Skip to comments.Seat Belt Laws Save Lives, Kill Liberties
Posted on 01/27/2003 12:21:52 PM PST by shortstop
What do you think of seatbelt laws?
Are they a good idea, or a bad idea?
You know the ones I mean. They vary from state to state, but theyre basically alike. If youre driving a car, and you dont have a seat belt on, you can get a ticket.
Sometimes its just the driver, sometimes its everyone in the car.
Youve heard the sob stories. They roll out some state trooper, or a paramedic, and have him tell you a heartbreaking story about how many accident scenes hes been to, and how it breaks his heart to see the carnage, and how seatbelts are the only hope we have.
And we see how much the state loves us, passing laws to protect us, shielding us from our own stupidity.
And were grateful.
We see seatbelt laws as a sign of social progress, as proof were an enlightened society.
But are we right?
Are seatbelt laws a good idea?
The answer to that, surprisingly, has nothing to do with seatbelts.
Because theres no question about that. If you dont use a seatbelt, you are an idiot. The benefit and protection that come from seatbelts cannot be denied.
Buckle your seatbelt. Dont start the car until you have, and until everyone else has as well.
But thats not the point.
Seatbelt laws arent about seatbelts, they are about freedom. And the role of government.
The question isnt, Should you wear a seatbelt? It is, Can government force you to wear a seatbelt?
And, in spite of what the state legislatures have done, the answer to the second question, in America, is clear. The answer is, No.
We are a free people. Our government, as envisioned in our founding documents, is small and weak. It is not meant to make every decision or to legislate in every area. It is not meant to run our lives.
And yet we have come to let it.
Piece by piece, inch by inch, American freedom has dwindled and dwindled.
We are the victims of tyranny in the name of compassion.
Slavery in the guise of protection.
Each benefit of government has come at the cost of a corresponding liberty.
We are safer, but we are less free.
And we have been robbed.
Because freedom is better than safety. Liberty more important than life, and self-reliance of greater worth than governmental paternalism.
We are a nation built on the belief that all power resides with the people. Government can only exercise the power it has been granted by the people. In America, the power of government was meant to be severely limited. In America, the government is to be the servant, not the master. In America, people are believed to be the best off when they are the most free, when they run their own lives and make their own decisions.
But our government treats us like children. It takes our liberty from us with hardly a second thought. It expands its power over us without restraint. It mandates by force of law in matters that are and should be entirely personal and private.
Sure, the government says it is acting for our best good.
But, shouldnt we decide as free individuals what is in our best good?
Doesnt governments desire to protect us from harm unavoidably separate us from God-given liberty?
Of course it does.
And yet we have taken it like sheep.
We have thanked and re-elected those legislators who have orchestrated our bondage. We have cooperated with the squandering of our national birthright. What others fought and died for, we have flushed down the toilet. Because we havent been smart enough to remember what this country is all about.
And every policy or decision of the government must pass a simple test: Does it diminish our individual liberty?
If it does, it must not be allowed. If it does, it is inherently unconstitutional. If it does, it is dangerously and unacceptably un-American.
We must be able to distinguish between what counts and what does not. We must not be confused by irrelevance. Like those sob stories the cops and insurance people tell about seatbelts.
They are beside the point.
Seatbelt laws arent about seatbelts.
They are about law, and the proper role of law.
And whether or not you wear a seatbelt is your business. It is not the governments business. You are free to be stupid, and the government has no right to outlaw stupidity.
Seatbelt laws are velvet chains. Were told they are for our own good, but they are nothing more than government oppression. They are Big Brother pretending to be our mommy.
And one more example of how we have come to accept what earlier generations of Americans would have fought to the death to resist.
But the point is they can require you to wear a seat belt if in our representational form of government our elected officials have passed a law so stating. Geesh! Libertarians get so bent-out-of-shape over such silly laws. Just buckle up and try to have a nice day.
When we socialize medicine so that the taxpayer picks up the tab if the insurer won't pay, the public has a claim on regulating risky behavior. We have thus ceded the freedom to do as we please becuause it is no longer possible to account for risk.
That problem is entirely due to socialistic health care, and has nothing to do with seatbelt use.
And yet, you defend the seatbelt law while not attacking the underlying socialism that causes costs to be shifted to you.
Curious, and telling.
We all know that with freedom comes responsiblility. The idea behind socialism is that once you are not responsible for your own actions, others are. And those others are going to take your freedom in exchange.
And you bought their scam, hook like and sinker.
Interesting choice of words. Ever notice how the word "community" forms the core of the word "communism?"
Be your own wet nurse if you like; I think I'll pass. Realize at the same time your loss of freedom allows your benevolent auto insurance company to beat the odds (debateably) and still charge confiscatory rates.
Really? Unless we're discussing one's very own private road, then the State may and must set limits and conditions upon the use of roads.
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