[Paleopsych] LRC: Brian Wilson: Non Nobis, Sed Aliis - or Else!
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Sun Apr 17 17:00:58 UTC 2005
Brian Wilson: Non Nobis, Sed Aliis - or Else!
Epiphany on I-95
Driving back into the oxymoronic "Free State" of Maryland recently, I
was struck with the first sign of altruistic tyranny. It had been
there for years. Indeed, I had commented on it frequently ridiculed
it, actually just not in this new-found context.
The unholy marriage of Altruism to Tyranny would produce a union not
unlike the late Samuel Francis idea of Anarcho-Tyranny - only nicer.
It comes in the exchange of the State telling you in velvet-lined
words to sacrifice your rights, freedom, individuality or else. Here
is an example:
Welcome to Maryland, the Free State
Please buckle your seat belt
We care about you
And its our law
The translation is Altruistic Tyranny:
We are soooo concerned about you,
do as we say or well slap you with a
huge fine and expensive points to your license.
"Seat belts save lives" is not a slogan to trifle with. Those annoying
statistics pretty much conclude lives are indeed saved and injuries
reduced when seat belts are fastened in a conscientiously applied
program of careful driving and regular use. There is, though, one
niggling number in those records thats bothersome. When the propaganda
touts "In 72% of all fatal accidents, the deceased were not wearing
seat belts," that strongly suggests the remaining 28% who died were
buckled up at the time in accordance with State law.
This raises a pertinent question: Would those so dearly departed be
with us today if they had civilly disobeyed the states Altruistic
Tyranny law and just sustained, say, "serious injury"? Unfortunately,
we will never know. We certainly cant expect any reputable agency to
offer even verifiable conjecture that might significantly contradict
the empirical wisdom of the State, now could we? Lets take a peek.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report on
highway fatalities and seat belt use for 2002 showed "48,250 people
died in traffic accidents. Of that number, 19,103 were not wearing
seat belts." Now imagine the effect of this PSA (Public Service
Announcement) played on the radio:
"According to the NHTSAs most recent statistics, 60% of highway
fatalities were people wearing their seat belts!
So buckle up, everybody! Even though seat belts might not save your
life, we still care about you - and well ticket you anyway if you
The NHTSA doesnt offer any figures citing how many of the 29,147 dead
seat belt wearers might be tooling around today had they not been
forced under penalty of law to buckle up - nor are there figures
showing how many of the 19,103 equally dead non-seat belt wearers may
have survived had they been wearing their seat belt, voluntarily or
not. NHTSA also doesnt number the number of people who are very alive
today specifically because they left their seat belt in the Off and
But the central issue is not whether "seat belts save lives."
Available statistics seem to indicate wearing one tends to increase
your chances for survival and, maybe, prevent sustaining a serious
injury. "Seat belts may save lives" is much more accurate but a lot
less motivating (or reassuring) than the current slogan. And it doesnt
play well into the Nanny State regulatory mind-set of the imperial
The same NHTSA report reveals the States condescension and parental
Convincing the American public to wear seat belts is a top priority
for former emergency room physician, Jeffrey Runge. Dr. Runge is
now the Administrator for the NHTSA. He is pushing for Congress to
give states incentives to pass bills that would make not wearing a
seat belt a primary offense. This means that a driver or passenger
can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt. The ticket would not
have to accompany another violation, such as a speeding ticket."
In an accompanying study by The Reliability Center, Inc, a Virginia
based consulting and training outfit, V.P. Robert Latino, Sr. fleshes
out the elitist perspective:
Wearing a seat belt these days is commonplace. Most of us feel
awkward when we do not wear seat belts today. However, there is
apparently still 25% of the driving population that feel they do
not need to wear safety belts and their conscious decision is
costing the rest of us billions of dollars per year. It would also
appear that we feel we as a country, need to further regulate in
order to enforce compliance to this common sense requirement.
Damn those 25%!
Personally, I dont "feel" anything about seat belts or "as a country."
I think as an individual and, as such, retain an inalienable freedom
to choose with the understanding and acceptance of the consequences
good or bad which will result from my decisions.
You may have surmised correctly I eschew seat belt use.
(I wont bore you with the gory details of being forced into a highway
barrier at 70+mph by a weaving 18-wheeler. Suffice to say, my car
split in half, did a 360, tossing your humble writer across the
highway into a ditch, landing with a neck broken in three places and
few other lacerations and contusions. Had I been wearing a seat belt,
this article wouldnt be nearly as entertaining since my half of the
car stopped quite suddenly, thanks to a conveniently located concrete
wall. The impact relocated the drivers seat to the trunk. Had I been
buckled in, I would have been a bright red stain on that wall and you
would be reading someone elses work in this space. Oh the offending
truck driver didnt bother stopping. Thats OK though - I didnt regain
consciousness for 6 weeks to express my undying gratitude.)
Maryland is among a growing number of states that now make failure to
don your seat belt a "primary offense," meaning cops can pull you over
and ticket you just for the heinous crime of driving around unbuckled.
Luckily, most of our Boys in Blue have better things to do but when
did "selective enforcement" become comforting?
