Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

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Spambot5546
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Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Spambot5546 » Wed May 21, 2014 3:00 pm UTC

I don't know how you do this in the rest of the world, but in the US minor infractions (speed limit violations are probably the most common) are punished with a fine. This makes sense on the face of it. The punishment is reasonably light for what is ultimately a minor infraction, and the municipality gets extra income.

That said, I'm starting to suspect that very benefit may also be its largest detractor. See, while it's a myth that police have ticket quotas, at least in an "official" sense, officers are "encouraged" to issue citations in a way we don't see with other crimes. Studies of red light cameras have consistently found that they cause more accidents than they prevent, but municipalities continue to use them because of the income they bring in.

Not to deny that society as a whole benefits from this revenue. I'm sure the $100 you pay your city, county, or state are going towards parks, road work, hospitals, art. Even if there are cases where it just ends up in some politician's pocket, I'd prefer to discuss it from the best-case scenario that it DOES have benefit. The question is, do these societal benefits justify the overenforcement I allege in the previous paragraph?

There's also an issue unique to fines in that they are a greater punishment for people with low income. I drove the speed limit when I was in school, but don't give a second thought to doing 15-20 over now that I have a job. Fines aren't the only example, though. Things like community service and using prisoners to do labor are existing examples, and I've heard hypotheticals like people propose things like using death row inmates as medical guinea pigs.

I set all this up to ask the question: do the benefits to society justify the possible overenforcement? Should we focus on eliminating overenforcement, and if so, how? Would it be better to make judicial punishments more burdensome to society, in an effort to ensure enforcement only takes place when justified? How, in such a system, could minor infractions be handled?
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Wed May 21, 2014 3:38 pm UTC

Benefits to society from judicial punishment do certainly seem to function as a regressive tax, adding yet another layer of insulation between the haves and the have-nots.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 21, 2014 3:52 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:I don't know how you do this in the rest of the world, but in the US minor infractions (speed limit violations are probably the most common) are punished with a fine. This makes sense on the face of it. The punishment is reasonably light for what is ultimately a minor infraction, and the municipality gets extra income.


Society and government are not identical. What is beneficial to one may not benefit the other.

Locally, we've had a lot of problems with financially incentivized "justice". A bunch of them got thrown out recently for straight fraud, but there was also the lowering of red light times, high rates of errors, probable violations of laws, etc. When you stack up a bunch of financial incentives for people to catch a lot of speeders/red light folks, well...that's probably going to happen. But it may not happen in a way that actually makes people safer.

There is already a certain small degree of worry about the threat to their income posed by auto-driving cars. Yes, let us fight safety, because it threatens our cash flow. Weeee.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby The Great Hippo » Wed May 21, 2014 5:26 pm UTC

The thing I never really understood: If you're using a policy to make money -- and the policy, in fact, makes us all a little less safer -- why not just abolish the policy and raise taxes appropriately? Everybody wins; you get more money, we get to keep our safety.

I guess in this case, though, the regressive tax is supposed to target 'unsafe drivers', and people who aren't very unsafe would feel unfairly targeted by such a tax. But surely there must be easier ways to tax unsafe drivers than speed traps.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 21, 2014 6:11 pm UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:The thing I never really understood: If you're using a policy to make money -- and the policy, in fact, makes us all a little less safer -- why not just abolish the policy and raise taxes appropriately? Everybody wins; you get more money, we get to keep our safety.

I guess in this case, though, the regressive tax is supposed to target 'unsafe drivers', and people who aren't very unsafe would feel unfairly targeted by such a tax. But surely there must be easier ways to tax unsafe drivers than speed traps.


From a purely logical perspective, it does not make a great deal of sense, no. However, sin taxes are usually easier to justify as taxing "others". All you have to do is convince the majority that they will benefit by entacting a punishment on a few "bad" folks, who of course, won't be them. And, once something is accepted, it's hard to dislodge. A ton of people now accept that speeding tickets are primarily about revenue, but still they persist. It's generally easier for lawmakers to work towards a goal that doesn't threaten their income.

Hell, even on a national front, the economy is extremely often a top concern for people. However, the economy is complex, and it's pretty hard to get a good economy by simply passing a bill. So, it's much more popular to pursue social goals, etc. The payoff/effort ratio is better for the politician.

