1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8488/officer-kanapsky-is-it/

Officer Kanapsky, is it?

September 9, 2008 by

We need to realize that the police are like all other government employees: self-interested, living off tax dollars, parasitical on our liberties. The case of Officer Kanapsky shows precisely how and why. The policeman, standing around in a courtroom to testify against our claims, is being paid time and half to waste our time and cause our insurance rates to rise. This overtime permission results in a scam that causes them to engage in low-risk, high-revenue earning activities that exploit the population. FULL ARTICLE

{ 72 comments }

curio September 17, 2008 at 6:07 pm

Kevin B –

I find the “other variable” you present to be invalid and does not answer the question.

There are plenty of private roads in this country, and they use the same set of rules and are constructed the same way. I’ve traveled some myself, and the only noticeable difference is that there is no one enforcing the rules. I rolled through stop signs when I felt it was safe, and I also drove non-street legal vehicles on those roads. I drove at whatever speed I felt comfortable with, although typically I stayed close to the posted limit.

On certain occasions, typically holiday weekends, the private management board would ask a local officer to come in and patrol the roads and help keep the peace. He did not write tickets that I am aware of, merely warned people.

So, now apply my same argument to this case. Say there were statistics demonstrating that on those weekends the traffic laws weren’t enforced, accidents were significantly higher than those weekends the laws were enforced (there were no official statistics in reality, however there was obvious evidence from years past which was enough to cause the management to call the officer in during typically dangerous weekends).

I would argue that government management does create a safer driving environment than a lack of any enforcement. I do not see an alternative that involves keeping driving as safe or safer than currently without gov management, although I would probably welcome it.

Kevin B September 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm

curio: “I do not see an alternative that involves keeping driving as safe or safer than currently without gov management, although I would probably welcome it.”

What you (and I) do not see are the conditions that would have arisen (and would exist) had government not monopolized transportation pathway infrastructure. I am not arguing that there need be no rules or enforcement of rules, but that, due to the destiny of government inefficiency, improvement of built-in hazard reduction will relatively crawl, and ridiculous methods will eventually permeate any government effort at rule-making.

It seemed to me that you were saying that there is a need for government management of road in order to have a safe driving environment. I am saying that it isn’t necessarily so, that “safety” involves not being forced off the road by a guy with a gun just so that he can make some cash, as happens quite often on government roads. Did you take that into consideration before you came to the conclusion that roads are safer?

The bottom line is that I’m saying we should expect a hazardous driving environment on government roads, and that we should consider whether a total shift to private responsibility of pathway infrastructure would be a far more efficient alternative. If so, then a lack of government management(/enforcement) of traffic rules would mean safer travel.

curio September 18, 2008 at 11:20 am

I agree with the premise that we have no idea how traffic rules and/or safety would have transpired without government involvement; however there are many basic safety rules that necessarily must come about. Therefore it is safe to assume that the road rules would not be drastically/fundamentally different; plus it is extremely likely there would still be some type of enforcement, even if it was private, in order to assure safety. Otherwise, as I illustrated, the roads would be much more dangerous.

The simple fact that rules would even exist (which surely they would in any scenario) necessitates following the rules and enforcing the rules. If not, again, the roads would be chaotic and more dangerous than currently.

Yes, I did consider being coerced to comply with the rules under the threat of violence, but safety involves making decisions and the risks of those decisions. I could travel a private road without the threat of police and drive my motorcycle 180 mph through a 4-way intersection, but that does not make me safer than rolling through a stop sign, getting a ticket, and complying with the order to pay. If I chose not to comply, I understand the risks of doing so, just as I understand the risks of speeding my bike through a stop sign. Would I like not having any risk when I roll through a stop sign? Of course. I would also like no risk of speeding through one, but there are known possible consequences of these actions.

The risk of breaking the rules and eventually being killed or seriously injured (by not paying, resisting arrest, or the like) is less than the risk of being killed by greatly increased recklessness. When driving, I have a choice to comply with the rules or not and face the consequences as such. I do not have a choice if no rules are enforced and my odds of being in a serious/fatal accident increase greatly. This is where I am coming from.

As for your bottom line, of course we should consider all alternatives, but I fail to see how lack of government enforcement would mean safer travel. Unless you mean someone else enforcing rules, in which I see no difference; or you mean no enforcement whatsoever, in which I would love to hear examples of how that could translate to safer roads.

