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by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist

In some cultures and countries jaywalking — crossing the street outside of marked crossings or against the traffic lights — is frowned upon, not just by the policing authorities but by the populace. The Germans are notoriously compliant to lights and lanes in their street-crossing culture, and the Japanese too.

In my travels I like to observe the compliance versus the non-compliance, the group-think v. the individual-think, in traffic behaviour and jaywalking in particular. In most places I find about a 50% compliance/non-compliance ratio. It depends on traffic-density, but where it is safe about half the people wait until the light turns or cross only at the crossings. Australians seem to fit this 50% ratio. Some cross only at the official crossings and wait for the green light, even when there is no conflicting traffic or hazard. Others make their own arrangements, crossing when and where it is clear and safe.

In parts of Asia there is very little compliance and crossing the street can be a hazardous adventure to a new-comer. If you didn’t jaywalk in Vietnam or Thailand you would not get across, yet there seems to be an anarchic order and it all works with few casualties. Traffic-watching in these countries is an anarchist’s delight.

There is not much risk or inconvenience in Responsible Jaywalking; these individualists take responsibility for their own safety, and don’t interfere to any noticeable degree on the flow of traffic or the convenience of drivers.

As an advocate of Responsible Jaywalking I see in it a healthy display of Responsible Civil Disobedience, and Respect for Self Ownership.

Are there rules for Responsible Jaywalking?

Well, yes, anarchists can have rules too:

  1. No threat to your own well-being.
  2. No disruption, inconvenience or alarm to drivers and traffic.
  3. Courtesy and good manners.
  4. Don’t get caught by the revenue-raising Jay-Cops.

I like the words and idea of Henry David Thoreau, the American libertarian and non-conformist of the nineteenth century: he advocated being “a Good Neighbour and a Bad Subject”.

Compliant , subservient subjects make good cannon-fodder, voters, tax-payers and red-tape cripples. The government likes its citizens to be “good subjects”.

Bad subjects in the Jaywalking arena take quiet satisfaction in their responsible civil-disobedience while maintaining the “good neighbour” approach to their fellow road users.

Perhaps next time a “Blitz on Jay Walkers” is proclaimed there can be an up-rising of responsible and courteous jay walkers to confuse and confound the Jay Cops trying to collect revenue. It should not be too hard to confound and out-wit, out-run if necessary, the Jay-Cops; they may then go and get proper and productive jobs.

Maybe a slogan is called for “Jaywalking for Peace and Prosperity”; or “Jaywalkers Do It Joyfully”; or even “Jaywalking for Life and Love”.

(in order of appearance on Economics.org.au)
  1. Welcome from Neville Kennard
  2. Think Tanks Don't Work
  3. "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
  4. The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
  5. Corporate Welfare
  6. Citizenship for Sale?
  7. I Don't Vote
  8. Voting: Right or Privilege?
  9. Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
  10. Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
  11. Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
  12. Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
  13. Government Likes War
  14. Collusion is Our Right
  15. Why Not the Drug Olympics?
  16. Unconventional Wisdom
  17. Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
  18. Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
  19. Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
  20. Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
  21. Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
  22. Separating Sport and State
  23. Your Home is Not an Investment
  24. Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
  25. A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
  26. Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
  27. Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
  28. What is a good Australian?
  29. Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
  30. The Market Failure Industry
  31. Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
  32. Wot if ...?
  33. The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
  34. The Tannehills
  35. Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
  36. Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
  37. Minarchy vs Anarchy
  38. Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
  39. The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
  40. Is Howard Our Best PM?
  41. Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
  42. Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
  43. Authoritarian Freedom
  44. Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
  45. The Tyranny of the Majority
  46. If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
  47. Business Should Exploit Boat People
  48. The Immorality of Trade Unions
  49. "America" vs "The United States"
  50. Sweet Anarchy
  51. The Illusion of "Job Creation"
  52. Gold Is Money
  53. Guilty Capitalists
  54. Bureauphobia
  55. Prosperity vs Growth
  56. Capitalism vs Democracy
  57. More people = More fun
  58. Self-Ownership - the very idea!
  59. Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
  60. The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
  61. Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
  62. My Journey to Anarchy:
    From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
  63. Government Needs Bad Guys –
    that's why they like wars
  64. What Is Obscene?
  65. Traffic Economics
  66. Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
  67. Neville Kennard Obituary
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