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Hit the baby one less time

My mother used to say that everyone in life has their purpose, even if it's to serve as a bad example. It seems that Britney Spears has reached that point, at least as far as certain lawmakers in Massachusetts are concerned.

They are proposing a Britney Spears law in the Commonwealth. And no, it will not require ladies to wear undergarments. Rather, it was inspired by an earlier act of Ms. Spears, when she was videotaped driving around with her baby in her lap. Under the law, all children under the age of 8 or shorter than 4'9" must be restrained in car seats.

I'm no expert, but I think the height requirement might be a bit high. Other than that, though, I think it's a grand idea. Here in New Hampshire, while we have no mandatory seat belt laws for adults, children must be restrained and protected -- and I agree wholeheartedly with that. Once you're above the age of 18, you're free to be as much of an idiot as you like. Before that, though, we're going to protect you from yourself, so buckle up -- or else.

Here's hoping that they don't keep following Ms. Spears' misadventures, though, and try to pass a "Britney Spears No Going Commando" law next.

Comments (25)

Jay, this is my favorite po... (Below threshold)

Jay, this is my favorite post title of yours yet. Kudos.

Great title. I have to agr... (Below threshold)

Great title. I have to agree with Rob!

One question for you freedom of action folks: Do I have to pay for your medical expenses, disability or death benefits, family support through SS and welfare, etc., when you have your motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet, or MVA while unrestrained, drinking and tweaking?

Just wondering. Personally, I think if you want to be free to behave irresponsibly, then I should be free not to pay for your consequences.

I think the height requirem... (Below threshold)

I think the height requirement is because, without a booster, shoulder straps cross the neck of shorter kids and not their chests.

and it's not that "we're going to protect you from yourself", it's that we're going to protect you from your stupid parents who think it's a swell idea to hold you in your lap or let you roam around in the car without being buckled in. Even conservatives ought to be able to support some limits on just how much freedom a parent ought to have to be able to screw up their kids.

... we're going to prote... (Below threshold)

... we're going to protect you from yourself ...

Ahh, yes ... The chant of the utilitarian elite. We are only creating these laws for the greater good.

Once you're above the age of 18, you're free to be as much of an idiot as you like.

Not under your construct. If the 18 year old has a child, they must buckle the child.

At our house, we are bright enough to buckle up on our own. We don't need the nanny staters like yourself telling us how to live our lives. Why can't you mind your own business?

Even conservatives ought to be able to support some limits on just how much freedom a parent ought to have to be able to screw up their kids.

Posted by: stevesturm at January 15, 2007 02:52 PM

And where does the state intrusion into my family stop? Mind your own business.

ANother factor in the heigh... (Below threshold)

ANother factor in the height req: Airbags. They deploy too high for someone that short.

So Ric, you agreeing I shou... (Below threshold)

So Ric, you agreeing I shouldn't have to pay for SS disability and death benefits for people and there families that do stupid things?

Along with Ric, I think Jay... (Below threshold)

Along with Ric, I think Jay's gone over to the dark side here. It's takes a parent to raise a child, not a seatbelt mandate.

Speaking of, you ever count the seatbelts in a schools bus? I've only seen one set, on the driver's seat.

Oops, "them there families"... (Below threshold)

Oops, "them there families" or "their families" would have been more appropriate.

For you libertarians out th... (Below threshold)

For you libertarians out there, to have a functioning society that doesn't bankrupt itself monetarily and socially, you either have to have a literacy and adult responsibility requirement to breed, or you have to enforce standards of care and child protection. The laws aren't there for the "rics" who say they behave responsibly, its for the Britny Spears, rednecks and homey's who either don't know any better or don't care. And we all end up paying the price of their stupid actions.

I HATE the similar law we h... (Below threshold)

I HATE the similar law we have here in Indiana requiring car seats for 7 & under. I'm all for children 4 & under in seats---going above school age is a little much to me. School buses have no seat belts & certainly no special seating. Go figure! Also, when your child is school age & having company or riding together to sports, scout events, etc. you have to have car seats for all of the passengers. I suggest more responsible driving---stay close to the speed limit; no cell phone talking while driving; complete stops at intersections, etc.

I have no problem with seat belts required for all ages---just like headlights are required; windshield wipers, etc.

Oh, going "commando" with a skirt on--ewww! Who wants so sit in a chair, cabseat, etc. after that--talk about health risks from bodily fluids!!!!

For all those who think its... (Below threshold)
observer 5:

For all those who think its an oppressive nanny-state imposition to require adults to assume the limited duty of buckling children in so their necks won't be broken in a 30 mph collision, I hope you're equally against the prohibition of marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Holy Crap! My wife is only ... (Below threshold)
4th generation buck:

Holy Crap! My wife is only 4'10". I think she would be embarassed to have to drive to work in my kid's car seat, smelling like Cheerios and and Capri-Sun.

