Monday, November 01, 2010

French Paternalism

In another recent news story that would have Mill spinning in his grave (following my earlier report of this), it seems that French coastguards want to ban swimming the channel on grounds that it's not safe.

There are suggestions that simmers might cause an accident, so if the worry is that it poses a danger to others, then perhaps Mill would allow a ban (though only if it violates an obligation to an assignable individual). Most likely, this is health and safety gone mad. Swimming the channel is likened, in the BBC report, to crossing the M25. Of course, all road-crossing is dangerous, and could cause an accident, so perhaps we should ban people from crossing the road too...

1 comment:

  1. Neil Brown2:36 pm

    But we do ban people crossing the motorway (See, rule 271)! I find that reasonable, as the motorways are planned with the intention that nobody walks on them and that there should be no stationary objects (which a pedestrian effectively is, to a car going 70MPH) that might require coming to a halt -- if they might have to stop for people, cars wouldn't be able to travel as fast, which would ruin the point of the motorways. Presumably the same argument could apply here -- if you consider the channel a dedicated shipping lane, ships should be able to sail through the channel without needing to consider that they have to stop/take evasive action for swimmers.