Monday, March 12, 2007

During the last cricket World Cup staying in Newlands right by the stadium was a mixed blessing. I went to two games so I didn’t need to bother about finding a parking space: Hooray! But I also ended up with about R15 000 worth of parking tickets because the traffic laws changed with the time of day.

This was not the only time I have been frustrated (i.e. thrown into a murderous rage) by enormous fines for dubious infractions. The really irritating thing is that I was (usually) in the wrong, I admit it, I’m a bad, bad man. I am so bad that I don’t even feel guilty for parking the wrong way on an empty residential road in the middle of the night.

I complain a lot, but I didn’t always get sympathy because I was guilty of the crime I was punished for.

Thankfully Jane Galt
and Glen Whitman explain why I’m partly right to feel hard done by. This is from Whitman:
The proliferation and laws and regulations that make virtually everyone guilty of something gives state authorities the discretion to punish whomever they want, whenever they want.
Jane adds:
It increases the number of detectable offenses until not all of them can be prosecuted, or even paid attention to. It[increasing police power] puts me in mind of that novel . . . and damned if I can remember WHAT novel . . . when the man from the government laughs in surprise "Do you imagine we want you to obey the law?" Laws become an instrumental means not for maintaining public order, but for targeting persons.

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