Robert Wenzel has used the example of jaywalking recently to highlight a way one can express dissent, as well as show that individuals can do just fine without the majority of the State's rules. This was on my mind recently when I had an encounter at an intersection with someone who was patiently waiting for the little white "walk" man to flash on the screen indicating that it was time to walk across the street. Because there was no traffic present, I proceeded to cross even though the little orange man was still lit up. The person said sarcastically, "Really?!"- dumbfounded that someone would commit such a horrible atrocity as deciding for himself if it was safe to cross. I just kept on a goin'! Apparently, I didn't die from this, as I am here writing this article...
Government's silly proclamations should be ignored completely to the extent that it is possible. This is a way for individuals to take control, and (in nearly all cases) cause no harm to another person. In the case of jaywalking, it is possible for one to commit this grievous offense without another person being aware or inconvenienced in any way. In evaluating one's actions through the lens of the Non Aggression Principle, it is plain to see there are many, many proclamations set by various levels of government which are arbitrary, silly, stupid, and have very little effect toward promoting a safe society. Rather, these silly laws are intended to foster a deep bond between the ruling class and individuals, entrenching fully the concept of who is in control.
Secondly, these silly laws are designed to be revenue generating devices for the various government agencies who can only acquire money by extracting it from the public. Although the effect is the same (extracting money), it is far easier to make a "public safety" argument than to come, hat-in-hand, to the public to ask for money in the form of higher taxes. If all the revenue generating laws which have to do with control of the individual (speeding, jaywalking, drug-use, etc.1)- and that have no victim- were eliminated tomorrow, many intolerable government agencies and actions would go by the wayside- a positive thing!
1. To illustrate, imagine someone is driving and decides to change lanes without signaling. This person crashes into another person, causing an accident. What is the real crime in this scenario? The government would contend that two crimes have been committed- failing to signal, and wrecking into the other person. However, only one of these crimes is an aggression of person and/or property- wrecking into the other person. What if the reckless driver had signaled, then proceeded to wreck into the other person? The effect is still the same. The only valid crimes are ones in which someone harms another via their person or property- i.e. crimes of aggression. Failing to signal is not an aggressive act, it is merely breaking a rule. (And it is also quite annoying!)
The quintessential example is drug-use. A person passing our on the couch after ingesting mind-altering drugs while devouring an entire bag of chips and a jumbo soda is doing no harm to another person, even if they are arguably harming themselves. The State claims the right to put such an individual in a cage for such an act. If the individual resists his captors, the State will execute him with zero recourse for his murder. Of course, if this individual goes into a Reefer Madness-like conniption fit, and causes damage to someone or their property, they have committed aggression only in the sense that they have broken something or hurt somebody. The presence of a victim is a crucial element indicating if a crime has been committed; true crimes involve property.