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Transport Blog
15 February 2007
Why letter bombs won’t work
Patrick Crozier

I have been putting off commenting on the spate of letter bombs apparently aimed at parts of the road-related revenue system.  I have done so, because, to be frank, I really don’t know what I think.

I condemn violence.  Of course.  I am a libertarian.  But who started it?  It is the state that has demanded money with menaces for owning a car, driving it on certain roads at certain times and driving it at a speed it regards as too fast.

So, on that basis it seems this guy has got a point.

But, if roads were privately owned, as I very much hope they were, wouldn’t we have much the same system?  Road owners would want to know who was using their roads, to be able to charge where and when road space was scarce, and to deter dangerous driving.

And more to the point, wouldn’t road owners, especially in residential and commercial districts end up looking very much like the state?  Sure, they might be better organised and there would be more of them, but still…

Where this guy is definitely wrong is on the tactical level.  Terrorism can work but only in certain very specific circumstances.  It needs to be an area where the state is weak, one which can evoke feelings of guilt.  Ulster provides a classic example of this and it is the principal reason why the IRA has been so successful.  But this does not apply to motoring.  Here the state is absolutely convinced of its virtue.

So, this guy is going to lose and, in doing so, queer the pitch for everybody else.  To paraphrase Talleyrand: it is worse than a crime - it is a mistake.

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