The effectiveness of State legislation to solve problems caused by the State is debatable, but it is nice to see a government official headed in the right direction every now and then. Such is the case with David Butterfield, a lawmaker proposing to end random DUI checkpoints in Utah.
Despite the Fourth Amendment strictly prohibiting warrantless searches and seizures, the Supreme Court has ruled that DUI checkpoints are permissible as long as certain requirements are met. Ever chiseling away at civil liberties with the sharp tools of misguided utilitarianism, the court justified such checkpoints on the grounds of their effectiveness.
But what Butterfield has found, and what anyone will find with a simple Google search, is that DUI checkpoints aren’t effective – at least, not at deterring drunk driving. What they are effective at is raising revenue for police departments and the State. It is not surprising, therefore, that Butterfield’s proposal was met with sharp criticism from the law enforcement bloc. State police forces rely on tickets and fines as revenue, and DUI checkpoints have proven to be veritable gold mines for raking in dough for minor offenses that police can’t pull you over for, as well as asset forfeiture.
While Butterfield’s proposal is a step in the right direction, it’s difficult indeed to see the State ever making it to the destination that direction leads to: legalizing drunk driving. As libertarian activist Lew Rockwell explained:
“This is a gross attack on liberty that implies that the government has and should have total control over us, extending even to the testing of intimate biological facts. But somehow we put up with it because we have conceded the first assumption that government ought to punish us for the content of our blood and not just our actions…
“Bank robbers may tend to wear masks, but the crime they commit has nothing to do with the mask. In the same way, drunk drivers cause accidents but so do sober drivers, and many drunk drivers cause no accidents at all. The law should focus on violations of person and property, not scientific oddities like blood content.”
I hope Butterfield fights the good fight and gets his proposal codified, despite the overwhelming intimidation tactics the law enforcement cartel is bound to unload on him. Radical ideas are often met with radical opposition. But then, isn’t that how we know we’re onto something?
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Utah Liberty Alliance seeks to bring about a free society through journalism and activism, starting right here at home.
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