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

Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that a bus company acted unlawfully by failing to do more to enable a wheelchair user to board the bus. The claimant’s complaint was that a young woman and buggy had been occupying the designated area for wheelchairs. Many have focused on the court’s conclusion and celebrated the ruling as a blow for disability rights. But the true significance of the case is that who sits where on the bus could become an issue of law. The rule of law now extends to regulating issues of politeness.

Jon Holbrook

10 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Flubber

    It also means that being a member of a protected group allows you to call down the wrath of the law Gods in any dispute you may have. A complete over reaction.

  • Paul Marks

    During the final period of decline of the Ancient Greek City States they used laws to control every aspect of behaviour and life – some Greek thinkers pointed out that the law did not use to be like this, that once the law was about preventing people from attacking each other and punishing them if they did. But the decline into statism was not reversed – and the Greek city states collapsed, ending up under the rule of Rome.

    The Romans had a relatively limited view of law at this time – some (such as Cato the Elder) thought that law should be used to control many aspects of life, but most held that the law was partly inherited from the wisdom of generations and partly a matter of settling dispute in individual cases – over a property and so on

    Roman law was found in the courts – but courts controlled by conservative Praetors not modern “liberal” British “judges”. The Praetors (and so on) settled real property disputes – not who sat where on a carriage.

    And the Republican Senate of Rome was not a “legislature” in the modern sense – it could not just pull “law” out of its backside to control every aspect of life.

    As for a bureaucracy – the Roman Republic and the early to mid Empire (before Diocletian) had very few officials.

    It managed to rule the known world without the “help” of a great bureaucracy or a modern “legislature”.

    But in the end Rome trod the same dark path into statism that the Greek city state had (the path that led to their collapse and rule by Rome).

    The same dark path we are treading now.

  • Why is it, that a “wheelchair user” who has yet to board the bus, is more deserving of carriage than a mother who has already boarded and paid for the service?

  • It’s just more of the same problem of a political class dominated by lawyers: they think every problem humankind may face can be solved with legislation.

  • Samedi

    @wh00ps maybe because the mother could fold her pushchair up and carry the child on her knee, whereas the wheelchair user had no choice in the matter? Seems pretty straightforward really. It’s a bit of a hassle for sure, but I’ve been in that situation in the past (as a parent with child in buggy) & it’s the obvious thing to do.

    Also, what’s with the scare quotes?

  • John B

    It is not the rule of law extended.

    The rule of law protects the individual against the State; It means equity before the law and prevents conditional and arbitrary justice: it means no one person or group or majority can use the powers of the State to claim or have rights over another individual or group or majority. This is called ‘justice’.

    ‘Social’ Justice, for that is what this is, is the opposite – it is not an extension of the rule of law, it is law without the rule aka Fascism.

  • Ljh

    My pet peeve are monstrous double buggies occupied by infant and ambulant sibling, both riding for free. The mother often extracts both offspring to join her but leaves unfolded buggy occupying the only wheelchair space on the bus. They also seem to travel in fleets which makes passing them tricky for the ablebodied. Obviously mothers think their family the most important travellers on the bus..

  • Roué le Jour

    Just to play the Devil’s advocate, have you seen the birth rate figures lately? Mothers with children are the most important travelers on the bus.

  • Thailover

    What’s decidely missing from the entire story is whether or not there were any cripples who needed that spot. Oh no, I didn’t use the correct sanctioned feelz word. I’ll be shot at sunrise.

    BTW, anyone who says “scare quotes” will also be shot…in the face.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Thai — re “scare” quotes:

    My dream man! Let us sail away for at least a day. (I don’t insist on the ring — your comment is plenty ’nuff proof of fine character!