"...I hope you're equally a... (Below threshold)

"...I hope you're equally against the prohibition of marijuana, cocaine and heroin."

Of course we are, -or at least I am.

Shucky darn, next thing you know we'll have laws against tobacco and fatty foods!

So Ric, you agreeing I s... (Below threshold)

So Ric, you agreeing I shouldn't have to pay for SS disability and death benefits for people and there families that do stupid things?

Posted by: epador at January 15, 2007 03:44 PM

I hope you're equally against the prohibition of marijuana, cocaine and heroin.

Posted by: observer 5 at January 15, 2007 04:20 PM

In both instances, yes. Individuals are responsible for their own actions and the subsequent consequences, if any. If we held people accountable for their actions, the so-called problems would slow to a trickle. As a realist, I know it will never stop, because stupid is, stupid does.

For example, if an individual wants to drive their life into the gutter with heroin use within the confines of their own home, go for it. Now, the minute that individual conducts some activity whereby another individual may be, or is, harmed, the state has the authority to come down on that person like a ton of bricks.

Is there prison time? Yes. Detox program? Yes, via cold turkey and hard labor. Reparations? Yes. Perhaps, monetary, material, labor, etc. Remember, there is a penalty, and in violating another's rights, the state is going to come down on the individual.

Will occaisions arise where others may be hurt, even killed? Yes, but it is a risk in a free society where we maintain our liberty at the cost of a little security.

I belive that it was Benjamin Franklin that stated, "They that would sacrafice a little liberty for their security deserve neither."

I heard that 4'9" thing on ... (Below threshold)

I heard that 4'9" thing on the radio the other day and thought it was a bit high myself. I think I've had about four friends since I started high school who were taller than 5'4" (no, I'm not from some strange pygmy island, it's just a coincidence). Anyway, stuff like this makes sense for younger kids, but as to the laws about seatbelts for under-18s...I think our society today is far too prone to treating teenagers as if they were five-year-olds. Personally, by the time I was fourteen, I was responsible enough to know that putting on a seatbelt was a good idea.

Jay,Interesting po... (Below threshold)


Interesting post. I would of thought a nanny-state like Mass would of already had this on the books. Guess there is a little Nanny even in great states like NH.

The problem I have with this type of law is that it is grossly intrusive into a persons liberty and is normally selectively enforced. Britney Spears faced no repercussions other than ridicule for endangering her baby, when John (or Jane) Q. Citizen would of been arrested, ticketed, had the child siezed by CPS until the investigation into child endangerment was complete.

Next Topic. I personally find the perjorative use of terms such as redneck and homey to be offensive and would prefer the terms not be used. I understand that often they are used as euphisms for more offensive racist terms and I really dislike that. I believe the terms are being used to refer to poor white and hispanic americans. We can do better than that.

Good discussion. I'm not i... (Below threshold)

Good discussion. I'm not intending to disagree, but I'd like to point out what I see as a problem with the issue Ric is discussing...

Let's say we relax regulations, but increace penalties. No more seatbelt regulations, motorcycle helmet laws. More personal responsibility, less government intervention.

So to make whole, individuals that have been harmed, we have a system of reperations. As Ric suggests, monitary, etc.

So Ric and I are driving in my 1999 Ford Explorer on my origional tires and one blows out. I'm not wearing my seatbelt, and I get thrown around enough to lose control of the stearing. My truck rolls. The top comes off and the windshield shatters sending glass into Ric's eyes, permanently blinding him and making him disabled in his prime.

Now none of this was Ric's fault. But he's pretty much screwed at this point. Reperations may be due, so...

The tire manufacture had a known defect in their design. We know that.

The Explorer has a know problem with it's design in that it has a high center of gravity, combined with a very responsive steering system with leads to rollovers caused by oversteering.

My lack of a seatbelt caused me to be thrown out of my drivers position. Had I been wearing a restraint, I would have been in a better position to control the vehicle.

So, Ric should get reperations, however a libertarian would argue that tire manufactures have no obligation to pay damages from a faulty tire. The design team at Ford isn't under obligation to adhere to any federal safety standards. I don't have to wear a seatbelt, because it's my personal choice...

So, Ric is still pretty much screwed.


Attorneys get involved. Society attempts to figure out something that approximates justice.

The problem with unrestrained liberaterianism is that it doesn't work in practice. Frankly, it's called anarchy. Far from freedom, it's extremley oppressive. Nobody practices it, because few people want to live under that kind of system.

So we have laws.

What cracks me up is when I hear people that claim to be libertarians, (or leaning) that like no restrictions on anything, except for the things they don't like. (Read Jay Tea's Fois Gras post to get the reference)

We are all in favor of unrestricted personal rights in general, until our neighbor parks 5 disabled and disassembled trucks in his front yard. Or takes up pig farming.

Notice - No Ric's were harmed in the making of this post.