A big portion of why speeding tickets make good tax collection means is exactly why they make poor punishment. First off, they're infrequent. You can speed a LOT without being caught. Basically everyone does. If you only get punished for a thing every thousand times or so you do it, that's...not a huge deterrent. Secondly, the fine. In most cases, the fine isn't ridiculous. This is less important than the frequency, honestly, but it keeps people from flipping out over the unfairness. It hits that sweet spot where it's usually easier to pay the fine than fight it in court. This keeps the money flowing in with a minimum of fuss. It also means that for many folks, they'll be back to speeding right away, because they really don't care about a small(to them) fine.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Wed May 21, 2014 7:25 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:A big portion of why speeding tickets make good tax collection means is exactly why they make poor punishment. First off, they're infrequent. You can speed a LOT without being caught. Basically everyone does. If you only get punished for a thing every thousand times or so you do it, that's...not a huge deterrent. Secondly, the fine. In most cases, the fine isn't ridiculous. This is less important than the frequency, honestly, but it keeps people from flipping out over the unfairness. It hits that sweet spot where it's usually easier to pay the fine than fight it in court. This keeps the money flowing in with a minimum of fuss. It also means that for many folks, they'll be back to speeding right away, because they really don't care about a small(to them) fine.

And for people working minimum wage and living paycheck to paycheck, the fine is such a big problem that it's seen as the same sort of emergency cost as illness or a car breakdown, so it's too big of an issue to plan for.

Either way, it doesn't deter.

I used to speed a lot; don't hardly ever anymore. If we suppose that an individual like me (who sped a lot) spends around an hour (total) in the car each day, speeding at an average of 10 mph over the speed limit, and the average speed over the whole is 40-50 mph, that's a savings of 10-15 minutes per day...roughly an hour each week. At minimum wage of $7.25, that means that a year's worth of speeding is worth roughly $375 in saved time. You'd have to be getting a $150 ticket every five months in order for speeding to NOT be the economical choice.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby nicklikesfire » Wed May 21, 2014 8:00 pm UTC

Spambot5546 wrote:I set all this up to ask the question: do the benefits to society justify the possible overenforcement? Should we focus on eliminating overenforcement, and if so, how? Would it be better to make judicial punishments more burdensome to society, in an effort to ensure enforcement only takes place when justified? How, in such a system, could minor infractions be handled?


Personally I know that some of my distrust and anger towards police officers is caused by the business of traffic enforcement.

I believe that red light cameras are a straight up scam.
I believe that cops target certain cars for tickets based on how the car or occupants look, where the license plate is from, or what stickers are on the car.
I believe the process of getting a ticket and the judicial process afterwards, are fairly arbitrary and are easily manipulated based on the drivers wealth, connections, or social status.
I believe that many people agree with me.

I think this is enough of a reason to fix the problem, because it undermines the effectiveness of the police in more serious matters.

Or maybe I just like to drive fast and I'm bitter.

It could be either.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Wed May 21, 2014 8:30 pm UTC

nicklikesfire wrote:Personally I know that some of my distrust and anger towards police officers is caused by the business of traffic enforcement.

I believe that red light cameras are a straight up scam.
I believe that cops target certain cars for tickets based on how the car or occupants look, where the license plate is from, or what stickers are on the car.
I believe the process of getting a ticket and the judicial process afterwards, are fairly arbitrary and are easily manipulated based on the drivers wealth, connections, or social status.
I believe that many people agree with me.

I think this is enough of a reason to fix the problem, because it undermines the effectiveness of the police in more serious matters.

Or maybe I just like to drive fast and I'm bitter.

It could be either.

Most cops I have spoken to personally hate their quotas with a vengeance.

Of course, most cops I know aren't traffic control cops.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Cleverbeans » Thu May 22, 2014 12:15 am UTC

I think of speeding tickets as a luxury tax. If someone wants to gain disproportionately from the government's projects like roads it seems natural to charge them for the privilege to me.
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby sardia » Thu May 22, 2014 12:57 am UTC

The problem of financing government with fees is you're overly punishing the poor and you are reliant on law breakers to keep the system running. Kinda perverse incentive when you need criminals to keep coming back or else the lights go out. Worst of all, you end up putting people in jail for a minor offense because being unable to pay the fee is a bigger crime than the original misdemeanor.
http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313118629 ... rs-prisons

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby leady » Thu May 22, 2014 1:45 pm UTC

but bear in mind that these are fines for statistical crimes not actually crimes (victim based crimes)

so if a fine based system means that 99% of people have to obey the law and 1% don't, then it serves its purpose and achieves financial benefits.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 22, 2014 4:09 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The problem of financing government with fees is you're overly punishing the poor and you are reliant on law breakers to keep the system running. Kinda perverse incentive when you need criminals to keep coming back or else the lights go out. Worst of all, you end up putting people in jail for a minor offense because being unable to pay the fee is a bigger crime than the original misdemeanor.
http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313118629 ... rs-prisons


Fees are terrible indeed. They're not progressive at all, usually, and yeah, terrible incentives. I understand fees for optional use sorts of things, like...I dunno, vanity license plates or whatever. That's fine. But any fee you *have* to pay in a legal sense is problematic.