It is nice to talk theory, but at some point we must reconcile with reality. If anyone has a vision that involves a superior method than current, let’s hear it. Otherwise, it sounds like a lot of proponents of more dangerous driving in the name of not paying tickets. I personally believe taking the risk of paying a ticket (or simply following the rules of the road) is far less than an increase in reckless driving. I suppose I’m in the minority, but I really don’t like being in traffic accidents.

curio September 18, 2008 at 11:45 am

How’s this for a theory – over the long-term, anything the government does that is significantly inefficient is eventually replaced by market forces. Of course there are examples of government monopolizing certain services, however, are they so significantly inefficient that a business can profitably do much better? If so, they will be.

In this case of road infrastructure and traffic enforcement, I believe if there was a better way all around, it would have been done by now. I also suspect that when the initial infrastructure was being created, it was not a bunch of gov officials sitting in a room thinking how they would like to create the road systems. It likely involved private consultants, engineers, and road construction businesses input. The money to build came from government, but not the rest.

I’m no expert on the subject, but it’s very likely most roads existed previously due to simple walking/horse trails in which the gov had nothing to do with. By the same token, there were likely unwritten rules of the road in the early days that also came from regular, innovative folk which eventually turned into law simply to help enforce the rules in the name of safety.

So the notion that the whole system is a government creation and we have no idea how it would have otherwise turned out does not appear credible. The primary purpose of government involvement was funding to build and enforcement of rules. The rest was market forces. If there were a “better” way to enforce using private enterprise, I’m sure it would have been done.

Kevin B September 18, 2008 at 4:23 pm

curio: “The risk of breaking the rules and eventually being killed or seriously injured (by not paying, resisting arrest, or the like) is less than the risk of being killed by greatly increased recklessness.”

Are you saying that if you choose to run away from police, and you try your best to avoid capture, that you have less chance of being killed or seriously injured than if there weren’t police pulling people over for traffic violations?

curio September 18, 2008 at 4:59 pm

No, I meant in context of the sentences following that statement. Namely, the risk of that happening to me are virtually nil because I am highly unlikely to choose to flee the police and resist arrest.

Obviously I am not in the minority in that, since most people do not resist traffic violations by fleeing.

Again, I make the choice and understand the consequences. Were there no enforcement at all, the odds of a fatal or serious accident increase significantly, of which I have no choice.

I choose to risk paying a fine and having a significantly safer driving environment than the alternative. There is a risk of being violently subdued if I choose not to pay and resist (or even killed if I take it a step further and equally threaten the officers life), but I simply choose not to do that.

Kevin B September 18, 2008 at 5:54 pm

curio,

I don’t think being robbed qualifies as “safe.” Sure, you don’t necessarily suffer any physical damages, but you certainly aren’t free of injury…unless of course you enjoy crouching down and licking the hands that feed you.

curio September 18, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Using the term “robbed” implies that I had no choice in the matter. And if you equate financial injury to physical injury, I’m not sure I can have a rational conversation with you. Yes, I feel safer choosing to risk paying a $100 fine than increasing my risk (through no choice) of getting into a serious accident and potentially dying. At any rate, I still haven’t seen any refute that the roads are safer under the current system of enforcement.

In this case, the issue was rolling through a stop sign. Say the rules were changed to not enforce rolling through stop signs. Then it becomes “what is the definition of rolling through”? 5 mph? 10 mph? 20 mph? I slowed down from 50 mph to 45 mph? Inevitably, the rates of accidents increase significantly.

At this point, rational people decide that it was worth enforcing the stop rule after all, and have the choice to either stop or continue rolling through and facing a fine. Then we’re back to square one.

However, going through that exercise is not necessary, because rational people already understand that the current system is the safest, and that in this case being safer trumps the “freedom” to ignore the rule without any man-made penalty.

Kevin B September 18, 2008 at 11:30 pm

I wasn’t equating financial injury with physical injury; that should be quite obvious. However, the threat of physical force is definitely a reality when being pulled over. I find the threat of violence to be a safety issue.

Furthermore, there is threat of violence in gathering the funds to build the roads. There is threat of violence when gathering funds to enforce traffic rules. I am forced to pay for roads that (apparently) I must have permission to use. To say that I make a choice to obey the traffic cops or not is like saying that slaves have the choice to obey their masters or not. If they try to run away and get hurt, then they CHOSE to take the risk. If they would have just obeyed their masters, they would have been “safe”.

