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Summer 2002
The Contrarian
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Thinker, writer, social critic, computer techie, Internet hotshot: Law Professor Eugene Volokh defies easy classification

Eugene VolokhBy Catherine Seipp '78
Photography By Jilly Wendell

UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh was racing through a light that had just turned red one morning when he noticed something: The intersection had one of those cameras that catch traffic scofflaws in the act. Most people might have been annoyed at the thought of getting a ticket; most libertarians, and Volokh '83, J.D. '92 is one, would probably also find the incident a creepy object lesson in Big Brotherism. But more than anything, Volokh is a contrarian, which in his case means less that he enjoys going against the grain than that he can't help seeing the unexamined facets of issues more conventional thinkers overlook.

Musing about the incident as he sped along, he began forming in his mind an op-ed piece — it appeared a couple of weeks later in The Wall Street Journal — about how enforcing traffic laws via cameras actually frees citizens from unpleasant government interference.


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