Cleverbeans wrote:I think of speeding tickets as a luxury tax. If someone wants to gain disproportionately from the government's projects like roads it seems natural to charge them for the privilege to me.


Speeding tickets do not do this. Gas taxes do this. If you drive particularly fast, you'll be much less fuel efficient, and thus, paying higher taxes. The gas tax is fairly elegant use-wise(though not quite perfect). It'll probably become less so as we swap to alternatively fueled vehicles, though. Right now, it's no biggie because encouraging them via lower taxation is fine, but if they become widespread, well...moneys gotta come from somewhere.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby freezeblade » Fri May 23, 2014 5:27 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Fees are terrible indeed. They're not progressive at all, usually, and yeah, terrible incentives. I understand fees for optional use sorts of things, like...I dunno, vanity license plates or whatever. That's fine. But any fee you *have* to pay in a legal sense is problematic.


You mean like charging a fee for the use of a public defender?
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-10-03-feesforjustice_N.htm?loc=..
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Ixtellor » Fri May 23, 2014 9:00 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:Benefits to society from judicial punishment do certainly seem to function as a regressive tax, adding yet another layer of insulation between the haves and the have-nots.


Rich people can also afford to throw more food away. Is that also a form of institutional oppression?

If you don't speed, you don't pay speeding tickets. If you can't afford speeding tickets, don't speed.

And while it may appear like a 'Rich people get to speed!' argument speeding tickets, like all tickets, scale in severity as you get more of them. Insurance costs go up as well as the state fines.
Even in super conservative Texas 4 'points' on your license will result in an annual fee --- more points and more fees are added until your license is revoked. So even the richest people will quickly find they can't actually get away with speeding just because they can afford the first few tickets.

Hence, I reject the idea that speeding ticket affordability is a form of poverty oppression.
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Spambot5546 » Sat May 24, 2014 3:49 am UTC

It's not so much an issue of "I have disposable income, so I can go 100 down the highway with no fear of the repercussions" as an issue of "I don't have disposable income, so one speeding ticket could financially ruin me."
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby sardia » Sat May 24, 2014 4:17 am UTC

Ixtellor wrote:
stoppedcaring wrote:Benefits to society from judicial punishment do certainly seem to function as a regressive tax, adding yet another layer of insulation between the haves and the have-nots.


Rich people can also afford to throw more food away. Is that also a form of institutional oppression?

If you don't speed, you don't pay speeding tickets. If you can't afford speeding tickets, don't speed.

And while it may appear like a 'Rich people get to speed!' argument speeding tickets, like all tickets, scale in severity as you get more of them. Insurance costs go up as well as the state fines.
Even in super conservative Texas 4 'points' on your license will result in an annual fee --- more points and more fees are added until your license is revoked. So even the richest people will quickly find they can't actually get away with speeding just because they can afford the first few tickets.

Hence, I reject the idea that speeding ticket affordability is a form of poverty oppression.

There's two bad things happening here. The first is clear cut, debtor's prisons are unconstitutional and jailing people for minor offenses when they are unable to pay fines is also unconstitutional. The states just aren't enforcing SCOTUS rulings in an effort to save money (read earn more revenue). The second which is much less clear is how society should finance government. If you're towards the libertarian side of the political spectrum, the libertarian platonic ideal of government, then financing everything with user fees/fines instead of taxation feels right. It leads to perverse incentives, is wasteful but it is easier than raising taxes. Please remember that having a system of justice isn't the same as a gym membership.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Nem » Sat May 24, 2014 4:11 pm UTC

Everything should benefit society - and, as a general principle, all individuals within a society should will it so, since it's more likely that they'll be among the benefited than the harmed. When you start getting down to talking about the specifics individuals are likely to be less collectively minded because they already know where they're going to end up of course. Someone who's very powerful is likely to want a set up where things don't benefit society because they know that they can hope to leverage themselves to be the one benefited by things that are harms to the group.

