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Opening Arguments

It's the law, or not

If you're nabbed talking on your hand-held cell phone while driving in Chicago, you get a $50 ticket. But people are routinely ignoring the law. Guess why:

Aren't Chicago Police supposed to be handing out $50 tickets?

Apparently, they have been, but not too often.

Chicago Police say they've issued about 8,500 citations this year to drivers caught violating the cell phone ban. Last year, police wrote 13,400 tickets, or roughly 37 a day for phone violations.

By comparison, 2.8 million parking tickets were issued in 2006.

The libertarian's No. 1 legal peeve is the law that is not enforced. The best example here is the recently tightened rule on when fireworks can be set off. People call the police when their neighborhoods start sounding like war zones, and the cops ignore them. Reporters call the city for comments and are told, "Well, that's just not a high priority with us." Such laws end up being like the old proscriptions against littering or jaywalking or loitering or spitting on the sidewalk. They are ignored most of the time but dragged out to hassle people who those in authority think need hassling. Such laws reinforce the impression that the law is not the leveler that helps us all live together but a blunt instrument that can be used selectively. Thus is disrespect for the very idea of law fostered, and no civilized society can tolerate that.

When libertarians say there are too many laws, one of the things we mean is: Even if it's a bad law, you have two choices. Get rid of it or obey it. There is no middle ground. Yes, I am talking to you, open-border advocates.


Bob G.
Tue, 08/14/2007 - 9:11am

Love the 2 choices regarding laws.

I've always labored under the impression that because they WROTE the law in the first place, there MUST have been a REASON for doing so. Laws apply to EVERYONE...or they mean nothing.

Therefore, THEY wrote it...THEY enforce it.
End of subject.

it doesn't get ANY simpler than that.

Besides, that's what WE are paying them for.