Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Sheriff & me

(Photos: Simone De Peak, Newcastle Herald for SMH)

Despite the catastrophic Road & Obesity state of affairs evident in Australia, Australian Governments continue to persecute road users campaigning for the normalisation of cycling as a mode of transport.

Why?....because Australia is:

$ a ‘car culture’ & of the opinion that roads are the sole domain of motorists,
$ prepared to keep hopping in cars no matter how congested & dangerous this mode of transport is, & as a result,
$ very fat and scared

Despite having used cycling and walking as modes of transport all my life (52 years & counting!!!), I continue to be stymied in 'our' quest to win to win back the streets for others ‘other-than-motorists’ by repealing bicycle helmet laws. The NSW State Government, not content with cancelling my driver’s licence late last year, is now preparing to send in the Sheriff to seize my property in a bid to continue the ‘business-as-usual’ politics of global energy consumption.

After the property seizure order has been completed, what next will the state government come up with?

(check out same article in The Newcastle Herald for predictable comments from fellow Australians - talk about that '5 monkeys, 1 banana & self-policing' experiment, Steve!!!!!)


  1. Sue,
    I am not not really surprised by the predictable comments. Afterall there are a lot of sheep in this country, and after prolonged riding on a sheep's back, one develops a sheep-like mindset including helmet obsession. The next step for the nanny state could very well be making gumboots compulsory footware!

  2. You're doing so much good the mandatory helmet debate. If only the politicians and judges would go for a slow calm ride one day. The problem is that the ones that do ride have carbon fibre between their legs, with a bit of spandex separating their private parts and saddle...

  3. Glad to hear you are protesting these Nanny-State laws (and even getting SMH publicity for it :]).

    You may be interested in Libertarianism.

    Libertarians understand that each individual has a inalienable Right to self-ownership. It is your body and your property, you can do with it what you see fit; given that you don't initiate force against another's.

    We meet monthly in 3 cities (including Sydney), show up to one of our meetings to discuss:

  4. W/R/T the comments in the Newcastle Herald - at least take comfort in the fact that the people slinging off at you are numpties who cannot put together a single readable sentence, much less a cogent argument. You should consider it a badge of honour that you are on the opposite side of the argument from a person who thinks that the word helmet is spelled "helmut".

    As always, the most instructive comments were the old "The Law is The Law. You are not above The Law" ones. That argument sums up Australia for me. At heart, Australians are a scared, timid, conformist lot who do as they are told. They reserve their greatest hatred and vitriol for those who aren't scared and who choose to go their own way. You are doing a thing that they would be too scared to do, so they cloak their fear in self-righteousness and come after you.

    I remember reading a story on an internet news site about Mimi McPherson's whale watching business going bust. In the comments section, some big-hearted, expansive soul had written "Serves her right. Who does she think she is? Why can't she just get a job like the rest of us?"

    For mine, that comment is Australia to a tee.

  5. There are loads of stupid laws, invented by stupid law-makers. I never realised Australians were such wussies, wasn't that the preserve of the Old World? Over here in Holland, I sometimes don't see helmets for days on end. Some people use them to 'protect' their little children, but they stop wearing them as soon they have a bike of their own, and there are adults, wearing regular clothes, who feel they have to wear plastic head-gear. My parents cycled well into their eighties without a helmet and I only put on a cap or hat occasionally. All people have to do, is check out cyclists in Western Europe on YouTube: people going about their business without a helmet, in most cases.

  6. Just want to let you know there are people around the world who are on your side Sue, don't let the buggers get you down!!

  7. Hi Sue, just saw your little segment on one of those silly breakfast programmes today... You put forward some very valid arguments and I think you explained it well to the non bike riding public. Thank you from a grumbling helmet wearer.

  8. Aaahh! - your lovely comments, everyone, thank you xx

  9. @Sue
    That the IPA proclaims themselves to be Libertarian is really all you need to know about this shallow egoism pretending to be a school of thought. Its all about those with power wanting the right to exercise their power without interference. A Libertarian has no interest in stricter environmental laws or food standards. Means to power is all that matters.

    @Samuel Marks
    As a Syndicalist myself I think most people can proscribe to freedom from interference without the batshit-crazy, Ayn Randian aspects of Libertarianism. Incidentally, the notion that the mind and body are discrete entities whereby the body is the 'property' of the mind has no basis in science. This defining ourselves as both master and slave, which forms the basis of property rights, which is a central tenant of Libertarianism notions of freedom is both perverse and unscientific, leaving the rest of it on fairly shaky ground.

    As to that conflation of personal property with freedom, Libertarianism, an infantile special-pleading tarted up as a 'philosophy' fails on first principles. Libertarians are really Statists. Yes I said that. For all their railing against 'Big Gubment', Libertarians want the state around insofar as it can protect property rights through the latent and real threat of violence. Property rights require the threat of vioelence and compulsion to enforce which libertarians realise they're unable to exercise as self-proclaimed rugged individuals well it all boils down to it.

    History show that the State came into being to order to expressly protect and enforce claims to private property; specifically to land which was being approbriated through force from the commons. In the 20th century the welfare state came into being to A) address some of the imbalance and injustice arising from the historical rise to private ownership of land, out of a rational realisation that not all are endowed with the same faculties or opportunities and more importantly B) as a carrot rather than a stick approach to protecting property rights. With the existential threat of popular left-leaning uprising amongst the working class and the unpropertied, state violence itself was seen as an insufficient deterrent to any erosion of property rights. Welfare was a form of appeasement. A leftist anarchic movement is what the state fears most.

    Finally, a Libertarian society could only work if everyone were completely and equally rational, self-contained entities and blessed with equal faculties and the same opportunities, life circumstances and access to resources at the start of their lives.

    It ignores the historical reasons for inequality, including that the ownership of land, water, seed and resources was an act of theft and a violence committed against the commons. The inequality evident in our society in terms of access to resources is largely due to past injustices. How are property rights natural and inviolate as Libertarians assert if they came about a historically attested act of theft?

    Libertarianism position conflates rewarding predatory, psychopathic behaviour with exercising personal freedom. Libertarians will declare that they don't want to pay for other people's healthcover through a public health system to which I reply, then I don't want to pay for the police and suveillance state set up to protect your claims on private property, which contravenes everyone else's natural right to regard this planet as their's collectively.

    1. I have heard it said that you do not own what someone else can take from you. (I have so far not found an original me out if you know it.)
      A complete stranger can take your life for no good reason. Setting up a government from scratch requires agreeing to limits on self ownership. Even agreeing to no government at all would leave you unprotected from anyone wanting to take your life.
      The libertarian quest for small non-intrusive government does lead to many policies which I prefer to the policies of the major parties but I agree, the foundation of libertarianism, individual self ownership, is fatally flawed.

    2. ...that the 'foundation of fatally flawed'