Monday, 7 November 2011

Regulatory Idolatry

The fatal pile-up on the M5 has unsurprisingly led to calls from the usual suspects to ice the government’s plans to increase the maximum speed limit. As the clichĂ© goes; speed kills.

However, this terrible accident does not have any bearing on the issue of changing the speed limit. Only those who have succumbed to what I would call regulatory idolatry would think it any way connected. The sin of idolatry involves making a statue of God and then worshipping the statue. In terms of the metaphor here employed, the god is road safety. As any decent driver knows, driving safely means driving at an appropriate speed notwithstanding the speed limit. Unfortunately, the rule-loving idolaters seem to have twisted this simple wisdom into something very different, that driving safely means driving within the speed limit.

The danger inherent in this creed is not so much that people are prevented from driving as fast as they wish, but rather that they will be deluded into obeying the speed limit without due regard to the conditions. I cannot pass much comment on the M5 crash, but it is, I would say, incontrovertible that some drivers were driving too fast, irrespective of any speed limit. Given the reported conditions of low visibility, the speed limit i.e., the maximum speed you are permitted to go by regulation, is irrelevant. Only a fool or an idolater could think otherwise.

UPDATE: It may be worth reading this at Longrider's

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