Like most Americans, I pride myself on being able to detect irony at seven paces. Skimming through the news, I can certainly detect sarcasm (which is to irony what a cannon is to sidearms), as in this first paragraph from Reason magazine’s online pages:
Los Angeles City Council today approved a new citation system. . . . This new system allows the Los Angeles Police Department to cite residents for a whole host of minor crimes that used to result in warnings (and potentially misdemeanor charges if police felt like pressing the matter). Now it’s a way for the city to extract more money from residents for minor issues, and I’m sure that won’t be abused at all.
The point that Scott Shackford is making: the new system will be abused. When he tells us that “the city predicts it’s going to take in $1.59 million in revenue a year,” we see the reason for predictable abuse: money as well as power.
Mr. Shackford worries about the effects, about the people who will be caught in this net for all sorts of small little infractions of laws that they probably don’t even know exist. He wonders, he says, “if I should warn my neighbors, several of whom have friendly dogs they take outside to walk without leashes. It’s rarely a problem and I don’t hear complaints (except for this one little dog with a Napoleonic complex. There’s always one).”
My big worry? These sorts of laws (like: don’t put signage up on telephone poles, though “everybody is doing it”) hit the poor the hardest. The fines, starting at $250 a pop, are not insignificant.
A few of those and you might as well call yourself a member of a persecuted class.
Welcome, friend. The modern state seems bent on making us all members of that class.
No irony, here; just Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.