Anti-Planking Act of 2011 in the Philippines Proposed by Representative Winnie Castelo

So I wake up and 'Anti-Planking Act of 2011', proposed by Quezon city representative Winnie Castelo is still trending on Twitter (only locally now though). I figured this is a perfect time to expose the evils of giving the state the power to regulate lifestyle, prohibit personal habits and "victimless crimes".

The premise is that for as long you are not hurting anyone, for as long as you are not stealing or destroying the property of others, for as long as you are in your own property or the property of others who has given you consent, then there's absolutely nothing immoral about the act of planking.


For instance, there are those who expose themselves to potential danger by planking (like the guy on the photo above). But as our premise states, not only is he exposing himself to danger but also others. Plus, he is risking destroying the property of others. But these things are already illegal. The act of hurting others or destroying property is already punishable by law. To legislate specifically just for the act of planking is a waste of the time of our congress and of taxpayer's money.

Proposals like this one is a perfect opportunity for libertarians like me to expose what kinds of power we are giving to the state. In fact, it's times like these when the state exposes itself. It's the evils of a big brother or nanny state telling individuals what to do with their lives, bureaucrats imposing their will and values on others and having coercive power to do so. Plus, it contributes to wasteful and obviously unnecessary spending.

planking protest
Students "planking" as form of protest

In the representative's website, he goes as far as to regulate public protesting, which of course violates freedom of assembly and freedom of speech. Again, for as long as these student protesters are not violating the premises I gave above, there is nothing wrong with what they're doing.

winnie castelo
Representative Winnie Castelo

When we give them the power to regulate or prohibit acts on the grounds that they are dangerous then what's next? Skateboarding? Sports? Rock concerts? Eating in KFC? All these things pose a risk or danger in people's lives but again the more just and rational premise is mine and not the representative's.

"The parent in me" is what forced him, he says, to propose such a law. Well, let's assume that he has a kid who loves to do planking in dangerous places then that's not a state issue but a parental responsibility. It's similar to a parent whose kid gets into a skateboarding accident and then suddenly becomes an advocate of making skateboards illegal.
The parent in me tells me that this precedent in the case of this massive transport strike where militant street protesters who are students of various schools have to lie down or serve as ‘planks’ across the road to disrupt what should be normal traffic could just be very dangerous in the future. Life and limb are pretty much at risks here were unbelieving bus drivers or law enforcement authorities might just ram through these warm and living bodies rolled out on highways" - Winnie Castelo
Of course it's illegal to plank, stand, lie down, or dance in the middle of the road and disrupt traffic or put the lives of others in danger (as we've already established in my premise above). So why would the representative want to waste their time in congress debating such a useless bill?

Here's a great reference I was introduced to when I met up with fellow Filipino libertarians and French people researching about classical liberalism in South East Asia:

Walter Block's talk about his book Defending the Undefendable

The book is available for free here: PDF of Defending the Undefendable. It discusses similar topics about the state regulating lifestyle, personal habits, and acts with mutual consent that are deemed immoral by some. Naturally, it is assumed that the state has the power to regulate or prohibit them.

It is a popular notion that to initiate change you can "write to your congressman" which is now very possible because of social media. Here is the representative's twitter: @WinnieCastelo and his Facebook page. He's a Philosophy graduate from the University of the Philippines. Maybe we can talk some sense to him.

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