However, the kicker is that the costs difficult to calculate. The immediate benefit of a speeding ticket to society is more income, but the less immediate harms are potentially less trust in police, unequal penalties, and so on.

It's like, rejecting morals and social effects for a moment, in a purely mathematical sense we should just take people off the streets and chop them up for their organs. One person's body can sustain many others. Blood giving should be a mandatory activity. Etc. But I suspect people would object to being dragged off to have their blood involuntarily extracted.

So I'm inclined to say that yes, judicial punishment should benefit society, if it did otherwise we should just not punish people for those things. But, it's not clear that they do and money is a bad focus to determine that when taken in isolation.

How do we deal with over-enforcement? I'm inclined to say that police activities in an area should be measured by number of complaints successfully resolved, number of road traffic accidents, and so on. Measure the things we directly care about, reward for those, and make the data available so that the police can work out for themselves what's going to get them a better position. It doesn't make sense to incentivise for behaviour rather than results.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Sat May 24, 2014 6:54 pm UTC

Of course we could put black boxes in cars. Warn you based on the data, boost your insurance fees by the number of times you get warned and say, 5 warnings and you ride public transportation for a year. It would be absolutely even handed and absolutely everyone could be tagged equally, including the police and other members of government. No fines, no fees, just increase your policy costs because you are a scofflaw and speed, and let you ride the bench if you can't take a hint. Or we could do what some trucking companies do, and put governors which slap a limit of the top speed you can run, and place beacons that replace speed limit signs, and tell the car the maximum speed you can drive. Would that be better than the current system which seeks to limit the degree to which people speed rather than stopping it, by making speeding within a certain range a, l"oo"tery?

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Nem » Mon May 26, 2014 1:06 pm UTC

I'm not a big fan of strict adherence to the law. If that sort of thing came about I can see people getting done because they were a couple of miles over for a minute or so while they were paying attention to the road rather than their speedo. Less of sane enforcement of the law and more a magical 'screw people over because you can' system.

And I don't think it would get government members. They're generally rich enough to live in a completely different world than the rest of us. Getting someone to drive them around would hardly be an imposition. The fact is when you exact any fixed cost against a group, you're always going to affect the poorest members of that group the most.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue May 27, 2014 3:47 pm UTC

freezeblade wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Fees are terrible indeed. They're not progressive at all, usually, and yeah, terrible incentives. I understand fees for optional use sorts of things, like...I dunno, vanity license plates or whatever. That's fine. But any fee you *have* to pay in a legal sense is problematic.


You mean like charging a fee for the use of a public defender?
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-10-03-feesforjustice_N.htm?loc=..


I am also against this, yes. Ditto, the pervasive use of plea bargaining to short circuit the whole "day in court" thing. Justice should be as equal for all as we can make it.

sardia wrote:There's two bad things happening here. The first is clear cut, debtor's prisons are unconstitutional and jailing people for minor offenses when they are unable to pay fines is also unconstitutional. The states just aren't enforcing SCOTUS rulings in an effort to save money (read earn more revenue). The second which is much less clear is how society should finance government. If you're towards the libertarian side of the political spectrum, the libertarian platonic ideal of government, then financing everything with user fees/fines instead of taxation feels right. It leads to perverse incentives, is wasteful but it is easier than raising taxes. Please remember that having a system of justice isn't the same as a gym membership.


Us libertarians overwelmingly accept military, judicial, etc as essential government functions that do need to be provided for adequately(though folks disagree on what constitutes an adequate military, etc, of course). It's other stuff that ends up being controversial. Justice is something that literally benefits everyone equally(or should), and thus, paying for it via taxation is entirely reasonable. Same for national defense. It literally helps everyone.

On the other hand, elements such as tax breaks for mortgages help one group at the expense of others(in this case, homeowners at the expense of renters). These are generally not things that need to exist from a libertarian POV. Paying for roads out of gas taxes is better than paying for it out of the general fund, because it more closely matches usage, but better models likely do exist, and we'll need to transition as non-gas vehicles become more pervasive.

