1. Russ Clarke
    Posted July 10, 2011 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    Are you willing to pay for your beliefs? If you have insurance, it may turn out that you are not willing to pay. When you are struck and brain injured because you failed to wear a helmet, if you have insurance, it will pay out to the limits of your policy, unless you have a good lawyer and, in that case, your insurance company will probably be forced to pay for all your care. That means I will be forced to pay for your decision not to wear a helmet along with everyone else who has a policy in your state or with health insurance your company. If you tell your life, health, and motorcycle insurance companies that you do not wear a helmet and are willing to pay much higher premiums or if you forgo insurance because insurance is just a social contract, more power to you. If you are not willing to pay higher premiums because statistically you are a higher risk, but want insurance because of the uncertainty of riding a motorcycle, then you are forcing me to pay for your statistically unsound decision.

    • Posted July 11, 2011 at 12:47 am | Permalink

      Whether Rick is insured for accidents without a helmet, and whether that costs him more, is between him and his insurance company. And if you don’t want your insurance premiums to be higher because of higher payouts for unhelmeted cyclists, then it is up to you to find an insurance company that doesn’t make such payouts. This is not a moral issue. You just have different insurance needs.

    • Posted July 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      I’ve regularly worn a seat belt since the late ’80s, and I still oppose seat belt laws. Similarly, I will never myself jump out of an airplane that isn’t crashing, nor use heroin, nor smoke, and it’s very unlikely I’ll ever eat a Happy Meal again. However, if I wanted to do those things, it’s nobody’s business but mine. Furthermore, I resent the government having yet another excuse to order, threaten, arrest or fine me (remember “click it or ticket?”) for something I may or may not have done; if a cop decides to harass me by giving me a seat belt ticket, how can I prove I was actually wearing it? I can’t. See, that’s the biggest practical problem with victimless crimes: no victim, therefore no evidence except whatever a cop chooses to make up.

      And please don’t say cops lying on reports is a rare phenomenon; as the current cop-crusade against cell phone cameras and video has demonstrated, it’s rampant. And professional escorts are never convicted by any means other than police lies, because no experienced escort ever does what the law requires to “prove” prostitution.

  2. Posted July 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I believe you’ve missed the overall point of what I wrote, but, yes, if paying higher insurance premiums — or not having insurance — were the price of freedom, then I would call that a fair trade.

    Incidentally, you incorrectly assume that I would not choose to wear a helmet, not that it matters. I have no problem with private insurance companies having rules that say things like “get in a motorcycle wreck without a helmet and you won’t be covered.” The malpractice insurance that I carry as a lawyer is like that: since my practice is currently 100% criminal defense, the policy I have is limited and covers criminal defense only.

    In addition to the incorrect assumption, though, you’ve made an excellent argument for why the government should tell you what to eat at night and how often you have to exercise.

  3. Mad Rocket Scientist
    Posted July 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    The problem is, when your insurance company tells you that you are on the hook for your own stupidity (& hands you the bill), you can still go crying to the state to take care of you.

    • Posted July 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      So fix THAT.

      Why does everyone always want to try to “fix” a problem by not actually addressing the problem? Instead, they want to “fix” a problem by taking away everyone’s freedom of choice because some few people create a problem.

      • Alicia
        Posted July 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

        Is it just me or are many of the people who complain about having to pay the price for someone else’s lifestyle choices also the same people who advocate for everyone’s health care to be rolled into one big blob? Wouldn’t having separate health care (just as someone with a beater car might have different car insurance than their neighbor with an almost paid-off Boxter) be an excellent way to tie individual risks with individual costs? Then we wouldn’t have to sneer at motorcyclists or smokers.

  4. Posted January 8, 2012 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    The unified costs argument is unsound. Someone who is significantly injured from a traumatic head injury may increase your automobile insurance but will also face a reduced life span, saving medicare (or health insurance, or compelled care expenses, etc) expenses in the long run. Same reduced life span calculus applies for the overweight and those who enjoy hard drugs.

    There is no rational entitlement allowing people to tell others how to live their life, or what risks to take. Conversely, it does not necessarily mean that in an otherwise affluent society a basic safety net should not exist should people really need it *even if they make stupid decisions* (see Hayek a la Constitution of Liberty, not Marx).

    Risk is a good thing folks. They found the vaccine for polio while studying dirt. Unexpected consequences abound in those who engage in risky behavior, to the betterment of all of society. To shun risk is to shun progress and that joie de vivre that makes all this bullshit worthwhile.