Why Paris Hilton Is Not A Libertarian Heroby Doug Mataconis
In this and other posts, Lew Rockwell and several contributors to his blog have bizzarely tried to turn the Paris Hilton saga into some kind of indictment of the American legal system. Ms. Hilton, they, seem to be arguing, was the victim of an out of control legal system. Sort of like how O.J. Simpson was unjustly prosecuted just because he sliced his wife’s throat with a kinfe.
Well, leaving aside the debates about whether DWI is a legitimate crime (personally, I think a libertarian/classical liberal case for such laws can be made), here are the facts that stand unrebutted:
Last January, Hilton got convicted of driving drunk. That killed 18,000 people last year; it’s no joke. Hilton didn’t have to serve a day in jail for it, either. She got 36 months probation and had her license suspended (in November 2006). She was also ordered into an alcohol education program.
Within a month, she had been arrested twice for driving without a license, and still had not entered the program as ordered. The city prosecuted her for violating her probation and the court order, and convicted her last month. Her defense? She blamed everyone but herself, and even at this last court proceeding, wanted to appear only by telephone. The judge had to order her brought to court.
Paris Hilton is no child. She’s twenty-six years old. She has all the money she needs to hire the best lawyers to represent her. For that matter, she had all the money she needed to hire a driver after her license got suspended. Not too many of us have those kinds of resources, but she does, and she decided to flout the law and her probation anyway.
Did her parents bring her up poorly? It seems that way. Does it matter now? No. She’s far past the age for taking responsibility for her own actions. Instead, she has acted with contempt for the laws, for the safety of others on the road, and for the court in which she was called to answer for her actions. Paris Hilton deserves no sympathy for her sentence, nor for the crying jag and histrionics she displayed when she finally figured out that she had pushed her self-centeredness just a little too far.
For lack of a better political label, I am a libertarian. By profession, I’m an attorney. I have a love for liberty and a respect for the law. And that’s why this is so easy for me.
Quite honestly, it’s plain and simple. Paris Hilton broke the law. And it’s a law that I think is legitimate. You drive drunk you endanger me, my family, and everyone else. Unless you’re an Rockwellian anarchist who rejects the idea of any reasonable government regulation, the idea that someone who’s intoxicated should not be driving an automobile is so plain-and-simple obvious that it’s barely worthy of discussion.
And if you’re convicted of doing so, the punishment of losing your license to drive seems entirely reasonable.
She was given a chance to avoid going to jail and she blatantly and publicly flaunted it. I’m not sure what the law in California is, but in my neck of the woods, 45 days in jail would’ve been the least of her worries.