manufacturing standards because consumers will choose whether or not to buy a faulty product.

If a few make the wrong choice and people consequently die....so be it.

Originally Posted By: JM Hanes
The list of ways that bureaucratic regulators and putatively credentialed experts would like to shape your behaviour in the name of our common welfare defy enumeration, and a whole lot of folks are all for it (especially when it comes to taxing sin!) till their own pet oxen get gored.

If the "bureaucratic regulators and putatively credentialed experts" go too far you deal with them through pressure on their political masters. Or, if one really believes that rights are being abrogated, there are the courts.

In the case of the seat-belt and helmet "oxen" there seems to be a somewhat tiny opposition compared to those who seem to believe that the mandatory aspect is right.

Originally Posted By: JM Hanes
I do think that folks living in cities are, perforce, inclined to centralized social engineering given their complex environment and close quarters...

Then why is that, when important social issues are addressed, the challenges most often start on university campuses (analogous to little cities) and spread to the surrounding environment - the cities?

ryck


Edited by ryck (07/06/11 06:47 AM)
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#16409 - 07/06/11 09:39 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: ryck]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
Originally Posted By: ryck
When a person decides that they have a "right" to flout seat-belt or helmet laws, and the result is severe brain injury, they have immediately inflicted great pain on their families.


And they have a right to do(/risk) that too.

Too many are confusing moral questions with legal questions. I want no legal obligation to protect the world from mental anguish. That alone would be more than a fulltime job. People do not have the right to happiness. pursuit of happiness yes, but no guarantees.

Greed and the want to protect loved ones are the two greatest catalysts for "bad laws". And if you think about it really carefully, they both fall under the single description of "selfishness".
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#16411 - 07/06/11 11:08 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: Virtual1]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: Virtual1
Originally Posted By: ryck
When a person decides that they have a "right" to flout seat-belt or helmet laws, and the result is severe brain injury, they have immediately inflicted great pain on their families.


And they have a right to do(/risk) that too.

We'll never agree on that one....particularly given the premise that one person's rights end where another's begin.

I think back thirty years to when my first daughter was born. I was a cigarette smoker who had tried many times in vain to free myself of the addiction. I was adequately motivated to quit when I thought about this child.

I figured that, as a parent, I had many "rights" where her upbringing was concerned but there was one thing I did not have a right to do. I did not have the right to kill her father.

ryck


Edited by ryck (07/06/11 11:10 AM)
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#16416 - 07/06/11 02:48 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: ryck]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: ryck
I figured that, as a parent, I had many "rights" where her upbringing was concerned but there was one thing I did not have a right to do. I did not have the right to kill her father.

That's just the flip side of the personal choice for which V1, with whom I concur, has been arguing, isn't it?
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#16417 - 07/06/11 02:54 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: ryck]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: ryck
I figured that, as a parent, I had many "rights" where her upbringing was concerned but there was one thing I did not have a right to do. I did not have the right to kill her father.

Therein is the key to what has been left out of this discussion — responsibility. IMO you quite correctly made the decision that your responsibility to your daughter overrode your personal right to smoke. This thread has talked a lot about rights, and I am a firm believer in freedom of rights, but in a sane society personal responsibilities will often override personal rights. Without responsibility a society that is entirely focused on rights will inevitably collapse into anarchy and chaos.

The freedom loving motorcyclist that refuses to ride safely and take reasonable precautions such as wearing a helmet is abrogating their responsibility to their family, friends, co-workers, and the public in general. They do so in a well founded belief that society will not abrogate its responsibility to them and will fork over the cost of their burial and/or the cost of their medical care and recuperation. Their freedom is entirely self-centered and self-serving.
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#16421 - 07/06/11 03:22 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: artie505]
ryck Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: artie505
Originally Posted By: ryck
I figured that, as a parent, I had many "rights" where her upbringing was concerned but there was one thing I did not have a right to do. I did not have the right to kill her father.

That's just the flip side of the personal choice for which V1, with whom I concur, has been arguing, isn't it?

No. While I had a right to smoke, that right ended where my daughter's rights began and I respected her rights.