Of course, most libertarians are for relaxing judicial punishment for non-violent stuff like use of weed or what not, on a cost/effectiveness basis. Any benefit to society is wildly outweighed by the costs. If justice is not providing a net benefit for society, one must question why it is called justice. Red light cameras, speed limits, and speed bumps frequently have their effectiveness questioned as a result.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Tue May 27, 2014 6:00 pm UTC

Nem wrote:I'm not a big fan of strict adherence to the law. If that sort of thing came about I can see people getting done because they were a couple of miles over for a minute or so while they were paying attention to the road rather than their speedo. Less of sane enforcement of the law and more a magical 'screw people over because you can' system.

If the black box system was inside the car, it could be based on an alarm.

Once you exceed the speed limit, it starts dinging. After you've ignored the dinging for 60 seconds, it turns more justified. After you've ignored the justified dinging for 120 seconds more, a voice begins repeating "You are in violation of safety laws; please reduce speed immediately." If you ignore the voice for 60 seconds, a governor kicks in and your speed automatically drops.

Of course people would immediately start tampering with the system to turn off the speakers and disconnect the governor. This could be discouraged by requiring a readout from the black box whenever you had a vehicle inspection and matching it against the odometer. It works in theory, anyway. Especially if you subsequently increased all speed limits nationwide by 10 mph.

The problem is that in the United States, that's not feasible. We have 50 separate, basically-sovereign jurisdictions, all with different vehicle inspection requirements. The only place this would work would be on a sovereign island or something.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue May 27, 2014 6:10 pm UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:
Nem wrote:I'm not a big fan of strict adherence to the law. If that sort of thing came about I can see people getting done because they were a couple of miles over for a minute or so while they were paying attention to the road rather than their speedo. Less of sane enforcement of the law and more a magical 'screw people over because you can' system.

If the black box system was inside the car, it could be based on an alarm.

Once you exceed the speed limit, it starts dinging. After you've ignored the dinging for 60 seconds, it turns more justified. After you've ignored the justified dinging for 120 seconds more, a voice begins repeating "You are in violation of safety laws; please reduce speed immediately." If you ignore the voice for 60 seconds, a governor kicks in and your speed automatically drops.

Of course people would immediately start tampering with the system to turn off the speakers and disconnect the governor. This could be discouraged by requiring a readout from the black box whenever you had a vehicle inspection and matching it against the odometer. It works in theory, anyway. Especially if you subsequently increased all speed limits nationwide by 10 mph.

The problem is that in the United States, that's not feasible. We have 50 separate, basically-sovereign jurisdictions, all with different vehicle inspection requirements. The only place this would work would be on a sovereign island or something.


That's going to be wildly unpopular. Soon as someone dies due to such a system(even if you have a decent case for net gain), you have a severe publicity problem.

Anyway, I'm not sure that speeding is really the worst of things. Driving over a given speed limit is not inherently dangerous(especially given speed traps, etc). Driving differently from the flow of traffic IS. So, that one person in the fast lane doing 55 out of some sense of moral outrage when everyone is doing 70 is the danger. Likewise, when people mash the brakes because they see a cop or something. The goal shouldn't be "make everyone obey the speed limit", it should be "reduce traffic deaths". If the speed limit policy is being widely ignored, "enforce it harder" is not the only option. See also, the war on drugs.

Sometimes a given strategy just doesn't work, and needs to be ditched or revised.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby stoppedcaring » Tue May 27, 2014 6:18 pm UTC

Hey, I don't like speed limits either. They're rather stupid.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Tue May 27, 2014 8:52 pm UTC

I wasn't suggesting that those things be implemented. Although the black boxes already exist in one form or another. Just pointing out that if they wanted to stop speeding it could be done without fines. They don't want to. I don't worry about it. And I do speed. But I move with the traffic and have had one ticket over my driving span. But I believe that traffic deaths are down because cars are safer, not people. The system is working fine. But autonomous cars are coming. Serving ads while whisking you down the road at the speed limit.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby sardia » Tue May 27, 2014 11:10 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:
Us libertarians overwelmingly accept military, judicial, etc as essential government functions that do need to be provided for adequately(though folks disagree on what constitutes an adequate military, etc, of course). It's other stuff that ends up being controversial. Justice is something that literally benefits everyone equally(or should), and thus, paying for it via taxation is entirely reasonable. Same for national defense. It literally helps everyone.

On the other hand, elements such as tax breaks for mortgages help one group at the expense of others(in this case, homeowners at the expense of renters). These are generally not things that need to exist from a libertarian POV. Paying for roads out of gas taxes is better than paying for it out of the general fund, because it more closely matches usage, but better models likely do exist, and we'll need to transition as non-gas vehicles become more pervasive.

