Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Drink driving - its a matter of principle?

Share |
Another day of useless politics in NZ. The issue of the day is drink driving. The media showed that a person could drink 9 standard drinks in an hour and still be under the limit of 0.08. The media is pushing for the limit to be reduced to 0.05, the same level as in Australia.
The National Party is saying that they are considering the alcohol limit, however they would like to perform more research. Who can argue against more research right? Well I guess those people who risk having family members killed whilst the government procrastinates might have some opposition to that 'procrastination policy'. The fact is that there is already a great deal of scientific research for the government to consider. The government however has said it wants to consider NZ based research. I personally think NZ'ers are bigger 'yobbos' than anywhere else in the world, and so a lower limit is required. The alcohol culture in this country is truly entrenched.
No, John Key, there is nothing remarkable about NZ'ers that makes your drivers better than elsewhere in the world. In fact the improbability of a car passing you on the road probably makes you less prepared for the one that does come, not to mention they stray sheep. And NZ roads are worse than most countries I have used, though somewhat more scenic. That is just one more reason to think they are dangerous...people watching the scenery and not the road.

This is clearly a difficult policy for the government. Why? Well, you can expect that this is unpopular for their rural electoral base. What is National if it is not a farmer-based organisation. This is a delay tactic. It knows it needs time to convince the electorate. i.e. Stubborn rural voters who like to drink and drive. In fairness, they have a point. The chances are that when a country lad drinks and drives, he will probably only kill himself or get a mean headache on his way home. That is not true for people in the city. Ought we therefore to have 'region-specific' limits on drink driving? In a world where we are all burdened by others through the tax system, you might object to even a person having the 'right to be stupid' by being allowed to drink to excess. I say cut them lose, and require them to have insurance, or otherwise self-fund their medical bills if they fail to listen. Better still, adopt a 'user pay' tax to fund kids who drink and can't drive well enough to stay on the road.
People might object to two different rules, but farmers do have a point. They are probably more likely to drive home alone, they are more likely to run off into a ditch than have a head-on collision, and they probably know how to drive better under the conditions of being blind every night. This might be the way to go, and of course parents can have their own policy. i.e. Get a drink-drive conviction and you don't inherit the family farm.

What has got me most annoyed about this issue is the fact that the National Party claim to be handling this issue in a way which resembles 'principle'. According to the NZ Herald, the party frontbenchers are having a 'conscience vote' because its a 'matter of principle'. Well I ask: When is it not a matter of principle? Every issue ought to be a matter of principle. The only REAL principle in the mind of the MPs must be the prospect of losing votes. Guys...this is serious..This could lose us a lot of votes.
The reason why this is a joke to me is because everyone thinks that democracy is a principle. It is not. It is a repudiation of intelligibility, integrity and principles. Consider this. This issue threatens the National Party's power base, so they are going to have a vote to establish what that they ought to think. It is not an issue of superior argument....it comes down to a vote. If the better argument is on the wrong side of the majority, that is a 'principled decision'. It highlights the fact that democracy is nothing more than the arbitrary legitimatisation of unprincipled people who symbolically have the power of pointing more guns at you than you can point at them. Reason goes out the window because the majority have the 'right' (or is it the indulgence) to discard arguments and insist that they don't need reasons, because they hold the majority.
That is the quality of your political system. The system that underpins Western injustice.

You might ask - How does one establish a principled approach to drink driving on this issue? Do people have the 'Right to be Stupid or Not'. Also where does one person's responsibility start and another persons' end. Good questions. One might hope they start with a principled set of values which integrate with one's other principles. Hard to fathom? Well, let's give it a go.

Principles ought to apply to all people. If they don't apply to some people, there ought to be a principle which exempts them. This is referred as 'the context'. The fact that farm boys deal with generally difficult conditions to city folk, this is reason for different policies in different areas. There is of course a risk associated with all practices, and corresponding benefits. i.e. If bicycle riders are being killed too frequently, do we adopt a 40kmph speed limit, or do we remove bicycles from the road? False alternative you say? Perhaps...but the point is that there is a statistical realm upon which decisions need to be made. So long as those decisions are based on reasonable appreciation of the facts, and not spurious correlations established by poor scientists, then we can feel comfortable with our decisions. We can also make provisions for people, such as farmers, who might live and act in a different context.
At the end of the day...if people had more sensible political values, better thought processes....perhaps they would make better drink & drive decisions. When I look at our political system, I can conclude only "WHAT DID YOU EXPECT". Treat people like idiots, and they behave like idiots. Our political system does not require us to think, so we don't. You think politics is so unimportant to your life. Think again....its core to your value system.
Government accounts for 30-50% of a nation's GDP, it sponsors the welfare state, and the guilt industry than accompanies it, it sponsors public education, it tacitly approves of religious (so called 'private' education, despite the fact that only a church could compete with a free system), and it develops all the laws that have you jumping in & out of your 'punitive' thankless skin each day. It does the same for all the institutions you work for. So it has you repudiating principles because principles have disappeared from your life. Its all about arbitrary rules. You are already thinking like the bureaucrats you used to laugh at. i.e. Remember when you went to the post office to get your mail but there was some silly reason why you could not have it. It was not a good reason. It was just some arbitrary govt rule which the bureaucrat was not willing to break, even though no bureaucrat ever loses their job. Yep, that is you today.
And so here we are...you children are not thinking about the consequences of their actions...and they are thus to go off and drink drive because they are bullet proof. Right? Wrong. It does not end there though. There is a bigger message.
So you thought democracy was about freedom? Think about. Its a facade. Its all about the politicians..well they think it is. The system does not even serve them. They are powerless suckers, more than you. But you have in common a belief in the same rhetoric. The tyranny of the majority, may as well be a minority. The problem with fascism is not that you are under the powers of a minority which imposes arbitrary powers. The problem is that you are under arbitrary coercion.... it makes no difference whether its a majority or a minority. Its a gun in the head either way.....except they don't show you the gun. But you know its there. Its the prospect of negative consequences, whether its the powers of arrest or seizure of the tax office, or the ability to alienate you from your friends. Do you think your friends will want to know you if you diddle on your tax. You would have betrayed them. They have loyally paid tax, but you gipped out. That is the system you signed up for.
Andrew Sheldon

ConvinceMe.Net - Anyone up for a debate?