January 8, 2013

"In a funny twist, Ed whispers how the man at the table next to ours is feverishly working his prayer beads with his hand."

"The man hears us and laughs. Not prayer beads -- he says in decent English -- this is what we do here when we try to quit smoking. You know, keep your fingers busy!"
In 2010, Greece passed a law banning smoking in restaurants, bars and even enclosed outdoor spaces. Let me assure you, this law is completely ignored....

There are a number of good seafood tavernas lining the waterfront and we choose one that has the lovely "no smoking" sing on the door. Except that inside, we see there are ashtrays on the tables and both the owner and the waitress are puffing away. Still, the dining room seems free of smoke and so we settle in at a table that seems relatively protected, should someone choose to light up.
A good lesson about law. What makes people follow the law? Surely, a statute is not enough. There are cultural elements. Some law is passed in Athens, but who's keeping track of what's happening on all those islands? How many islands are there in Greece? Depends on how you count. It could be 6,000. It could be 163. The story above comes from the island of Lesbos. The man with the smoking beads was one of 90,643 Lesbians, who follow the law... who knows how assiduously?

66 comments:

AllenS said...

What makes people follow the law?

The threat of fines and jail time.

Pogo said...

When the US can 'print' a trillion dollar coin and (insert any Obama action here), the rest of us understand that laws are now meaningless, enforced only against enemies or for revenue.

Shouting Thomas said...

The U.S. is an exceedingly law abiding society.

I've spent quite a bit of time in Mexico and the Philippines, countries where the laws seems to be more suggestions than compulsions.

I'd guess that the Germanic/Scandinavian heritage of the U.S. accounts for our obsession with rules and laws. White northern European people love rules and logic as a way of structuring their lives.

There's something to be said for the U.S. legalistic approach, and for the Mexican/Filipino anti-legalistic approach.

Traffic laws, in particular, seem to be pretty fuzzy and only enforced on a whimsical basis in Mexico and the Philippines. This seems hilarious for a few days, but quickly becomes a bit terrifying.

Pogo said...

There aren't enough police or military personnel to enforce compliance in the US.

We'd have to go full ChiCom or Soviet to get most people to buckle and bow, ignoring the black market of course. And that only lasts 2-3 generations.

Culture alone can regulate behavior, not cops or rules or signs. England is living off the fag ends of empire's apex, fast being replaced by barbarism.

See Chicago, Detroit, East St. Louis for examples of what we face.

Shouting Thomas said...

The Philippines has changed a bit (but not all that much) since my late wife grew up in Manila in the 50s.

I remember how shocked I was when she explained to me that a terrible violent crime had been committed against one of her family members, and that the police has done just about nothing.

She had to patiently explain to me that the police had to be bribed or they wouldn't bother much with investigating even a serious crime.

This is hard stuff for an American to understand. We expect fairness in a way that much of the world views as extraordinary.

traditionalguy said...

Law restrains the acts that people will usually do.

But does a lawless approach work?Lawlessness is the alternative, a/k/a the survival of the strongest who have the best weapons without mercy. Nice guys will finish last.

The American experiment has said that law is needed, but that it needs to be constrained so that it does not become the weapon of choice of the lawless.

And then along came Obama, the Lawless One.







66 said...

Ah, a Nina link! What a remarkably cleansing experience after trudging through that mushy Wurtzel pabulum. Thank you both.

Mitchell the Bat said...

The news used to report that there where people in the U.S. who would squirt smokers with water pistols or use little battery-powered fans in retaliation.

David said...

But in America, the land of harpy vigalanties, there's always someone pointing the finger and calling the cops.

Aridog said...

Ann Alothouse said...

A good lesson about law. What makes people follow the law? Surely, a statute is not enough. There are cultural elements

Pogo said ...

... the rest of us understand that laws are now meaningless ...

Law abiding is always "cultural" in my opinion. Either that or be like Syria or pre-War Iraq and Afghanistan. Law enforcement can be feudal when there is no liberty. In the Republic that is/was the United States of America just who will enforce laws or court rulings? I suggest folks study the history of Andrew Jackson and the Supreme Court for an answer to that one.

Our court as arbiter collapsed last year after extortion threats the year before (SoU Speech) and threat outright last year. Our Court now retains relevance only by acquiescence to executive fiat...by asserting that up is down and/or vice versa as the fiat demands.