Of course, most libertarians are for relaxing judicial punishment for non-violent stuff like use of weed or what not, on a cost/effectiveness basis. Any benefit to society is wildly outweighed by the costs. If justice is not providing a net benefit for society, one must question why it is called justice. Red light cameras, speed limits, and speed bumps frequently have their effectiveness questioned as a result.

Do libertarians only do the cost benefit analysis for justice, or for all government programs/initiatives/laws? Because I don't see cost benefit analysis going on when they call to strip government down to those core governmental functions you listed.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue May 27, 2014 11:30 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Do libertarians only do the cost benefit analysis for justice, or for all government programs/initiatives/laws? Because I don't see cost benefit analysis going on when they call to strip government down to those core governmental functions you listed.


Sometimes. Depends on the flavor. Some, myself included, usually prefer to argue from pragmatic rationales, and we focus heavily on costs that are often ignored. Others prefer to argue from a rights perspective. Not every discussion will be conducted in an identical manner...but yes, it's entirely normal for libertarians to believe that the programs that need to die are problematic from a cost/benefit perspective.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby billy joule » Wed May 28, 2014 4:40 am UTC

stoppedcaring wrote:If the black box system was inside the car, it could be based on an alarm.

Once you exceed the speed limit, it starts dinging.


This exists and IME it is the most effective way to reduce speeding. It drives you crazy.
once you get over 105-110 km/hr BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP like an 18 wheeler is reversing inside your ear.

In one car it was linked to the stereo so you couldn't drown it out with music, it got louder as you turned the music up.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby BattleMoose » Wed May 28, 2014 4:33 pm UTC

I am surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet.

In some countries the fine you pay is a percentage of your income. A much more equitable means of punishment and can lead to comically huge fines.

http://www.drive.com.au/motor-news/300k ... 120xn.html

Tyndmyr
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 28, 2014 5:10 pm UTC

BattleMoose wrote:I am surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet.

In some countries the fine you pay is a percentage of your income. A much more equitable means of punishment and can lead to comically huge fines.

http://www.drive.com.au/motor-news/300k ... 120xn.html


That somewhat misses the point. Well, unless the point is to collect more money, because it does that quite well. It's still a crappy disincentive, because it happens infrequently relative to the offense, and the policy still promotes unsafe behavior.

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Ormurinn
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Ormurinn » Wed May 28, 2014 6:33 pm UTC

Just read this thread for the first time.

You guys are scary. I really don't understand the position that speed limits are unfair or oppressive and enforcing them is a scam.

Speed limits save lives. You're twice as likely to survive as a pedestrian if hit at 30mph rather than 40, and four times as likely to survive if hit at 20mph rather than 30. Speed limits also reduce congestion and make vehicular accidents less likely.

I'd never exceed the speed limit on a stretch of road intentionally, except in a real emergency, and I genuinely can't fathom the attitude of someone who would. Driving is a privelige not a right, and in securing a driving licence you agreed to a social contract to obey the laws of the road.

If there's a problem with lax enforcement, the answer is to enforce more. If there's a problem with bottlenecks/accidents at speed cameras, the answer is more speed cameras, such that people are following the law all the time, not just when they think they'll get caught.

Im receptive to the argument that the Max speed on major roads needs to be raised/ eliminated in an autobahn style arrangement, but that should be coupled with a speed limit reduction in built up areas.

If you speed, you're gambling with your own and others lives. That's not something society should tolerate. You're not better at doing the cost benefit/ mortality analysis of a stretch of road than the town planners and urbanists who do it for a living.
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Spambot5546 » Wed May 28, 2014 6:40 pm UTC

I think you're misunderstanding the objection to speed limits being raised here. The issue is with using speed limit fines as a revenue source rather than as a disincentive to speed. I don't recall anyone being opposed to speed limits in general, just to how they are being enforced right now.
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Wed May 28, 2014 6:46 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Just read this thread for the first time.

You guys are scary. I really don't understand the position that speed limits are unfair or oppressive and enforcing them is a scam.

Speed limits save lives. You're twice as likely to survive as a pedestrian if hit at 30mph rather than 40, and four times as likely to survive if hit at 20mph rather than 30. Speed limits also reduce congestion and make vehicular accidents less likely.

I'd never exceed the speed limit on a stretch of road intentionally, except in a real emergency, and I genuinely can't fathom the attitude of someone who would. Driving is a privelige not a right, and in securing a driving licence you agreed to a social contract to obey the laws of the road.

