Homer Simpson Jury Duty
Looking at my car insurance bill this evening ($1800 a year for two people and two cars with Progressive) and I go to thinking that that's a lot of money, and then I realized that $1800 might be enough to cover a minor fender bender, but it certainly wouldn't cover any kind of an accident where someone got hurt. And then I got to thinking about proposals to limit or reduce jury awards, which I am pretty sure came from the insurance companies. I imagine some insurance big shots got wind of a bunch of big jury awards and being human, got a little worried that this might be a trend and this trend might get of hand. They have a responsibility, after all, to make sure awards are paid. If the awards got too big, or there were too many of them, that could drive the insurance company into the ground, and that would be very bad for everyone, so you can see how they would want to get some limits on jury awards.
I'm pretty sure those kind of laws haven't gotten much traction, and that's probably a good thing. Every time some jury awards an extravagant amount to some poor soul, it's like a safety valve reducing pressure on the whole system. The everyday frustration of dealing with the modern world is aggravating and it accumulates. I'm surprised we don't have more mass shooters. And we are all party to it. Anything to make our lives a little easier or save us a little money. Any time we use a modern convenience we are wrapping the barbed wire a little tighter around us. And any time a jury makes an extravagant award it's like we're sticking to the man, except the man is us.
How did we get this way? I think it's our new religion - our religion of math and science. Our belief that we can do anything, eventually, if we just keep applying ourselves. We've got people in space, we've got satellites photographing our license plates. We've got people getting all kinds of fantastic repairs done to broken parts of their bodies. If politics has gotten a little shrill, it's because there is less and less to fight over. Democracy is even making inroads in Asia. I don't know if it will ever take. They've had autocrats for so long over there that I wouldn't be surprised if it was in their DNA. Actually, I think we all have that gene. We all like a strong leader, someone who will point the way with enthusiasm. But democracy is something you have to work at. You have to pay attention and talk to people. That's work and people are lazy, and when people are lazy the autocrats step in.