We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

The whole system is clearly a tax-collection scheme masked as justice. In the end, what this court wanted was money, and the people it squeezed were the least able to pay. What I saw rivaled the worst forms of petty tyrannies I’ve read about in history books: how tyrannical kings would use every trick to pillage the population of their meager resources. I very much doubt that there is anything unusual about what I saw. It probably goes on every day in your town, too.

Jeffrey Tucker

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VKEmail this to someone

20 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Resident Alien

    Very accurate dissection of what is really going on. The facts of my case were that I was driving at 89 in a 55 limit, the officer who stopped me said that he could arrest me and take me to jail for being 30 above the limit but said that “people like you don’t need to be going to jail” and bizarrely checked a box on the ticket saying I was 16-20 over the limit but in another box wrote 89 mph. He said I could plead guilty by letter but the summons I got said otherwise. I did entertain ideas of getting the case thrown out because of the obvious discrepancy on the ticket about what speed I was actually going, I can see now that this was a coded signal to the judge.

    Alien is near the start of the alphabet so I wasn’t in court for long but Fully half of the defendants called did not show up and had their licenses immediately suspended – this undoubtedly had something to do with ambiguous statements about the need for personal appearance and short notice of court dates. My accuser was not present so if I had wanted to fight my case I would have needed to miss more time from work. I told the judge that I was here because I had been summoned, he suggested I plead “no contest” I did and was fined $240 which was less than the ticket indicated with no traffic school, no points were placed on my license and the offense appears not even to have been added to records – certainly my insurer does not to know about it. Unlike many I paid the ticket immediately (for their convenience this required a visit to a different office.)

    If the intention had been to deter me from driving so fast, points on my license and making sure my insurance company knew would have been the outcome. As it is my experience did modify my behavior; I decided that the level of fine from speeding was low enough that I could break the speed limit more often.

  • Thailover

    I was pulled over in Vegas about 20yrs ago when I lived there. I was on my way to work and like every work day, the express way was zooming along far exceeding the posted speed limit since everyone was on their way to work between 6 and 7am. The cop was right behind me as I entered the express way, so I had to go no more than the speed limit, which I did. Everyone else was zooming past at 70-80MPH. Within 30 seconds of entering the express way, he pulled ME over, saying that I was a traffic hazard. I fought it in court, saying to the judge that there are no just laws where I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. He found me guilty anyway and forced me to pay the fine.

  • JohnK

    Thailover:

    Remind me again why you had that Revolution?

  • Surellin

    I have heard that the thing to do when pulled over is treat the matter as if one were being charged with murder – admit nothing, get a lawyer, etc. -rather than try to be pleasant and helpful. I thought that was insane, but after reading this article I begin to believe it.

  • I never thought I’d ever say this, but it makes me somewhat glad that policemen have been replaced by speed cameras: the latter may be invasive and sneakily hidden, but at least you actually have to be speeding for them to land you with a fine.

  • In Ian Fleming’s “Diamonds are Forever” he described the Taconic Parkway that runs between New York City and South West Massachusetts, as “the most beautiful road in the world”. He was right, but it is also the worst road in the world (or that I’ve eve encountered) for speed traps and when I used to drive often between NYC and the Berkshires I learned to avoid it at all costs. Adding two hours to my trip by detouring through Connecticut was worth it.

    One of the few times I’ve ever agreed with the Obama Justice department was when they took the Town of Ferguson to task for its greedy traffic enforcement system.

  • PeterT

    I have heard that the thing to do when pulled over is treat the matter as if one were being charged with murder – admit nothing, get a lawyer, etc. -rather than try to be pleasant and helpful. I thought that was insane, but after reading this article I begin to believe it.

    Absolutely. Don’t be rude obviously, but don’t be helpful. A close friend had a run in with the police once, and whilst it all ended well ultimately, I was taken aback by the incompetence of the police (UK) and the inefficiency of the whole thing. Made me realise why minorities are so “ambivalent” about the police.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I have been saying for the last twenty or so years that all fines and forfeitures imposed by government need to be collected into a single fund and distributed among a state’s residents. The actual cost of enforcing the laws (one of the prime justifications for fines) can be taken back from the distributed money as taxes.