If there's a problem with lax enforcement, the answer is to enforce more. If there's a problem with bottlenecks/accidents at speed cameras, the answer is more speed cameras, such that people are following the law all the time, not just when they think they'll get caught.

Im receptive to the argument that the Max speed on major roads needs to be raised/ eliminated in an autobahn style arrangement, but that should be coupled with a speed limit reduction in built up areas.

If you speed, you're gambling with your own and others lives. That's not something society should tolerate. You're not better at doing the cost benefit/ mortality analysis of a stretch of road than the town planners and urbanists who do it for a living.
I'm trying to decide if you were that fellow I got caught behind the other day and then I seemed to remember that you are a citizen of the UK.? Just for the record if you wish autobahn speeds in the US, line up for a tax, because the roads aren't up to snuff for those kind of speeds. You're going to have to do some serious work to get those. Maybe other places are better.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby freezeblade » Wed May 28, 2014 6:47 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Speed limits save lives. You're twice as likely to survive as a pedestrian if hit at 30mph rather than 40, and four times as likely to survive if hit at 20mph rather than 30. Speed limits also reduce congestion and make vehicular accidents less likely.


Except most people here appear to be talking about speeding on restricted access roads like freeways/highways, where there are no pedestrians.

As for "reduce congestion" take the 5 freeway in california for example, the speed limit during some parts is 65mph, if you do go 65, you will hold up traffic, as it is at least 15mph under what everyone else on the road is doing. Going the speed of traffic is safer than stubbornly going slower, even if the speed limit is being exceeded.
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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed May 28, 2014 8:04 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Just read this thread for the first time.

You guys are scary. I really don't understand the position that speed limits are unfair or oppressive and enforcing them is a scam.

Speed limits save lives. You're twice as likely to survive as a pedestrian if hit at 30mph rather than 40, and four times as likely to survive if hit at 20mph rather than 30. Speed limits also reduce congestion and make vehicular accidents less likely.


The odds of survival are fairly irrelevant when you get into 55 mph+ territory. Simply put, a car hits you at freeway speeds, and you're probably dead. There is a time and place for driving slow, but speed limits are not sacred, and are not always set with safety in mind. The entire concept of a "speed trap" is based in corruption.

Let me illustrate a related topic. Red light cameras. They have been statistically found to increase the level of lethal accidents. They have also been highly correlated with reduction or outright mis-setting of red light timings so as to provide more money at greater risk to the populace. I cannot conceive of how this is justifable on public safety grounds.

I'd never exceed the speed limit on a stretch of road intentionally, except in a real emergency, and I genuinely can't fathom the attitude of someone who would. Driving is a privelige not a right, and in securing a driving licence you agreed to a social contract to obey the laws of the road.


I do it often. And I am less likely to harm myself or others than you are as a result. If you are the one driving 55 when everyone is driving 70, YOU are the danger.

And it's not a social contract. When all of society ignores something, obviously, that shit isn't important to society. It's important to GOVERNMENT. Government and society are not the same.

If there's a problem with lax enforcement, the answer is to enforce more. If there's a problem with bottlenecks/accidents at speed cameras, the answer is more speed cameras, such that people are following the law all the time, not just when they think they'll get caught.

Im receptive to the argument that the Max speed on major roads needs to be raised/ eliminated in an autobahn style arrangement, but that should be coupled with a speed limit reduction in built up areas.

If you speed, you're gambling with your own and others lives. That's not something society should tolerate. You're not better at doing the cost benefit/ mortality analysis of a stretch of road than the town planners and urbanists who do it for a living.


Oh, you think speed limit changes require a cost benefit analysis prioritizing lives? Hah. That's adorable. Nah. It varies wildly, even among the US, not to mention outside of the US. Many people will cite safety, obviously. They do not necessarily have any training whatsoever in risk analysis, so yes, I may well be more qualified than them. I've at least taken statistics courses and such.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Heisenberg » Wed May 28, 2014 8:31 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:You guys are scary. I really don't understand the position that speed limits are unfair or oppressive and enforcing them is a scam.

Speed limits save lives.

Earlier today, paraphrased wrote:I realized that we can’t just keep going on like this.

So America, I say it is time for a change. It’s time to restrict those dangerous freedoms that are placing innocent lives in jeopardy. The first and most important action should be for Congress to limit the speed of every car to 20 mph. You don’t need to go faster than that, right? After that, force anyone who buys a car to pass a background check before they’re allowed to drive off the lot.

