A short post about Matt Yglesias's license plate crusade
I missed this tempest in a teapot because I'm not on Twitter, but I had independently come to the conclusion recently the spate of fake paper license plates and license plate obscuring plastic is a grievous social ill, and there should be vigorous enforcement to crush it. Go narcs, go!
There’s a difference between ratting out someone talking in the quiet car and ratting out someone who is actively trying to defeat public safety measures.
There are cultures where “narcing” - not informing on people, but scolding them - is far more acceptable. The Germans and Dutch come to mind.
I know this is not your point, and I know that you included simply to run down Yglesias's reasoning, but this--
"You need to enforce the rules about speeding and running red lights to make cities safe for pedestrians; the alternative is not blissfully self-regulating anarchy but a less-functional city and more traffic deaths"
--is simply untrue, as anyone who has ever been to Rome or Cairo or Saigon knows. I suppose, depending on how Yglesias & Co. interpret and valorize "less-functional" it is partly true (what's the baseline for a "more-functional" city? Hong Kong? Frankfurt?). But if you bring "traffic deaths" into it you're looking at a phenomenon that has far, far less to do with rule enforcement and far, far more to do with 1) road design and 2) local driving culture.
The fellow whose name cannot be said has thoughts and a theory related to this.