Monday, 6 November 2017

Zombie Law

According to the this news item an Ontario legislator has tabled a bill, dubbed the “zombie law”, that would make crossing the street while looking at your cell phone illegal, with scofflaws being fined $50 and up depending on the number of times they have been caught in flagrant disregard of yet another Nanny-state incursion into the realm of legislating stupid.

zombie phone

This province is certainly not alone in this regard but few jurisdictions seem to have the same degree of enthusiasm for protecting us from ourselves as Ontario does. Liquor laws are still firmly set in the immediate post-prohibition years where it was felt the population could not possibly control their thirst (pun intended) for the demon rum. Several years ago an attempt was made to limit motorcycle passengers to 14 years of age and older for “safety” reasons. (Blogged about here. Fortunately the bill did not become law but it was a close thing. ) Periodically legislation is floated (so far only as a trial balloon) that would see already legally-required helmeted bicyclists subject to training, testing, licensing, and insurance, again for “safety” reasons. And recently an intoxicated canoeist was charged with “impaired driving” which is a criminal offense and which could result in the loss of driving privileges if he was found guilty.

The one thing these laws, and countless others just like them, have in common is that they are all attempts to stop a few idiots from doing stupid things. Except that the broad legislative brush treats everyone the same as the idiots, whether they are guilty or not.

So here’s an idea. Scrap all these individual laws and replace them with a common sense law, something along the lines of “If you do something stupid you’re on your own, pal. And if society has to pay to rescue, resuscitate, rehabilitate, or, if all else fails, inter you, you’ll be getting a bill.”

In other words, let Darwin do his work unencumbered while making sure the taxpayer isn’t on the hook. Much cleaner, and we improve the gene pool as well.


  1. Would you be willing to add insured while riding without suitable gear to the common sense law?

  2. Having lived in a nanny state for the better part of my life I am not too surprised. Sometimes it is for the better, though, e.g. you'd think that mobil phone use whilst driving should be a no-go as a result of common sense, but it never sunk in, hence is heavily fined now, and since, accidents related to cell phone use have become much fewer.

    However, sometimes I get the impression that some laws have been creatively put in place, not to protect people from their own stupidity (that's just Darwin at work) but use a system of penalties to milk the tax payer some more...

    I am totally on the same page with you on letting certain people walk down the Darwinian trail though.

    1. Sonja - I think there's a place for laws when there is serious risk to others. But when the only 'victim' is the perpetrator, call Darwin.

  3. Common sense is more like a super-power now days. It never fails to surprise me how many people are trying to walk and text at the same time and aren't even aware of their surroundings. Sigh.

  4. Common sense is very difficult to find in government today, but I like your idea.


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