That phrase got another gallop in the Boris thread and it got me thinking, because every time someone gets pinged for a ridiculous speed, or has his car/bike impounded for hooning, someone cries in his beer about the erosion of our liberties. It seems every time the phrase or the concept is raised, many Netriders fall into line like sheep across a paddock and mutter approvingly that indeed this is happening. But IS IT??? Let me give you a non-motorcycling example, and start the ball rolling there. When I was a boy (50 years ago) graffitti around Sydney was almost non-existent. Apart from a few crudely-scratched daubings of political or social comment in railway overpasses near the city (and, of course, Arthur Stace's exquisite "Eternity") the walls, garage doors and streets of the city were free of visual pollution. Now if I want to buy a can of spray paint to fix the Hornet's wounds, I have to ask the nice man at the car accessory shop to unlock a cupboard and get it out for me. Why? Because any clear surface in our city has become a target for illiterate scum to daub their ugly tags on, and the free sale of spray paint has been restricted to attempt to stop this happening. So my liberty to walk into the car accessory place, like I used to be able to do, browse the rows and rows of spray paint, choose my product and walk it to the counter, has been eroded. Am I crying foul because of that? No, of course not. I am happy to pay the price of a little inconvenience on my part if it means the limiting of access to paint on their part. Simple. Let's talk about the road laws. There are now more and more complex offences on the statute books than there were 30 years ago, or even 20 or 10. Is this because politicians and bureaucrats sit around every Monday morning and discuss what they can make illegal, or increase the fines for, this week? No, of course it isn't. It's because motorists, in many cases the very people who are whining about the erosion of their liberties, are finding new, more dangerous and stupid ways of using their vehicles to behave in an irresponsible manner and endanger themselves and the public. So, laws are beefed up to curb such behaviour. And thus liberties (even if only imagined), are eroded. So, where's the problem? Let me go back to my youth again. In my teens I lived next door to two very ordinary young men who had two extra-ordinary cars. Although they were (deliberately) stock-appearing on the outside, they were high-performance on the inside, with best available engine and suspension modifications. Their great joy was to go into Newcastle on a Saturday night and do 'the cruise'; driving up and down Hunter Street, ogling the pretty girls and trying to impress them, and indulging in the odd traffic-light drag race with their mates and others. They were never booked, never defected and never hassled by the Police, who also did the cruise, looking for illegal modifications and anti-social behaviour. "Well,", you might say, "That's all the boys are doing at Noble Park, or Brighton le Sands!". No it's not, and you know it's not. These over-indulged yobbos are using their cars in the same way they use the spray can; they are marking their territory with noise and rubber, and the laws have been expanded and extended to stop them doing it. Thus, my liberties are eroded? HOW SO? I don't WANT to do what they do, and I don't DO what they do, so I am not in danger of drawing the attention of the Police, or being subject to the laws..... My liberties remain untouched. So what's my point? Liberties are not being eroded; laws are being framed and tightened in response to anti-social, dangerous, stupid and irresponsible people's behaviour. The everyday rider, you and me, is not effected by these laws because we're not breaking them. Simple, innit???