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The Opposition
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Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Aug 24th, 2014 at 4:04pm
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I've seen and known my share of drunk drivers. Some of them make a point I can't call entirely worthless: "I'm a better driver drunk than a lot of people are sober."

Those sober bad drivers get to be on the road, so why not the drunk bad ones? The only case to say no would be the case of unnecessary risk. (And this bit is just my opinion; I would like to know what the libertarian one is.) Since society has determined that the risk of being on the road is necessary, so that people can get to their jobs for one, the risk can be taken, but only in the least risky manner possible. If the sober bad driver doing his very best causes an accident, then that is unfortunate (and of course he ought to pay damages) but it was necessary that he have the right to drive a car. It was not necessary, on the other hand, for the drunk bad driver to consume alcohol before he decided to drive his car. Same level of ability, same risk... one is simply unnecessary.

What I'm considering for the libertarian case is if gambling with another man's money - even if you don't happen to lose - is a good analogy. Because, when getting on the road drunk, a person takes a deliberate and unnecessary risk with the lives and property of others. You could also claim that in getting on the road, the people being risked by the drunk driving of others must know and accept that there might be drunk (or bad) drivers on the road, so they are responsible for that risk themselves.

I'm curious what libertarians think about it.
  

This moral relativism of yours is exactly what lets government take this freedom, then that freedom, until we have lost them all.
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Crystallas
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #1 - Aug 24th, 2014 at 4:09pm
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There is no all-encapsulating solution to eliminate risk in any situation. But to minimize risks, libertarianism can and would do wonders over an involuntary centralized system.

Strictly from an objective libertarian standpoint, the NAP also explains this nicely. How it could work to enforce recklessness, but where people get lost, is how it would work. Would =/= could.


As my own individual, my views are my own. Drunk driving is irresponsible. Solutions from a different but compatible discourse include allowing more market driven solutions to reduce risks.
  
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Jeff
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #2 - Aug 24th, 2014 at 5:16pm
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My 'solution', from my libertarian viewpoint, is that anyone who causes harm to another person because of negligence, should be held liable.
Negligence of all sorts has been a subject of our common law for centuries. (You didn't know that?) Drunk driving is negligent behavior. It's impossible to keep people from being negligent. The best that can be done is to make the punishment fit the damages. This requires juries of peers, unless you just ran over somebodies mail box, in which case, you pay for it, and fix the damage to the lawn too, if there is any.
  
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Dissident Right
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #3 - Aug 25th, 2014 at 8:41am
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If roads are private property (which is to say, of course roads should be private property), the owners have the right to regulate drivers in any way they see fit.

If drunk driving is really as bad as we are told, then the State spends far too few resources policing it. The free market will spend just the right amount of resources.

Personally I think most road-related deaths are purely artifacts of public property. Private roads would probably have tremendously reduced volume, much more stringent qualifications for drivers, and vastly increased penalties for bad behavior.
  
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Jeff
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #4 - Aug 25th, 2014 at 11:14am
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If roads are private property (which is to say, of course roads should be private property), the owners have the right to regulate drivers in any way they see fit.

If drunk driving is really as bad as we are told, then the State spends far too few resources policing it. The free market will spend just the right amount of resources.

Personally I think most road-related deaths are purely artifacts of public property. Private roads would probably have tremendously reduced volume, much more stringent qualifications for drivers, and vastly increased penalties for bad behavior.

Private owners aren't going to be any better able to stop negligent behavior on their roads than are the police on public roads, and the only police powers the private road owners will have is the ability to ban people from using their roads... or are you fantasizing about some an-cap world, where law enforcement is all private too? If I was operating a private road in an an-cap world, I'd make the penalty for driving drunk on my road death.
Negligent behavior is currently controlled as well as it can be by the common law of torts.
  