We are finding out right now just how meaningless legislated laws really are with a government bent upon autocracy....a government steeped in the Cloward-Piven strategy.

Like I keep saying, "what debt ceiling?" It was breeched last week and nothing has happened...except for both the administration and Congress to continue to spend money above the ceiling.

"What sequestor?" That is/was a "deal" made by legislation...subject to change or outright ignoring by executive fiat.

We can cloak it temporarily by borrowing money from ourselves, by apply future obligation funding to present day payables.

When I was a much younger man I would have argued what is happening today couldn't happen, even after the war powers of FDR and Truman, which arguably served a greater good.

Even after I went to my own war and witnessed how a collectivist political movement crushes opposition because of their self anointing sense of essentially royal entitlement. I saw how corruption in the more democratic government, and the misguided perceptions of our own government, made it possible to do. A draconian political movement became a cause celebre' of national liberation. Valiant freedom fighters you know, not armed politicians who killed their own people to secure their omnipotence.

I still thought, not here, can't happen here.

But now, it is happening here. Law is the first casualty.

Nonapod said...

I find that a good test for if a law should be repealed is how often people are breaking it. If you've got a ban on smoking in public places and tons of people are still smoking in public places then the law obviously needs to be removed. I wish we we're periodically required to examine all our currently existing laws and repeal the ones that are regularly being broken in such a way.

EMD said...
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ricpic said...

The complete acquiescence to the anti-smoking regimen in America does not bode well for resistance to Barry's anti-gun and pro complete control of our bodies in his second term. Far too domesticated, the Americans.

cubanbob said...

The lesson here is that law ought to be codified in context of what the general culture will accept.

Auntie Ann said...

The laws on hands-free cell phones are also widely broken. I've even seen police driving down the road chatting on their cells.

Bryan C said...

Some lovely photos. Still, it seems rather provincial to visit a foreign land to partake of natural beauty and ancient culture, and then try so hard to avoid those darn smelly foreigners and their feeelthy habits.

Anyway, I think most people follow the law because they understand, in general, why we need laws. They also understand that some laws are dumb and can generally be ignored, like the 55 MPH speed limit. When you start passing too many dumb laws, often using existing dumb laws as justification, people stop respecting the law. And why not? The law has already ceased to respect them.

Aridog said...

Fat finger correction: "Alothouse" should have been Althouse. That typo of mine irks me just as much as the "Althousian" made up word by others does.

nina said...

The 2010 law banning smoking in Greece was strengthened by hefty fines, provisions for people reporting, and a 5 strikes and you lose your license penalty. Pretty serious stuff. Why is this law ignored? In part because Greece is the most addicted to smoking nation in Europe. Smoking is so common here that I actually did not know they had a ban on it until I looked it up. Still, Italy was successful in keeping smokers out, as was France -- heavy duty smoking nations.

Greece is a country that's heavily damaged by years of distrust of government -- a distrust that goes beyond what the regular skeptic feels. Corruption has a terrible effect on (abiding by) the rule of law.

We discretely find tables that are away from smokers, but it's tough to go back to smoky rooms once you've lived without them.

I do think that we have our own rules of the road and regulations in general that we violate without so much as a wink. Cell phones, yes, though many people aren't clear on what's permissible there. How about crossing the street on a red light? In many countries, people wait. We don't.

chuck said...

The French can live with many laws because they ignore those that are inconvenient. The English and Germans don't share that cultural trait,and so find themselves at a severe disadvantage in an EU that has much French in it.

EMD said...
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edutcher said...

This looks like a job for Bloomberg!

Ann Althouse said...

The man with the smoking beads was one of 90,643 Lesbians, who follow the law... who knows how assiduously?

Undoubtedly another Lesbian who loves only women and munches muff constantly.

Aridog said...

Fat finger correction: "Alothouse" should have been Althouse. That typo of mine irks me just as much as the "Althousian" made up word by others does.

Yes, but even Ann calls the commentariat Althousians.

Freder Frederson said...

England is living off the fag ends of empire's apex, fast being replaced by barbarism.

Have you ever been to England?

Pogo said...

Read Theodore Dalrymple, Freder, then get back to me.

Start with:

Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass

Our Culture, What's Left of It: The Mandarins and the Masses

Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics and Culture of Decline

Mr Clarke's Modest Proposal: Supportive Evidence from Yeovil

Pogo said...

