Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"It is more comfortable to obey than to examine" (Nietzsche)

(me, having examined & decided not to...'obey')

Mandatory helmet laws (MHLs) equate to a quasi religious fervour in which the views of the pious and uninformed dictate how the rest of us ought to behave.

Perhaps we should revisit what John Stuart Mill had to say in On Liberty, his seminal and rational justification of the freedom of the individual against the state. Mill's defence of the rights of the individual against the state articulate clearly that:

...the only part of conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part, which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

Our governments notionally employed this concept of Utilitarianism as a state's right when they enacted legislation in the early 1990s, broadcasting that MHLs would protect the community from burgeoning costs associated with injured cyclists. In effect, the state governments postured that they were entitled to interfere with the rights of the individual for the benefit of the state and the community.

However there have been no 'benefits' to the state as a result of MHLs, and study after study has shown that the excessive state interference has been a baseless and costly failure.

Consequently we can conclude that our state governments did not rightfully exercise their power over us in a bid to prevent harm to others when they enacted their MHLs, and neither do they rightfully exercise power over us today when they continue to enforce their deluded restrictions.

It is not good enough nor is it sufficient that MHLs were enacted for my own good, whether it was for my physical good or for my moral good.

Hands off me given that I am 'sovereign' over me!

1 comment:

  1. I am still puzzled by what I too refer to as the "religious zealotry" of the wear-your-helmet shouters.

    I have had fellow cyclists, motorists and pedestrians - but mostly fellow cyclists - shout at me because I don't wear a helmet (unless I'm riding my road bike on country highways).

    In one case, a fellow cyclist was quaking with rage as he demanded to know where my helmet was. He with no lights on his bike. A woman - a stranger - sailing through a four-way shouted at me "wear your helmet!".

    I still don't understand it. But it appears that it's not just a Canadian phenomenon.

    (I should add the helmets are only required for children in Ontario)

    Bless you and your crusade for sense and practical liberty.

    Kenneth Moyle