In Feeling Your Pain, James Bovard reveals we can thank our
empathetic President, Bill Clinton who pumped adrenalin and our tax
dollars into willing bodies of police departments to make sure you and
our wee ones would come to no harm or else!
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) under Clinton awarded
tens of millions of dollars annually to local and state police
departments and highway patrols to set up roadblocks and fine all
violators of mandatory seatbelt laws. DOT s website warned that the
feds have "zero tolerance for unbuckled children." DOT gave bonus
awards to local and state agencies that inflict the most tickets
on citizens. The agency also suggested offering free hats,
T-shirts, and coffee mugs to "enthusiastic officers who are
personally committed to increasing seat belt and child safety seat
use" - i.e., who write the most tickets
Naturally, the children were the pretext for this expansion of
government power. A press release from the 1998 crackdown on
seatbelt violators proclaimed that the campaign "represents the
largest coordinated effort by law enforcement to protect children
in America's history." Apparently, nothing government has done in
the last two centuries is as benevolent as making parents pay $50
for unbuckled kids. Yet, while children are ritually invoked, the
vast majority of tickets are written to nail adults not wearing
A 1998 DOT report to Congress proclaimed that "highly visible
enforcement . . . is more effective because the perceived risk of
receiving a seat belt citation is increased, even if the actual
risk is only slightly higher." Thus, the federally funded roadblock
campaign is an exercise in mass deceit. The feds presume that
people are fools who must be continually frightened by government
agents or else they will all go plunging over a cliff to their
Recently, the Maryland legislature made it legal again for
motorcyclists to zip about, unfettered by a coif-destroying helmet.
When it comes to the possibility of sustaining serious bodily injury,
where would you rather be: wrapped inside any make of auto or
straddling a 500 cc engine protected only by Wranglers and a "If You
Can Read This, My Wife Fell Off"" t-shirt? One is left to conclude
that Maryland only "cares" about people already safely tucked inside a
car than those enjoying the occasional bumble bee in the teeth.
Motorcycle riders are free to make their own decisions about personal
safety despite their bodacious exposure. Hmmmmmaybe the repeal of the
helmet law was really retribution for all those years of noisy biker
rallies during legislative sessions demanding an unencumbered cranium.
Parents can also be on the receiving end of tickets, fines, even
serious pokey time for not cinching their under-age tax deduction in a
(state approved) industrial strength car seat which must then be
properly strapped (according to state instructions) in the properly
bolted (according to state specifications) back seat. This location is
only appropriate since so many children started life back there
anyway. The state supersedes parental responsibility without assuming
any of the burden should the little tyke make a premature exit from
this life as the result of severe Following Too Close and Moms
ewe-like obedience to the intrusive law. Curiously, States so
concerned about a kids scraped knee or more serious injury also
maintain abortion is legal and a matter of choice. Seat
beltshelmetscar seatsabortion - apparently not all choices are created
equal or left to individual purview.
When this subject rears its ugly head on the air, it invariably
elicits comments like: "The insurance claims you make for the injuries
you get from not wearing your seat belt make my premiums go up so its
just fine, fine, fine with me that cops can give idiots like you a
ticket for being so stupid." Just as invariably, I tend to reply: Some
insurance companies are refusing injury claims if the injured was not
wearing a seatbelt at the time said injuries were sustained. Since an
insurance policy is merely a contractual agreement to terms and limits
between the insurer and the insured, a company could make benefits
payable (or not) on any basis upon which both parties agrees. Dont
like the terms? Take your business to an insurance company that
recognizes your freedom to choose - as well as your right to be
stupid. Higher premiums, you say? Well thats the price you pay for
this corner of the free market. Now all you have to do is convince
your state representatives to change the law to get the cops off your
On that note, maybe some gutsy, clear-thinking legislator will take a
cue from this aspect of the Nanny State, demand repeal of the
Anarcho-Tyranny law and introduce the Legislators Responsibility Act.
It would work like this: since Congress and states are so quick to
pass these in loco parentis type laws, supposedly protecting us from
our terribly irresponsible selves, politicians who vote "Aye" will be
held personally and financially responsible for the "unintended
consequences" of any over-reaching statute. When anyone is killed
because, say, state-required seat belt use prevented them from
possibly being thrown free from their vehicle before it slammed into a
wall, possibly saving their life, all lawmakers who voted in favor of
the law would be held personally liable for significant financial
damages awarded to the survivors. Large minimums would be established.
No longer holding office would not absolve a former legislator from
his voting record. Similarly, governors and former governors would be
held responsible for signing the stupid bill into law in the first
place. Overridden vetoes would exonerate them and automatically double
the fine of the representatives who voted accordingly.
I wont be holding my breath, having already suggested this brilliant
idea to those (allegedly) representing me here in the "Free State."
None of these highly skilled elected officials has any intention of
introducing my proposed legislation. However, they did seem to like
the part about my car slamming into the wall.
March 10, 2005
Brian Wilson [send him mail] is a talk show host, author and
speaker. He's heard on better talk radio stations across the country
through his Vacation Relief Service and most recently vented his
libertarian views on KSFO/San Francisco.
10. mailto:bmw at mindspring.com
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