Scott Tibbs

An overapplication of the "initiation of force" principle

By Scott Tibbs, October 2, 2019

I was listening to a libertarian podcast last week where one person was arguing that no one signed a consent form for the police to pull you over for a broken tail light, so police should not be allowed to do that. That is certainly an... interesting position to take.

But actually, you did sign a contract, and agreed to obey the law, when you got a drivers license. When basic safety features on your car do not work, you are in violation of that agreement. If you do not want to abide by that agreement, then do not drive on public streets. For Christians, the obligation to obey the law (unless we are ordered to sin) is made clear in Romans 13, because all authority is established by God.

This is the problem with some libertarians, as they are too devoted to the "initiation of force" principle. That does not allow for regulating reckless behavior that puts others at unreasonable risk.

I do think things like seat belt laws are unreasonable, and the "show your papers" sobriety checkpoints should be banned. But basic safety regulations such as having headlights and tail lights and not driving 75 miles per hour in a 30 MPH zone are not unreasonable restrictions on our liberty.

I am probably more libertarian than 95% of the population, but I am not an anarchist.

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