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From the esteemed Mike Munger, you simply won’t believe it:

The NC DOT did an engineering study of a local road widening project, and concluded that no new signals were required at two intersections. A citizen, David Cox, had the gall to disagree. He did some research, and put the research in the form of an organized argument.

the citizen made a petition to government for redress of a grievance, and the state wants to prosecute the citizen because the quality of the analysis is too high. (If the petition, redress, etc. thing sounds familiar that’s because it is a right guaranteed in the 1st Amendment).

But the idea that a citizen can be investigated for being smart and making an effective counter-argument…. wow, I did not expect the state to be willing to be that thuggish.

So maybe now I have the whole occupational licensing thing figured out. It’s not about cartelizing industry or raising profits and wages for incumbents, it’s to shut people up. Nice.

3 Responses to “I Did Not Expect the State to be Willing to be THAT Thuggish”

  1. Harry says:

    Good post, Wintercow, but I was confused until I went to the Mike Munger link. Evidently this person was threatened legally for practicing engineering without a licence. I’m not sure that was clear.

    Now, if one is talking about whether a bridge will bear x tons, and getting someone to certify it, it should be done by someone who has expertise in that field. Similarly, hip surgery should be done by an orthopaedist, not a chiropractor or a backhoe operator.

    But clearly here the DOT uses its power to stifle dissent, and it makes no difference who is right about the traffic light. Wow.

  2. Harry says:

    Today I learned that our township fire marshal, an unelected part-time office, has told our volunteer fire companies that our township will not accept firemen who are not certified by the State of Pennsylvania. The state requires 400 hours of state certified training, the same standard required for members of the firefighters guild.

    I assume our fire marshal made this decision on his own.

    I called one of our supervisors, a friend. (This a good argument for small government.) We agreed the fire marshal should be put on a short leash, and the wheels of justice and liberty are spinning. Remind me to report back who wins in this small struggle. My concern is whether my house is on fire our mother state will be checking cards.

    I will leave it to you to decide how to classify this, whether it be Thuggery, or Government Gone Wild.

  3. Rod says:

    At an intersection just down the road from my house, there is an intersection that worked perfectly well until traffic engineers made it a four-way stop at the request of residents who did not like the idea of waiting for traffic to clear the intersection when they were making a left turn onto the road that runs past my house. The township is required by law to address any complaints related to road safety, and in order to do that they hired their customary traffic engineer who charged them five grand to come up with the four-way stop “design.”

    This is the sticks here, but we do have a rush hour, and at seven in the morning and five at night the cars are backed up five or more deep as each driver tries to decide whether the other three drivers know the rules of the road (whoever stops first, goes first; in a tie, yield to the right). But that’s not what happens. Often the driver behind the first stopped does a rolling California stop and cuts through the intersection out of turn. Also, cars coming from that direction are coming downhill and may find it tough to stop on ice and snow, so they sail through, too.

    When I objected to the changes at a township meeting, the supervisors told me that they had to go with their professional consultant and could not give any weight to my views (I used to give the supervisors a hard time with editorials and newspaper articles, so maybe they are used to tuning me out) even though I have lived near this intersection all my life and have driven hay wagons and farm machinery through the intersection thousands of times with no accident. I don’t know how I would stop a fully loaded forage wagon at the bottom of that hill where the new stop sign is, however.

    While I agree that engineers need to design bridges and roads, one wonders how professional training trumps common sense and experience when it comes to traffic lights and stop signs. What courses does one take? In what department? Are there an inordinate number of athletes in these courses? Can you get a federal grant to study intersections? Traftech 301 (seminar) — Jakebrakes and Their Use in Sudden Stops.

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