Or read Peter Hitchens (Christopher's smarter brother):

The Abolition of Britain: From Winston Churchill to Princess Diana

The War We Never Fought: The British Establishment's Surrender to Drugs

The Broken Compass

A Brief History of Crime

Chip Ahoy said...

Ed could do to whisper lower. Maybe Ed thought his whisper cannot be overheard because his own hearing suffers. I would suggest sign language for that situation, but that attracts attention too. Nudge, nod, fiddle fiddle, that could be noticed as easily as a whisper. Oh well. Ha ha. Busted.

Icepick said...
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Michael said...

Pogo: All of theTheodore Dalrymple suggestions are excellent. No one describes the underbelly of the UK better and no one laments the slide more ruefully. I believe Freder would be well advised to watch himself if he is on the street at closing time in many parts of every city in the UK.

Icepick said...

What makes people follow the link?

The promise of lesbians!

(Do I really need to tell you the link isn't safe for work?)

Andy Freeman said...

> But does a lawless approach work?Lawlessness is the alternative, a/k/a the survival of the strongest who have the best weapons without mercy. Nice guys will finish last.

No, lawlessness is not the alternative.

Drop a bunch of Mormons or Scandanavians on a desert island and in no time, they'll build shelter and food and water resources.

Freder Frederson said...

Read Theodore Dalrymple, Freder, then get back to me.

So I guess the answer to my question is "no". Get out of your little misanthropic world and actually experience other people and maybe your attitude will change.

AllenS said...

experience other people

What does that mean? Have sex with them? How much experience do you have with other people?

Pogo said...

I have also read Samizdata for years. They report the same findings.

Hey, I have never been to Detroit either. But tell me how beautiful it is there, Freder.

Pogo said...

I 'experience' other people from all over the world, Freder, every day. I have met literally tens of thousands in my past 20 years.

Or did you mean something else?

Icepick said...
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Icepick said...

Get out of your little misanthropic world and actually experience other people and maybe your attitude will change.

I'm sure that if you came to Orlando you would make a point of skipping Disney World to come experience the Third World in Pine Hills. I'm positive the "experience" of meeting people who shot at each other out of moving cars would change your attitude. Assuming, of course, that none of them shot your stupid ass for talking funny. Culture, bitchez!

Pogo said...

Well, I've never been to England
But I kinda like the Beatles
So I headed for Las Vegas
Only made it out to Needles

Pogo said...

@Michael
Dalrymple writes so well. A smart doc too.

Icepick said...

If you really want to know what it's like living someplace lawless, just go to your nearest poor neighborhood. Most likely the cops only go there occasionally to justify their budgets, shoot up some people for fun, or to quell/start a media firestorm. I can see a drug deal going down in the middle of the day a few hundred feet from a school pretty much any day I care to see one, but the cops have no idea where the drug dealers are. Riiiiiiiight.

And I'm not a user, by the way, so that's not how I know where they are. Mostly I know because I drive the same streets most of the time and eventually one notices that the little baggies and the cash are always changing hands in the same basic locations. Despite the large numbers in the prisons, the cops really just don't give a shit about stopping the trade, only in protecting their own positions and pensions.

Basically cops are mostly useful for chasing the rabble out of the better areas of town. We'd do just as well firing about 99% of them and just making concealed carry mandatory for law abiding citizens.

Aridog said...

edutcher said ...

Yes, but even Ann calls the commentariat Althousians.

I see. And that arrogance makes it better how?

Freder Frederson said...

What does that mean? Have sex with them?

No it means leave your comfortable suburb and spend some time in foreign countries or even urban areas in the U.S. Maybe you will find out they are not as scary or dangerous as you have been led to believe by a bunch of rich misanthropes.

AllenS said...

First of all, I don't live in a suburb, and secondly I have been to a lot of different countries. One of which I suffered a gun shot wound.

Pogo said...

I live in the decrepit part of town already, Freder. Not sure I want to see the dregs of England. What for? I've seen enough photos and videos and stories.

Don't be so solipsistic.

Do you have to drive every freaking model of car to decide which one to buy?

Aridog said...

Freder Frederson said...

No it means leave your comfortable suburb and spend some time in foreign countries or even urban areas in the U.S.

I'll bite. What far away countries or urban ghettos do you recommend, based upon you living in them of course?