I know it’s a small step, and some people will be inconvenienced. But if it only saves one life, it must be worth it.
So... which is it?

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Nem » Wed May 28, 2014 11:23 pm UTC

Ormurinn wrote:Speed limits save lives. You're twice as likely to survive as a pedestrian if hit at 30mph rather than 40, and four times as likely to survive if hit at 20mph rather than 30.

Speed limits also reduce congestion and make vehicular accidents less likely.


That says nothing about how people would drive if there wasn't a speed limit. Frequently I see the speed limit being treated as a target, and used to patch over a complete deficit of basic driving skills such as an awareness of reasonable stopping distances and sight lines.

Nor does it say anything about how pedestrians would react to the fact that walking in front of cars would be a less risky thing to do.

Ormurinn wrote:If you speed, you're gambling with your own and others lives. That's not something society should tolerate. You're not better at doing the cost benefit/ mortality analysis of a stretch of road than the town planners and urbanists who do it for a living.


I gamble with my own and others lives every time I drive within the speed limit too. I remember being scared enough to have white knuckles on the wheel when I was 16 and first learning to drive. Because, hey, we're in a half ton of metal doing 30mph and do you realise the energy that represents and how little time there is to react?

Driving is inherently dangerous. Some people will always be killed in return for our convenience. The question is how good the gamble is. But at some point someone's decided this amount of convenience is worth killing the average member of society over.

Now am I better at making that call for a road than a town planner? Probably not if we were both sitting down and starting from similar values and data. But then again I may value convenience vs the risk of killing differently than they do - they're influenced by politics, and look at the messes, like the war on drugs, that system has output. I don't trust a system like that to behave sanely with regards to risk/reward decisions.

Which is quite aside from the fact that we're not starting with the same data. The road is a small part of the equation when it comes to how fast you should be driving. What're the traffic conditions? What time of day is it? What can you see? What might you have to react to five to ten seconds down the line? Those variables are constantly changing, making a speed limit a reasonable rule of thumb at best. Sometimes it's safer - or works out as neutral - to go faster than the speed limit, sometimes it's safer to go slower.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby morriswalters » Thu May 29, 2014 12:17 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The odds of survival are fairly irrelevant when you get into 55 mph+ territory. Simply put, a car hits you at freeway speeds, and you're probably dead.
Hitting something at 55 mph that weighs 150 lbs isn't going to much for the car either.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu May 29, 2014 1:16 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The odds of survival are fairly irrelevant when you get into 55 mph+ territory. Simply put, a car hits you at freeway speeds, and you're probably dead.
Hitting something at 55 mph that weighs 150 lbs isn't going to much for the car either.


Oh, for sure, but the motorist has pretty good odds regardless. Not perfect, because people do die due to hitting deer, but that's strictly driver safety, which is normally included in the statistics listed above. Pedestrian safety *should* be as well, but it doesn't matter all that much above a given speed. The difference to a pedestrian between being struck by a car going 55mph or 70mph is...mostly academic. Plus, you shouldn't normally have pedestrians on a freeway. So, the increased risk would overwelmingly be on the driver.

Even if you took it to the extreme of dispensing with signs altogether(which is more than most suggest), people wouldn't drive the same speed everywhere. A windy road is naturally going to induce a different driving speed than a freeway. Drivers don't particularly want to crash, which I suspect is what morris was getting at. Even if it's not physically risky, who wants to tear up their car? If the possibility of death and significant financial expense doesn't discourage someone from something, a minor fine probably isn't going to either.

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby BattleMoose » Thu May 29, 2014 3:55 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Oh, for sure, but the motorist has pretty good odds regardless. Not perfect, because people do die due to hitting deer, but that's strictly driver safety, which is normally included in the statistics listed above.


There is actually a large difference between hitting a person with your car or a person of the same mass. Its about how the mass is distributed. Deer are top heavy and are likely to go through the windscreen and injure/kill the driver. This is less likely to occur when hitting a person with a lower centre of gravity.

The extreme case is Moose, which often go through the windscreen, its their very high centre of gravity.

/more lurking

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Re: Can (and should) judicial punishment benefit society

Postby Ormurinn » Thu May 29, 2014 10:23 am UTC

A lot of people have chimed in with high speed roads as a justification for speeding.

I think speeding on those roads is still problematic, but if anyone had clarified that they only speed in areas with no pedestrians I'd probably have been less freaked out.
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