    In one move, we would not only get rid of policing for profit, but also the ability of police organizations to be self-funding and outside of the control of officials who answer to the voters.

    Obviously governments will never do this on their own, but the proposal might play well in places that allow Initiatives.

  • Fred Z

    ‘Made me realise why minorities are so “ambivalent” about the police’

    The people drawn to police work are too often a toxic mix of lazy government worker types wanting a a high status job with a stupendous pension plan, people with no other skills and egomaniacs who like the idea of ordering us about.

    In 30 years of practicing law I met some good ones, but not enough. And they lie in court every bit as much as the bad guys, if not more, but are better at it.

  • The people drawn to police work are too often a toxic mix of lazy government worker types wanting a a high status job with a stupendous pension plan, people with no other skills and egomaniacs who like the idea of ordering us about.

    A lot strike me as the sort who wanted to join the military but were too fat, unfit, and ill-disciplined to do so.

  • Jordan

    And they lie in court every bit as much as the bad guys, if not more, but are better at it.

    Indeed. One of the things that police are taught in the academy is how to testilie.

  • Mr Ed

    A lot strike me as the sort who wanted to join the military but were too fat, unfit, and ill-disciplined to do so.

    Funny you should say that, I was at Kings Cross St Pancras stations in London today and thought much the same. Due to Poppy Day, the station was swarming with servicemen and women in their smartest uniforms, medals et. al. and it was striking firstly how smart their were (apart from a performing Swing Band from the Army Air Corps) and how scruffy and fat the Transport Police officers milling around were in comparison.

    Now in England and Wales, if you get convicted of a motoring offence, you usually get a fine, and a ‘victim surcharge’ even for a victimless crime like speeding, but now there is an additional charge, the Criminal Courts Charge of between £150 and £1,000 to pay for the Queen’s courts for the privilege of being tried and found guilty, but it is reduced if you plead guilty.

  • the frollickingmole

    I left this over there…

    I do Justice of the Peace work on an unpaid basis in Australia. We dont seem to have quite got to the stage you are describing, but speed cameras and other forms of “automatic” fine harvesting are a huge moneyspinner for the State government.

    The only way you would disrupt your current system was if all the attendees for a day refused the plea and tied the court up so it fine collecting efficiency, as would replying ” I wont be arranging payment”.
    But you could never organize such a thing.

    I have seen people sent to jail for victimless traffic offences, something which I consider foul injustice. Offences against a regulation with no other party injured costing your liberty?
    Disgusting.

    Now my addition
    This will never change until pollies and their family (including children) are followed 24/7 by an officer whos job it is to charge EVERY minor infraction one of them may make. Id guarantee withing a week there would be such a bonfire of regulation and law they would see it from Pluto. Pollies and their fafilies dont generally suffer the effects of the thousands of petty laws they have inflicted over the decades, and unless they do nothing will change.

  • Laird

    I agree with PfP’s approach.

  • Myno

    PfP,
    At first I liked this suggestion, and it might work in the short term… or not. Ultimately, I’m not sure how increasing the size of the pool of people who receive payments of Other People’s Money is supposed to solve a problem. If everyone starts seeing that they get paid for other people’s transgressions, even if overall taxes increase to pay for those performing the transactions, then won’t there be a push from everyone to increase their slice of the pie? You’d be exchanging one problem (police enriching their departments) with another (voters enriching themselves at their own expense… i.e., the typical welfare state problem).

  • Paul Marks

    There are two different issues here.

    The B.S. about “minorities” (code for blanks) being persecuted by the police.

    Libertarians should leave this crap (and it is crap) to the Marxists who invented it – over in the “Black Lives Matter” movement and so on.

    People who think that “Pigs in a blanket – fry them like them” is a good thing for the “lazy” police – should try being a policeman for one day.

    And remember do not telephone for police assistance if you or your family are attacked – after all the police are “persecutors” and the attackers are just seeking Social Justice by looting your home.

    However….

    There is another issue here – the use of fines as revenue source.

    This is indeed vile – as are the asset theft laws.