Now, if you've been paying attention, I pretty much advocate what you are proposing...but I will never say it is the only way to learn.

AllenS said...

What does that mean? Have sex with them?

Only at month end, Allen...when "two dollah" will buy something. :-))

Roger J. said...

in some of the countries I have travelled in (the mid east, central Europe, and latin America) there is indeed law--but the law is superceded by bakshees in the mid east, and la mordida in some latin American countries. I enjoy interacting with locals (Hungary was a wonderful experience) but I would strongly suggest you not get emeshed in the legal systems of these countries.

Pogo said...

I've seen much of the US, favoring the less-traveled and decayed areas.

Barbarism is much the same everywhere; only the music and clothing differ.

Michael said...

Pogo: REad his "Coups and Cocaine" about travels in Latin America by bus and "The Wilder Shores of Marx" about Albania, N. Korea etc. Wonderful travel writing with acute observations of people living in all kinds of conditions.

Michael said...

Freder: Hop off your high horse. I have travelled a lot and find that guys like you who are always suggesting other people get out of their comfort zones have actually travelled very little themselves. Enlighten us on where you have been and we will respond accordingly.

Pogo said...

Thanks, Michael; I look forward to them.

Michael said...

Roger J: Exactly right. I used to do some dove shooting in Mexico and insisted that I get my own licenses at the Mexican Embassy in San Francisco. I would fly to San Diego and then cross the frontier with my guns and papers. At the checkpoint my papers were examined with care but without understanding and I was informed that they were incorrect, they lacked the stamp of the General in Baja Norte notwithstanding I was about to board a plane to Sinaloa. Much discussion. Shotgun was confiscated and held for my return and I proceeded without them noticing that the papers were for two guns and they were confiscating one. The other was in my duffle. Very nervous few days with a shotgun and no papers (confiscated w/ the other gun).

Michael said...

Pogo: I hope you do. The book on Albania etc is on Kindle the other I got from Alibris.

Icepick said...

Maybe you will find out they are not as scary or dangerous as you have been led to believe by a bunch of rich misanthropes.

Yea, right! You sound just like one of those whiter people that thinks that listening to a Bob Marley album has given you some sort of insight. Trying LIVING in a 'hood and tell me what it's like. Every day, every single day, I get to hear at least one helicopter hovering overhead. It isn't because there's a trauma hospital nearby, either. Those are police choppers, looking for bad guys and trying to justify their expense. They always know they can find SOMEONE doing SOMETHING illegal in Pine Hills.

Nothing re-enforces that feeling of fellowship towards your fellow man as seeing the cops pull up next door and make the neighbor show all his tattoos first thing so they can figure out which gang he might be affiliated with. Or having the police chopper overhead at two in the morning shining a spot into your back yard looking for some dumbassed gangbanger that can't shoot straight but still hits someone. Or watching the bank robbers up the street get arrested as the kids are coming home from elementary school. (Bank robbery is something the police will take as seriously as not coming to a full and complete stop near the mayor's house.)

That's what living in a moderately dangerous 'hood is like these days. It's not all wine and roses. More like a bunch of Courvoisier Winetavius Richardsons acting like world-class knuckle-heads instead. (Although that's not as bad as being a Dutch doctor, apparently. Unless you think being named Taco B. M. Monster is a good thing.)

Roger J. said...

As long as we are talking about travel and the local law, do any of the commentariat have any experience in the Baltics? Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania? My lady and I are planning a trip in that area. Would appreciate any insights--BTW, we are big fans of the "lonely planet" guide book series.

Thanks in advance.

Basta! said...

One cannot help but notice the recurrent and ludicrous assumption that whites are a homogenous group, all suburban, all bourgeois, all cloistered. So that the significant number of us who were born to poor parents in the poorest neighborhoods of major cities (the ones that used to be called ghettoes), who grew up in and who still live in the city, are subjected to snotty lectures by imperceptive wannabes, on the good it will do our souls to "spend time" here, where we have been all along. Which the little snots would know if they ever dared to follow their own dicta.

Seeing Red said...

Roger, you might want to check out Samizdata.

Freder Frederson said...

One cannot help but notice the recurrent and ludicrous assumption that whites are a homogenous group, all suburban, all bourgeois, all cloistered.

Funny how you assume that this describes me.

For the record, I currently live in New Orleans. I would gladly swap our crime rate with Orlando.

