Monday, May 16, 2005

Health fascism

Today the “Gumball 3000 rally” made a stop in Vienna. It is a combination of a car show and a jet-set event, organised by the British entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper.

Ferrari’s, Porsches and Bentleys are being driven in a race by stars as Quentin Tarantino and Johnny Knoxville. From London over Austria, Croatia and Sicilly, it goes all the way to Monaco, where the F1 grand-prix will be held on Sunday. It is not really a “race”, because the drivers are asked to drive “safely and with proper courtesy to all other participants and members of the public.”

The high entry fee, however, “does NOT include fines of any sort, or damage caused at any venue visited”, as is stated by the terms and conditions of entry. This is not an unnecessary clause. Participants are regularly found in breach of the speed limits, and have to make sure they can pay the fine immediately. Last year, when the event was allowed by the Moroccan King to drive without speed limits in certain areas at least, some cars made serious crashes, what makes the event even more exclusive. Who can afford to crash a Ferrari?

Some politicians, as the Belgian social democrat Dylan Casaer, are seriously criticising the event. Claiming ‘road safety’, if it is not because of class envy, he advocates hard police measures in response. Casaer also states this gives a bad example to young people, and may it make more likely that they’ll engage in dangerous illegal street races.

Without saying the traffic rules shouldn’t be applied, I think this reaction is a typical example of “health fascism”. Everything which contains a bit of danger, whether it is in the context of driving a car, smoking, drinking or plastic surgery, whatever dangers exist in life, it should be banned, restricted or guided by government.

It should be clear that this is a bad thing. It takes away the responsibility people themselves need to have to respect others and to reckon what their own risk is. People are getting afraid of everything they haven’t been warned for, which is not regulated, for which they are responsible themselves. This can be seen also in the case of the excessive prevention of medical diseases. Recently, it has been reported that preventive medical advice in fact increases the chance of having a disease. This can be seen as a consequence of the described policy. People start mistrusting themselves. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen.


Pieter Cleppe said...

eerste reactie = spam

Anonymous said...

Neem eens een boek vast over het liberalisme. U zal er lezen dat liberalisme niet betekent 'breek de regels als ge daar zin in hebt', maar wel: 'maak niet te veel regels, maar zorg wel dat ze nageleefd worden'. Ze hebben daar zelfs een naam voor gevonden: de rechtsstaat.

Pieter Cleppe said...

I'm not defending any breach of rules to protect people's rights.

I'm just complaining about social constructivists turning to government power to solve every danger there exists in life.

Anonymous said...

De film "A Clockwork Orange" werd in verschillende landen (tijdelijk) verboden. Niet zonder reden want de film is een ode aan nodeloos geweld. We kunnen natuurlijk verwachten dat normale mensen wel een onderscheid kunnen maken tussen fictie en realiteit, maar wat zullen we zeggen tegen de meisjes die in verschillende landen verkracht werden door groepen mannen onder het zingen van "I'm singing in the rain"?

Op een vrij gelijkaardige manier is deze race een verheerlijking van roekeloos rijgedrag. In dit geval gaat het echter niet om fictie, maar om realiteit. Daarnaast kunnen van een film ook miljoenen mensen genieten, terwijl deze race alleen voor rijke stinkerds bedoeld is. Ook hier zullen mensen het slachtoffer worden van deze race zelf, of toch zeker van imitaties ervan.

Ik kan niet begrijpen hoe je een dergelijke race, het nemen van zinloze risico's en het maken van onschuldige slachtoffers kunt verdedigen. Waarom schaffen we niet direct alle verkeersregels af?

Pieter Cleppe said...

In English, please. I have to refer to my older answer, that I didn't defend any breach of rules to protect people's rights.

I don't think a preventive ban on events that might encourage people to drive unresponsably could in any way be justified by the rule of law or civil rights.