    There should be no asset theft laws – for once I am on the side of the “liberal” judges on the Supreme Court on that one.

    As for traffic fines.

    Sell-the-streets.

    Let private companies decide who they want driving on their roads – and how.

    “But Paul private owners might be racists – they might not allow blacks to enter towns they owned”.

    So what?

    Private owners can ban fat, bald people with Jewish family names – if they want to do that.

    If black people really are “persecuted” in towns such as Ferguson why do they keep going there?

    After all there were few blacks in Ferguson only a few years ago – then they started to arrive (why would they go to somewhere where they were being persecuted?).

    To see who is really being persecuted in an area check who is arriving and who is LEAVING.

    J. Tucker is actually quite correct.

    An ethnic group is being reduced to a “minority” in many American towns and cities – they are being persecuted and driven out.

    He is just incorrect in which ethnic group is being persecuted.

    Before the chant of “racist, racist, racist” starts – I say again…..

    Check which ethnic group is leaving an area.

    Then you will find what ethnic group is being persecuted.

    And not by the “government police” (as if private police could use more gentle methods in the grim struggle to survive on the streets).

    They are being persecuted by other people – of a different ethnic group.

    The facts are very plain.

    Look who left cities such as St Louis from the 1950s onwards – to go to towns such as Ferguson.

    And look who is leaving towns such as Ferguson now.

    It is the people who leave an area who are the ones who are likely to be being persecuted.

    And good BLACK people are also persecuted.

    After all “Black Lives Matter” do not care about black POLICEMEN who are killed. That is just more “Pigs in a blanket – fry them like bacon”.

    Or black business owners who are killed.

    After all they hate black “capitalists” – these were the chief target of the Black Panthers and other “Civil Rights” types in the 1960s in northern cities.

    When people talk of “minorities” they do not mean black business owners or black policeman.

    They mean black (or Hispanic) criminals – the “socially disadvantaged” (or whatever).

    Not black or Hispanic policemen or business owners.

    Libertarians should not play the games of the Marxists.

    The “minorities” (i.e. savage criminals – of any colour) are not being persecuted – they are the ones doing the persecuting.

    They feel badly about the police not because of traffic stops.

    They feel badly about the police because the police get in the way when they (the savage criminals – of any colour) want to rob, rape and murder people.

    But – I say again.

    Sell the streets – no more fines as government revenue stream.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Myno
    October 30, 2015 at 2:24 am

    If everyone starts seeing that they get paid for other people’s transgressions, even if overall taxes increase to pay for those performing the transactions, then won’t there be a push from everyone to increase their slice of the pie?

    A good point, but I’d hope the actual cash taken in would go down if government couldn’t profit directly from it, and that whatever the current ‘take’ is, it wouldn’t be enough, once split up, to invite much of a constituency. Also, anyone can see themselves as a victim of ‘policing for profit’, especially the poor, so even the ‘welfare’ class would have an interest in preserving a system that discouraged the practice.

    The main thing is to keep fines from profiting government at any level (which is why I don’t suggest simple confiscation of the funds by the state), and I’m open to suggestions about how to keep them out of state hands.

  • Mr Ed

    PfP. Fines are taken off people, as cash, and the money destroyed, thereby reducing the monetary base. Perhaps in a fiat world, extend this to credit money, so that the money supply falls, and the purchasing power of the remaining money rises.

    In a gold system, gold nuclei are blasted with protons, neutrons or even anti-protons to transmute the elemental gold into something else (expensive option).

  • Deep Lurker

    PfP: Yes. Distributing the monies from fines to all the state’s residents creates a diffuse interest in bringing in more money from fines. Which makes it a less dangerous and more tractable problem than the concentrated interest created by distributing the monies to various smaller groups such as police departments or local governments, the way it is currently done.

  • Thailover

    Surellin said,

    “I have heard that the thing to do when pulled over is treat the matter as if one were being charged with murder – admit nothing, get a lawyer, etc. -rather than try to be pleasant and helpful. I thought that was insane, but after reading this article I begin to believe it.”

    Yup, here’s an enlightening video.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc