~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I O 93 93/93 I O ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Limited government anyone?

From today's WSJ editorial page:

In 2005, according to new data from the National Highway Safety Administration, the rate of injuries per mile traveled was lower than at any time since the Interstate Highway System was built 50 years ago. The fatality rate was the second lowest ever, just a tick higher than in 2004.

As a public policy matter, this steady decline is a vindication of the repeal of the 55 miles per hour federal speed limit law in 1995. [...]

We are often told, by nanny-state advocates, that such public goods as safety require a loss of liberty. In the case of speed limits and traffic deaths, that just isn't so.

And I'll go one further and say that, just as there's no proven, causal relationship between loss of liberty and road safety, protecting America from the next, large-scale terrorist attack does not hinge upon giving up our civil liberties. The challenge now facing America in the post-9/11 age is how to decrease the likelihood of attack without infringing upon personal liberty.

It's a weighty task, to say the least. But it'd be easier if Americans (and certain do-gooder government officials) weren't laboring under the delusion that a loss of liberty is required.

First off, I suggest a wholesale rejection of the nanny staters' notion that there's a causal relationship between safety and liberty. To that end, I'd support a more narrowly drafted PATRIOT Act, one that keeps the central goal of increased communication between intelligence agencies, but jetisons increased search powers for police. It's the difference between putting more speed traps out on the roads and developing better auto frame technology. Both endeavors are designed to increase safety, but the latter does it without increasing the power of the nanny state.

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