I sent the following privately to Rick Marken, thinking it not an issue for
CSG-L, but he urged me to send it to the list. So here it is.
If drug laws, prostitution laws,
etc really made things better -- and had none of the horredous
side effects that their enforcement produces -- I'd support
them as strongly as I support the freway speed limit law
(even though I got a ticket one year ago).
I think that the freeway speed laws could be added to your list of laws that
set references that people like, but that have catastrophic consequences (well,
very mildly catastrophic, compared to the drug laws). Over the last decade,
I probably have driven more in Europe, largely Germany, than in N. America.
In Germany, the lack of speed limit on most stretches of the autobahn leads
people to drive carefully and with due regard to what happens around them.
On some stretches, there is a speed limit, which might be anywhere from
100 kph to 130 kph. On these stretches, traffic clogs (which might be a cause
rather than an effect of the speed limit), people often drive in lanes other
than the right lane even when they are not passing, people (occasionally)
pass on the right when a righteous speed-limited driver hogs the left lane,
and generally you get a highway mess like those to which we are accustomed.
In France or Italy, the highways are officially speed-limited, but in practice
they are not (speed traps occur, but are rare on freeways). Driver behaviour
is good, as a rule, though maniacs exist (as here).
In all my driving, I never feel as scared as in the first days after I return
from driving comfortably at 160 kph in moderately dense traffic to our local
highways where most people keep below 130 (speed limit 100), but have no
lane discipline or consideration for each other.
So--I agree whole-heartedly about the victimless crime laws, but I think there
are many laws relating to acts that might have victims, that also have results
opposite to the effects their proponents intend. Speed limits on freeways
is one such, I think. Capital punishment is another.
Private mail--this isn't a CSG issue.
The Jury's still out, I suppose.