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Dissident Right
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #5 - Aug 25th, 2014 at 3:04pm
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Jeff wrote on Aug 25th, 2014 at 11:14am:
Private owners aren't going to be any better able to stop negligent behavior on their roads than are the police on public roads

The reason this is obviously false, Jeff, is that 1) private owners personally administrate the roads (unlike the police, who are merely hired help), 2) are responsible for their roads (unlike the police, who again do not own the roads), and 3) can micromanage toll rates and licensure to achieve maximum customer preference (unlike the police, who have no control over either).

Jeff wrote on Aug 25th, 2014 at 11:14am:
and the only police powers the private road owners will have is the ability to ban people from using their roads

And use force to stop trespassers, obviously. How does this fail to solve the problem?

If drunk driving is really as bad as we are told, road owners will simply require everyone to pass an alcohol test before being granted passage.
  
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Alan Jones
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #6 - Aug 25th, 2014 at 4:53pm
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.....private owners ....to achieve maximum customer preference.....

...If drunk driving is really as bad as we are told, road owners will simply require everyone to pass an alcohol test before being granted passage.

LOL, those would be some pretty empty roads. About as empty as a Walmart parking lot (private property) would be if Walmart required such an alcohol test for access.

No private business would stay in business by harassing their customers in such a blatant and demeaning way. States don't even go that far now, when they have an absolute monopoly and political power.
  
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Jeff
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #7 - Aug 25th, 2014 at 5:08pm
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The reason this is obviously false, Jeff, is that 1) private owners personally administrate the roads (unlike the police, who are merely hired help), 2) are responsible for their roads (unlike the police, who again do not own the roads), and 3) can micromanage toll rates and licensure to achieve maximum customer preference (unlike the police, who have no control over either).

And use force to stop trespassers, obviously. How does this fail to solve the problem?

If drunk driving is really as bad as we are told, road owners will simply require everyone to pass an alcohol test before being granted passage.

We're talking about drunk driving. Will private roads have toll booths administering sobriety tests? Private road owners will hire people to operate and maintain and, I guess, police their roads. The owner will set policy and oversee organization (or hire someone to do that), but whoever it is that is looking for or testing for drunk drivers will just be an employee. Maybe good, maybe not. Would travelers put up with the delays involved in a field sobriety test for everyone? Private police patrolling the roads won't be any more motivated than our current police, they'll still just be employees doing a job, not owners.

A drunk driver with an Easy Pass isn't a trespasser, he's paid to use your road. How are you going to catch him? I mention Easy Pass, because it's very popular, all you have to do is slow down and drive through. People like that.


  
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Dissident Right
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #8 - Aug 25th, 2014 at 7:39pm
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"If drunk driving is really as bad as we are told."

Of course road-owners are going to choose whatever drunk driving policy maximizes their profits. What that particular policy will be, I don't know. What I do know is that State licensure policy for drivers is hilariously lax and the tolls are too low, so there will probably be far fewer vehicles on private roads and therefore more HOVs with professional drivers. I think the problem of drunk driving is mostly just a tragedy of the commons, like littering, overfishing, pollution, etc.
  
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Jeff
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Re: Drunk Driving in a Libertarian World - Yea or Nay?
Reply #9 - Aug 25th, 2014 at 8:53pm
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"If drunk driving is really as bad as we are told."

Of course road-owners are going to choose whatever drunk driving policy maximizes their profits. What that particular policy will be, I don't know. What I do know is that State licensure policy for drivers is hilariously lax and the tolls are too low, so there will probably be far fewer vehicles on private roads and therefore more HOVs with professional drivers. I think the problem of drunk driving is mostly just a tragedy of the commons, like littering, overfishing, pollution, etc.

Drunk driving is just negligent behavior. There isn't any particular difference between negligent behavior on private property or on public roads. People at times act in a fashion that endangers the lives and property of others. No matter where they do it, they are liable for the damage they cause.
Preventing people from being negligent or careless of others is something that just can't be done. The best any society can do is hold people responsible, make them pay for damages caused, punish them for manslaughter if that's what they've done.
  
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