The Closet Moderate: "If it saves even one life then it's a good law."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

"If it saves even one life then it's a good law."

This post's title is a quote from Bostonist, that sets a high bar for idiotic oversimplification or terrible use of sarcasm. I mean, really... any law? Despite what mommy told us, human life is not priceless.

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If it were, we certainly would not be allowed to banter about over-the-top assertions like this using a toxic material filled computer sucking up electricity produced from mined coal and dumping asthma inducing particles into the air while sipping our cappuccinos and ignoring the homeless guy asking for change outside. We're making trade-offs at every moment between our comfort and other's health and lives.

But we all know that, right? Surely the intent here is that the life of a pedestrian, cyclist, or driver is worth the potential inconvenience of not texting. We could be even kinder, and at Closet Moderate we're nothing if not kind, and impute that Bostonist means the value of every life cut short by a texting related accident is worth the cost in lost texting-related efficiency. But can we please say something like that? I'm happy to accept some limits to personal liberty in exchange for some amount of security and safety for all. I'm even happier to have a reasoned debate about what gains would balance what limitations. That debate should never include platitudes like this line. Especially when followed by the one bit of data provided, which directly contradicts everything else. It's maddening enough to make me think Bostonist has to be joking. But that just opens up a whole discussion about what a terrible humorist the writer is.

Now here's an example of this discussion done right.

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