- Some belated comments on the Susanna Jennings article.
When I first read the article I wondered whether she might be satirising its
viewpoint. I am sure that many of us could have written an ironic article on
such lines. But my eventual conclusion was that she meant what she said.
As has been pointed out, the quotation she was referring to covers life as well
as liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Allowing cars to speed through
residential areas is surely an infringement of this freedom.
She seems to be assuming both that speed limits are low enough for safety and
that drivers have the right to drive up to them at all times, and that drivers
can be trusted to drive no faster than is safe in the circumstances. The first
two are sometimes true but sometimes false, the last always false because for
every driver who can be trusted there must be many who can't.
As there is no question of jailing or criminalizing drivers (at least until the
same level of opprobrium applies to motoring offenders as to other criminals)
the "beyond reasonable doubt" safeguards cannot be held to be necessary. I
believe that it is fair, when necessary, to deprive people of driving privileges
on at least a "balance of probability" basis, if not a "precautionary principle"
basis. However, from the point of view of safety, this may not be necessary: in
many cases all that's necessary is to install governors on cars that prevent
motorists from exceeding the prevailing speed limit.
Where is Freedom, California ? I assume that the author deliberately chose to
use it as a dateline. I know of a Liberty on Route 17 in New York State.
I understand that Hitler deliberately chose the title National Socialist for hisparty so as to encourage socialists to support him.
I also understand that it was Hitler who copied the US in building motorways,
not vice versa. See Bill Bryson's "Made in America".