I agree - good discussion. ... (Below threshold)

I agree - good discussion. I don't think that these laws are put in place to encroach upon reasonable parents' responsiblities, rather designed for those who can't resist compromising with their own guilt - something like "We're not going far, just going to run down the street to the Kwiky Mart.."

Then again, I don't have kids so I'm probably not.. eh, whatever.

Next thing will be fines fo... (Below threshold)
Mike in Oregon:

Next thing will be fines for smoking in your own home with children present (I'm not a smoker, by the way), fines for feeding your kid something with a trans-fat in it, fines for for failing to provide your kid with sunscreen on a hot day. Don't laugh, it's coming.

Poor Matt. Did my attempt ... (Below threshold)

Poor Matt. Did my attempt at extreme talk and comparison wither your good sensibilities? I'm sure Mencia and Foxworthy might have a thing or two to say to you. Go find another place to spew political correctness than in my direction.

OK Ric, so what do we do with the fellow who is a C6 quad after rolling his pickup while unrestrained? Who pays for it? He's broke and owns nothing of value, has no insurance, and with two prior felonies, he's not likely to be a contributing member of society in the future. Or his kid who was standing in the front seat, currently in ICU? If the cop who he passed by had pulled him over before he hit that blind curve for having the kid unrestrained, we might not have this dilemma.

Folks. There is already<... (Below threshold)

Folks. There is already a child safety restraint law in Massachusetts (of course there is -- if we have to buckle ourselves up, we need to protect the kiddies too, right?). This stupid bill is just expanding it to bigger kids (and smaller adults).

Some dipshit legislator put this dipshit bill together and gave it a dipshit title named after that dipshit skank so s/he could get some desperately needed ink in the local rag.

That's what politics is all about here now that Devaaaallll is getting all the front page fawning.

<a href="http://www.mass.go... (Below threshold)

Already, that is.

(Note please that this stupid law has absolutely no teeth.)

They are proposing... (Below threshold)
They are proposing a Britney Spears law in the Commonwealth. And no, it will not require ladies to wear undergarments.

It won't? Dang.

John / epadorYa'll... (Below threshold)

John / epador

Ya'll sound like products of the public education system. Who said there are no laws or courts present? Not me.

What cracks me up is when I hear people that claim to be libertarians, (or leaning) that like no restrictions on anything, except for the things they don't like.

Then you, and/or the individual(s) that you have heard speak about such matters aren't aware what historical and traditional Libertarianism represents. If you study documents outside of recent revisionist history books used in the public education system, you will find that the founding fathers promoted and this country operated successfully in such a fashion for about 100+ years.

The Founders created a society based on the belief that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is intimately connected with personal freedom and responsibility. The two pillars of the system they created were a) limits on the power of the central government and b) protection of individual rights. The grand experiment of America stemmed from the notion that people can govern themselves. The British Crown, thinking otherwise, led to the The War for Independence. We did not declare war, the King came to reclaim his subjects.

The Libertarian, or "classical liberal," perspective is that individual well-being, prosperity, and social harmony are fostered by as much liberty as possible and as little government as necessary. Liberals favor government action to promote equality, whereas Conservatives favor government action to promote order. Libertarians favor freedom and oppose government action to promote either equality or government interference in self governance. In general, the type of actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of action against those who have not themselves used actions like assault, murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud to name a few.

Regarding the blown tire scenario, based on your description, that falls under fraud. Who said this issue can not be taken up as a civil matter in court? Not me. Again, you are not aware of what historical and traditional libertarianism is about.

Libertarians agree with conservatives about freedom in economic matters, so they are in favor of lowering taxes, minimizing government regulation, and participate in charity, not government welfare. But Libertarians also agree with liberals on personal freedom, so they are in favor of people's right to choose their own personal habits and lifestyles. Libertarians advocate a high degree of both personal and economic liberty in so far that anothers rights and freedoms are not violated. Moreover, Libertarians believe that the government operates at the consent of the governed.

From your responses, I would label both of you conservatives seeking control and order of everyones lives. Moreover, I suspect you favor utilitarian law, which is ironic, because it is a liberal construct in the vein of equality.

So where does all of the control end? Left to the Liberals and Conservatives, tyranny or anarchy will come to this country and it will come wrapped in the American flag.

Ric,I agree with y... (Below threshold)


I agree with you on most of this, but as I said;

What cracks me up is when I hear people that claim to be libertarians, (or leaning) that like no restrictions on anything, except for the things they don't like. (Read Jay Tea's Fois Gras post to get the reference)

...you have to read the Fois Gras thread to get this reference.

I was not refering to you, actualy to another self-described liberatarian poster who was against Fois Gras, as it was cruel.

The response to this poster by another poster was that she was a liberatarian so long as everbody got to do what she wanted (or something to that effect).

Personaly, I'm very liberal, with some liberatarian leanings, but fiscaly conservative.

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.






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