Apparently, you don’t recognize a right to be left alone. It’s no wonder you can’t imagine the roads being any safer.

Jerry S September 19, 2008 at 9:39 am

I guess I feel qualified to talk about the inane traffic laws. I’m a registered Professional Engineer who has designed Roads for Towns and Cities up and down the east coast. The problem with most stop signs is that there are too many (mostly the 4 -way stops) and most of the time not needed. My recommendation is to follow more of the European way of having roundabouts at most busy intersections where 4-way stops are deemed neccessary. If designed properly and people understand how to use them, they keep traffic flowing and minimize unnecessary stopping and starting (which by the way uses more energy from your car’s engine, thus increasing the amount of your tailpipe emissions). Although I doubt many cities in the US would go thie route, as there would be a decline in ticket revenue.

The problem I’ve seen throughout, is that every time there is an accident at an intersection, the answer is add a stop sign and it is assumed that will cure it. And it typically will at that location, but the accident will typically just occur somewhere else.

My 2 cents.

Jerry September 19, 2008 at 10:21 am

Hypothetically, if we were “allowed” to roll through stop signs and otherwise make our own decisions as to whether it was safe to stop at red lights or not, would the rate of accidents greatly increase due to the lax attitudes that would inevitably develop (like our southern neighbors)? – curio

I don’t know about your neighborhood, but I don’t see anyone in my neighborhood come to a complete stop at a stop sign and there hasn’t been an accident for years as far as I know. Traffic lights are there for a reason, to control the volume of traffic (not for safety). The problem I have with traffic lights is late at night, when there is no traffic at all. I’ve sat at lights at 3 a.m. without a car on the road, there is no reason you can’t slow down, make sure it’s clear and proceed, but of course there could be a Cop lying in wait to pounce (you might have had a drink and they hope they can bust you for a DUI), thereby giving you a ticket when there is no chance of hurting anyone.

curio September 19, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Kevin –

Despite your insinuations that I like to be controlled under the threat of violence, I still have not seen any reference towards how a road system can be less dangerous.

I do not enjoy the current system, but I am at a loss to envision a superior alternative. You have not referenced a credible alternative. So the implication (correct me if I’m mistaken) is that you believe an un-enforced private road system would be safer, despite the evidence of higher rates of accidents. This is all you need to say, rather than inflammatory remarks like “licking the hands that feed you” and slave analogies. That analogy is offensive and simply does not work, and leads to a derailment of serious discussion. Normally when someone begins to go down that road rather than stating logical conclusions and/or alternatives, they have ceased being able to add any more value to the conversation.

As for the right to be left alone, in this case, I simply stay home or have someone else drive me. Or I drive on private roads. Of course, my risk of being in an accident increases greatly on that private road. You may feel that is ultimately safer than an enforced road; I do not.

If I felt that complying with the rules of the enforced road where so unreasonable and unbearable to abide by, I would likely feel the same way. However, as stated before, I do not feel that way, nor do I feel that the financial penalty for breaking those rules is unbearable. Were the roads just as safe or safer (from an accident perspective) without enforcement, then yes, I would feel the current way unreasonable.

Lastly, the threat of violence exists everywhere and at any time regardless of the government. It is the level, or likelihood of that risk that is at stake.

Michael A. Clem September 19, 2008 at 3:23 pm

Thanks for the comments, Jerry.
– It is irrelevant to ask whether the firm would have a stop sign at any particular corner. They surely would have stop signs, or red lights, or some other method of traffic control. And they surely would not permit customers to selectively decide, on an individual basis, whether they need to comply with any traffic control mechanism.
Yes, they would surely have some method of traffic control. They would choose a method of traffic control that works best, and is easy for traffic to comply with, and not arbitrarily assume that a Stop sign is always the best solution. But you’ve heard of Yield signs, haven’t you? They’re not as common as they used to be, I guess, but they still exist. At a Yield sign, you yield to cross traffic–it’s not necessary to come to a full stop if there’s no traffic.

curio September 19, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Jerry S –

I think the roundabouts are a great idea, and in the state I live in they are catching on and becoming more popular.