I think that is very different than a position that it says it's okay to exercise rights even if it inflicts pain on others. i.e. one person's rights don't end where another's begin.

ryck
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#16422 - 07/06/11 03:38 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: JM Hanes]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: JM Hanes
You may be comfortable relying on the usual emergency room cost-to-society argument, but ignoring the intangibles sets you atop an exceedingly slippery slope, ISTM. One can just as easily defend government interventions of almost every ilk, from mandating exercise classes and turning supermarkets into gov't permitted health food stores, or randomly inspecting the contents of your larder (for the children!), to establishing legal penalties for sex without condoms (even the Department of Education has their own SWAT teams for no-knock raids these days!) or setting the speed limit so low that driving those hot cars just makes guys look ridiculous and irresponsible.

The list of ways that bureaucratic regulators and putatively credentialed experts would like to shape your behaviour in the name of our common welfare defy enumeration, and a whole lot of folks are all for it (especially when it comes to taxing sin!) till their own pet oxen get gored. Unless you're willing to extend the emergency room metric to its logical extremes, however, it might be well worth developing both more exacting particulars and less exclusively cost based parameters, while you still have the chance. Extrapolating generalized social harm is child's play, and I, for one, do not welcome our actuarial overlords!


That's certainly true, and it's a good point. There are many individual choices that people make that impose costs of some sort or another on others, from the choices about what we eat to the choices to go skydiving or water skiing. It is not possible, or desirable, to regulate every aspect of people's behavior, even if we save lives by doing it.

So that's a given, and I grant that point.

I don't think it applies to seatbelt or helmet laws. All the things you mention--choices about exercise, choices about food, choices about sex--are different from choices about motorcycle helmets in one important respect.

You do not have a right to ride a motorcycle on a public street.

Nobody has that right. It is not a right to operate any sort of motor vehicle on any public street. If you do operate a motor vehicle on a public street, you do so because you have been granted permission to do so, not because you have a right to do it.

You have a right to make choices about the people you have sex with, the food you eat, and the exercise you do. You have the right to operate a motorcycle on property you own, or on private property with the owner's permission. In those choices, the law can't touch you. Even the most stringent helmet and seat belt laws are null and void the instant you are on private property.

But on public property you have no right to drive. You have a privilege to drive, and that privilege is limited and can be revoked. You operate a motorcycle on public property only in the way that the limited, revokable permission says you can. Your permission to operate a vehicle is already constrained; you are permitted to do so only at certain speeds, only on certain kinds of registered vehicles, only in certain directions on certain roads, and so on, and so on.

If you believe that helmet laws violate some fundamental "rights," then by exactly the same reasoning, speed limits, traffic control devices, licensing and registration requirements, and so on are all violations of those same "rights" for exactly the same reasons.

But the entire issue of "rights" is misplaced. We are not talking about rights. You do not have a right to drive your motorcycle on the road with no helmet for the very simple reason that you do not have the right to drive your motorcycle on the road at all.

It seems to be a art of the American social character that we assume we have the right to do just about anything we please, and to see everything we do--including our use of public property--as some sort of basic human right, when the reality is nothing like that at all.
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#16426 - 07/06/11 06:00 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: ryck]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: ryck
Originally Posted By: artie505
Originally Posted By: ryck
I figured that, as a parent, I had many "rights" where her upbringing was concerned but there was one thing I did not have a right to do. I did not have the right to kill her father.

That's just the flip side of the personal choice for which V1, with whom I concur, has been arguing, isn't it?

No. While I had a right to smoke, that right ended where my daughter's rights began and I respected her rights.

I think that is very different than a position that it says it's okay to exercise rights even if it inflicts pain on others. i.e. one person's rights don't end where another's begin.

ryck

That's why I said "flip side."
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#16427 - 07/06/11 09:22 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: ryck]
JM Hanes Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
Quote:
I don't think you can make that argument without considering the opposite, which is "Why have any prohibitions at all?"


Quite the contrary. I was alluding to conditional prohibitions, vs. a false choice between blanket prohibitions and non-existent restraints. We get one size fits all solutions, not because that's desirable, but because it's just hard to design anything else. The current Washington flex fix for that is passing laws and then granting ex post facto waivers (scroll down to see the first wave of Obamacare dispensations).

Quote:
If the "bureaucratic regulators and putatively credentialed experts" go too far you deal with them through pressure on their political masters. Or, if one really believes that rights are being abrogated, there are the courts.


Congress quit writing its own legislation long ago. They sketch in the outlines, and leave it to Executive Branch agencies and regulators to flesh out the specifics. The number of time they handed their legislative responsibilities off to the Dept. of HHS in the Healthcare Bill should be a real eye opener for anyone who actually reads the thing, and that's on top of the 2600+ plus page first installment that the bill itelf represents.

We can elect and boot out our representatives many times over, with nary a disturbance in the force of the career bureaucrats who survive them. That's why government's size and reach keeps growing, no matter which party is at the helm. Judicial remedies can only come into play long after substantive, demonstrable harm has occurred. I've been stunned over the last few years at how often issues of standing have derailed any hope of judicial remediation.

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#16428 - 07/06/11 09:30 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: tacit]
JM Hanes Offline


Registered: 09/03/09
I wasn't really trying to address the question of rights myself, but per the Supreme Court's decision in Kelo a few years ago, you don't actually have any absolute property rights either. You just don't realize it yet. In any case, I was suggesting that the emergency room/expense argument as a standalone metric has almost universal implications.

Quote:
All the things you mention--choices about exercise, choices about food, choices about sex--are different from choices about motorcycle helmets in one important respect.

You do not have a right to ride a motorcycle on a public street.

They are also the same in one key respect: each of them represents potentially unwarranted, theoretically preventable, passalong costs to society as a whole.

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#16507 - 07/13/11 03:31 PM Re: deadly irony [Re: tacit]
MicroMatTech3 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Years ago, I rode a fully Campagnolo-euqipped Legnano bicycle in Nova Scotia, carrying 40 pounds of camping equipment, tools, spare parts, and food.

One day, I was climbing a hill as the sun began to set. The drivers of the cars behind me could not see me because the sun was in the driver's eyes. I could barely see where I was going. Noting several cars trying to pass me, I decided to pull over to the shoulder, and let the cars pass. Instead of applying the brakes, I decided to let the bicycle roll to a halt in tall grass growing at the side of the road.

As I was rolling to a halt, I suddenly found myself in freefall, with the bicycle rotating to put the center of gravity at the botton. It turned out that the grass was growing on the side of a hill, and had hidden the shape of the terrain. I somehow immediately felt assured that I was not going to fall hundreds of feet. Instead, I felt that I should just pay attention to what was happening, and prepare for the landing. I fell about sixteen feet, and when the bicycle made contact with the steep side of the hill at the botton, I did a wheelie for a few feet in more tall grass, and then, my feet still in toe clips and straps, my bicycle and I fell over.

If I had not been wearing one of the very first Mountain Safety Research bicycle helmets, the back of my head would have landed on a very sharp rock, which might have cracked or even penetrated my skull. The helmet had a significant ding in it, but I was not injured. If I had been injured, nobody would have found me at the bottom. I was invisible to anyone driving by.

I had to dig toe holds in soft sand using my Detto Pietro cleated bicycle shoes to reach the road. The shoes were not designed for that purpose. As I dug each hole, I pushed the bicycle up about a foot, and squeezed the brake levers to hold it in place.

I have always wondered what, if anything, was going through the minds of the drivers who saw my front wheel emerge from the tall grass when I finally made it back to the road. My right knee was bleeding, but not badly.

The worst part of the entire experience was my arrival at a campground owned by an American, who required me to fill out forms while mosquitoes feasted on my wound. From that point on, I decided to stay at campgrounds owned by Canadians.

I spent a few hours nursing my wound at Peggy's Cove, and decided that I should wait until next year to tackle the Cabot Trail, with its 4,000 foot hills, which I did. I have been told that Nova Scotia is still as beautiful as it was when I rode my bicycle around it, three summers in a row.

_________________________
MicroMat Inc
Makers of TechTool

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#16514 - 07/14/11 08:23 AM Re: deadly irony [Re: MicroMatTech3]
freelance Offline


Registered: 08/05/09
Loc: London, UK
Ouch! What a story!

There is mayhem in the Tour de France this year. Many scrapes and broken bones, but no head injuries.
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Mac Pro dual-2.4 GHz, 10.13.6, 24 Gb RAM, 250 Gb Samsung EVO SSD/Velocity Solo PCIe card, 2x3Tb Seagate HD, 1x3Tb Hitachi HD, Dell 2408WFP; Canon PIXMA iX6550; CanoScan 8800F; MacBook Air 1.8 Ghz, 8 Gb RAM, 10.14.5, 256 Gb SSD; Vodafone Home Hub/BT Wi-Fi Extender.

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