I have also lived (not just visited, mind you) in England and Germany and my parents and brother currently live in England.

Roger J. said...

Very well travelled Freder--England and Germany--very much in the anglosphere--nowhere else? Like latin America, the mid east?
Were I you I would not be lecturing others on where to live to gain increased cultural understanding. Your choices don't meet the test.

Icepick said...

For the record, I currently live in New Orleans. I would gladly swap our crime rate with Orlando.

It's not about the city, it's about the neighborhood. Let me guess, you live in the Ninth Ward?

jimbino said...

I'll tell you what makes people follow the law:

I put out the cigarette of a proper German in an elevator at Siemens AG in Munich in 1973.

The elevator had a sign saying "Rauchen Verboten" ignored by all but Gastarbeiter. I asked the German guy to observe the rules and put out his cigarette. When he demurred, I yelled "Fire" and doused both him and the cigarette with the seltzer bottle I'd had the foresight to bring (along with a friend).

He went straight to the Personalabteilung to complain, but they'd been prepared by a call from the Fire Department that I'd arranged, that said all elevators at Siemens Munich would be shut down if the smoking prohibition rules weren't observed.

Lesson: use the gummint regulators as a sword and attack those abusers, whether smokers, breeders, bicyclists, or dog and cat owners.

Kirk Parker said...

"Althousian" is a perfectly good word. There's nothing "made up" about it, given the rules of English. Adjectives are a productive class, and there are specific rules for forming adjectives from noun, which "Althousian" complies with, so there's nothing either incorrect or novel about it. (In contrast, prepositions are a closed class in English: you can't just make up new prepositions when it suits you, though I presume James Joyce probably tried.)



Jeez, Pogo, no wonder you sound depressed all the time, with that reading list! There's sure a lot of ruin in an empire, isn't there...



And to Freder, I've not only read Dalrymple, I've actually met British citizens who emigrated because they got tired of the ever-increasing crime and the enfeebled response of the authorities to it--and no, I don't mean "exaggerated perception of crime based on inflammatory newspaper reporting", I mean crime that actually happened to them.

Michael said...

Freder: England! Germany! New Orleans! Holy global shit. Most of the military guys commenting here probably have ten or more countries representing six languages. Most of them would be third world. New Orleans is third world but quasi-English speaking so there is that I suppose.

Pogo said...

"Jeez, Pogo, no wonder you sound depressed all the time, with that reading list! There's sure a lot of ruin in an empire, isn't there..."

I do hope I turn out to be wrong.
But I really doubt it..

Aridog said...

Kirk Parker said...

"Althousian" is a perfectly good word. There's nothing "made up" about it, given the rules of English. Adjectives are a productive class, and there are specific rules for forming adjectives from noun ...

...i.e. "made up." Comportment with "rules" isn't the point. Never mind that "Althousian" standing alone, as frequently used derisively here, is a noun, not an adjective.

That said, I read here, comment here on occasion, but don't deign to worship.

BTW...I was correcting a typo of my own, which I found disrespectful and implied I found the term in question equally disrespectful.

It's not like the first time I've given an opinion at odds with others, and yet I usually manage it without using "asshole", "mother-fucker", "lemming", "shit head" et al, all made up words of the noun and adjective variety. IIRC that is usually the province of the several critics who call people "Althousians."

For accuracy when referring to me, one should use the slang term for "intromittent organ" if trying to be definitive.

Aridog said...

Poor Freder...just can't catch a break. Even Senator Harry Reid says Hurricane Katrina at New Orleans was "nothing in comparison to what happened to the people in New York and New Jersey" from Tropical Storm Sandy.

Is that some of the Mormon whitey-white attitude left coasters spoke of regarding Romney?

Inga said...

I've never heard anyone use the term Althousia or Althousians negatively. I've heard "trained seals" and "lemmings" quite often though.

Heck, I consider myself an Althousian, and am one of but a few rare lefties here and it appears that I may be the only female lefty who comments here regularly.

Way too much testosterone in Althousia.

kentuckyliz said...

I take estrogen suppressing drugs, so I don't really help counter balance the testosteronishness. Testosteronicity?

Aridog said...

Inga said ...

I've never heard anyone use the term ... Althousians negatively ...
Heck, I consider myself an Althousian ...


Well good for you. But I wasn't correcting a typo of yours. It was mine and I did it for the reason stated.