Jerry (assuming the second post is from a different Jerry) –

I agree with you. The problem is reality. Rules are black and white in a gray world. So either you have a rule or you don’t. In your neighborhood, should it be legal to roll through the stop sign for the reasons you mentioned? Where do you draw the line at what is considered a “roll”? That was my point if you continued reading my post.

Kevin B September 19, 2008 at 3:49 pm

curio,

I’m sorry. It appears that we have been wasting each other’s time. I was under the impression that you wished to solve the problem of overall traffic safety, but I now see that you merely wish to win a very narrow argument.

I am not here to argue with you or anyone else. I am here to discover the truth.

Good hunting,

Kevin B

curio September 19, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Kevin -

My initial premise, which has been the same all along, is which is safer – government management of the roads or not. You have never directly addressed this question, only attacked specific passages I have written and ignored the rest. I am unsure of what “very narrow argument” you speak of.

Note – rather than the word “argument” I suppose I should have been using the term “debate”, which is what I meant. That is a miscommunication on my behalf.

I do notice that you have a very strong aversion towards the consequences of enforcement, yet you stated earlier that you are “not arguing that there need be no rules or enforcement of rules”. I am very curious as to how rules could exist (or be valid) without enforcement, and how enforcement could exist (or be valid) without the threat of violence. Alas, I suppose that is another argument for another time.

My goal was to be convinced that I am incorrect, that there was something critical I was missing. Unfortunately the discussion came nowhere near that, and instead began to degrade and become somewhat hostile.

Nonetheless, as you cannot seem to engage in a convincing “debate” with me on the subject for whatever reason, I wish you best wishes in your seeking of truth.

John February 26, 2009 at 8:47 pm

I got an idea asshole, come to a complete stop. You’re absolutely ignorant and stupid if you think you live in a “safe” neighborhood. You have no idea what will happen in the future. Instead of posting ridiculous blogs. Completely stop. I would have learned that on my 1st ticket. What will be your excuse when you roll through a stop sign and hit someone??? Laws are put in place for a reason. Just cause’ they don’t suit you, doesn’t mean they are incorrect. Smarten up.

me2 June 3, 2010 at 10:38 am

why so serious? he is complaining about the “bugs” (pigs?) in the system not about stopping or not.

Dave July 14, 2009 at 11:29 am

Wow, John, I see that right above the comment form it asks you to “Post an intelligent and civil comment.” You fail both requirements.

me2 June 3, 2010 at 10:37 am

in india we pay between 50 to 300 rupees (1 and 6 dollars) per offense. (no papers, running a red light, etc). and even then we grumble.
as a solution why dont you’ll have speed bumps? they seem to work very well on indian roads (in conjunction with potholes)

Ohjoy June 17, 2010 at 7:12 am

This whole article and ones like it are a waste of precious, valuable life. It really comes down to simple human intelligence. The sign says “STOP”, in full capitals to draw your attention, it is placed clearly visible, it’s even colored red, a color that the human mind has been conditioned to take to mean halt, stop, bad etc. So once you perform your little “rolling stop” regardless of how few vehicles use the intersection, I’m sorry, but you’ve written your own ticket. Using roads is not a right, it’s a privilege, one you are granted so long as you follow a documented set of rules. The sign says “STOP” so you stop, completely, as per the definition of stopping. If you roll on through then I applaud the issuing of a ticket against your name and hope for many, many more. The same goes for any ticket you receive, the only reason you ever get a ticket is if you are breaking one or multiple rules that you have agreed to abide by at all times so that you may be granted the privilege of operating a vehicle on the road. Yes, the police do revenue collect somewhat, somebody has to pay the bills, the government could put your taxes up but then you’d whimper on about that too. Yes these police officers may well just be issuing these tickets to earn themselves a little more money. The thing is, the police aren’t being particularly devious or cunning, they realized that hey, people are breaking a contract they agreed to in order to be out on the roads, lets capitalize on that to help pay the bills. You want to stop their revenue collecting, to stop them earning a little bit on the side? Stop enabling them – it’s really not that hard to avoid being ticketed, I know plenty of people who’ve been driving a long time and never had a single ticket – obey the simple rules you agreed to obey, simple, period. What is wrong with people these days?

Chris August 9, 2010 at 12:55 pm

The best way to end this evil tyranny is to stop at the stop sign, genius.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: