I break the law everyday…

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I have become a routine law-breaker.

Today, for example, I passed three cars – even though it was a “double yellow” zone.

I almost always drive 10-20 mph faster than the posted speed limit.

There is a red light at an intersection that often only cycles green for a left turn once every other cycle. If no one’s coming, I run the light.

I never wear my seatbelt – on principle.

I use a radar detector, even though they’re hugely illegal in my state.

Am I a bad driver? Or are the laws I break stupid and worth ignoring when you can get away with it?

First, a “point of order.” The last time I wrecked a car was in 1987. No one else was involved. I ran off the road and hit a tree. I was 21 years old.

I’m 44 now and haven’t scuffed anything since then.


So either I’m really lucky or I must be at least a reasonably good driver. Right? The car companies trust me with brand-new vehicles, many of them high dollar, some exotic – Jaguars, Porsches, the works.  My car insurance is low. I have “plus” points on my license. My last traffic ticket was about three years ago.

So now let’s look at my crimes – and then you tell me:

* Passing on the double yellow –

I do this almost every day because, for one, there are almost no legal passing zones left anymore. They’ve painted ’em over. Even straight stretches with excellent visibility. They’re double yellow, too. So, the choice is, obey the letter of the law – even when you roll up behind a past-it old febe hurtling along at the breakneck speed of 42 mph in a 55 zone (slowing for the curves). Or you ignore the damn law and when you’ve got a clear shot, you pass the old fart.

I am endlessly amazed at how supine – how passive and helpless and indecisive and fearful – most people are. No matter how slow the car in the lead is, most of the cattle out there won’t pass if it’s a double yellow. ‘Cause that would be illegal.

I say to Hell with that. If the way’s clear and there’s no cop in sight, I will pass the slow poke every time – and feel good doing it. Am I wrong? Sociopathic?

Or just not properly conditioned?

* “Speeding” –

I do it all the time. So do you, probably. Everyone does, just about. What does this fact tell us? Is the law stupid? Or are those who obey it stupid? And what about the people who enforce it, if the latter?

Yet we all – or rather, most of us – pretend the speed limit is divine writ. When pulled over by a cop we never say, “Officer, I was traveling at a reasonable and safe speed, along with the flow of traffic. The posted limit is set absurdly low and everyone ignores it, including you. You know it and I know it and everyone else knows it, too – so how about letting me go about my business?” Instead, it’s “Oh, I’m so sorry officer. I didn’t realize how fast I was going. I’m very sorry and promise never to do it again.”

Make you want to puke, too?

* “Running” red lights –

Have you ever found yourself sitting at a red light when there’s clearly no traffic around? Or waiting on a green arrow to go left or right, even though you can see there’s no oncoming traffic – and so, no reason (other than it being illegal) to make your turn?

Well, I do something Americans seem increasingly unable to do. Two things, actually. First, I exercise my own good judgment. If I can see there are no cars coming (and if there are no cops around) I will make a right on red (or left on red), the law be damned. Second, I just refuse to be bound by least-common-denominator edicts that are based on the idea we’re all complete idiots and inept drivers incapable of determining for ourselves when it’s safe to turn without a little green light to show us the way .

* Seatbelts –

The only person who has any business telling anyone else to buckle up is the owner of the car, the parent of a child – or one’s spouse. It’s the owner’s car, so he set the rules; if it’s your parent or your spouse, they have the moral right to nag about things that are good for you. But the government? It has no more right to demand you buckle up than it does insisting that you eat your veggies or stop smoking or go to the gym and lose that 15 pounds around your middle. Government has one morally legitimate function and that is to keep each of us from harming each other – either physically or via fraud. Period. Reforming our souls or making us “good” or “safe” or “healthy” – well, that’s none of their god-damned business.

This is why I don’t buckle up and never will buckle up – just to spite the bastards. Unless I’m in someone else’s car or my wife makes me do it.

* Radar detector –

The government plays dirty, so why shouldn’t I? It deliberately creates radar traps by posting too-low speed limits it knows people will ignore, then hides cops in bushes with radar guns, expecting us to play along. And pay up.

To Hell with that, too.

Just as I would ignore a law that deprived me of the right to possess a handgun for my own defense and the defense of my home/family, so also will I continue to ignore laws that would deny me at least an even shake when it comes to evading the depredations of county and state “law enforcement” – whose real job is revenue collection.

And for all you pedantic “it’s the law!” sticklers out there, riddle me this: How come it’s ok for my state to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling that state laws forbidding the possession and use of radar detectors are unconstitutional – but it’s not ok for me to ignore my state’s refusal to abide by the Supreme Court’s ruling?

Isn’t it “the law”? Well?

So, now you know my evildoer ways. Am I in the wrong? Or am I fighting the good fight, doing what any American of an earlier time would have done as a matter of course?

Throw it in the Woods?


  1. I moved from California to Florida a few years ago, and things are a little different out here. The first thing I noticed is that there are a lot of old farts driving around 10 to 20 miles under the posted speed limits. They are quite easy to go around because they are practically parked on the roads around. The other thing I noticed is that when you get out onto the freeways there are a lot of people moving quite slow in the slow lanes, but there are also people moving so fast in the fast lanes it makes your head spin. People are routinely doing at least 20 over and many are going 30 or more over the 70 mph speed limit. It’s quite easy to see where the troopers are hiding because EVERYONE slows down when they see the brake lights lighting up ahead of them. When the traffic begins to disappear ahead of you, everyone speeds back up to 90 or 100.

  2. Being a Freedom Outlaw. Claire Wolfe.

    If you’ve been hanging out in my vicinity for a few years, you probably know what I mean by it. If not, you might be puzzled or even offended by the notion that people who believe in freedom are (or should be) criminals. Thought I’d stop this morning and define some terms.

    A Freedom Outlaw is (loosely) somebody who cares so much about freedom that he or she will go after it regardless of any laws or regulations blocking the way. Will go after it personally. Not petition for it. Not write letters for it. Not vote for it. But GO for it.

    Also, a Freedom Outlaw has panache. Think Ferris Bueller. Think Robin Hood. Think Ragnar Danneskjold or John Galt. Think V.

    Does a Freedom Outlaw really have to be a criminal? Well … yes and no. If the thought of being a criminal offends you, I can only say, “Get over it.” As Kent McManigal states so well, every, single one of us is already a criminal. We violate obscure laws from the time we open our eyes in the morning till the moment we fall exhausted into bed. Three Felonies a Day according to Harvey Silverglate. And the more innocent we are in our hearts when we commit those “crimes,” the riper we are for the plucking by corrupt prosecutors and regulators.

    Heck, we probably violate laws, federal or state, even as we snooze. Maybe our PJs flout fireproofing regulations. Perhaps our snoring is regulated somewhere as noise pollution. Maybe our dreams are filled with acts of subversion.

    But the simple fact is that we are already criminals, each and every one of us, even if we do our utmost to be “law-abiding citizens.”

    There are simply too many laws to abide.

    So we might as well embrace and enjoy what we are.

    “Outlaw” isn’t an exact synonym for “criminal,” though. Historically, an outlaw was a person placed outside the protection of the law — fair game, in other words. Well, we are not fair game if we’re armed, both physically and mentally. But increasingly, the best people of the world are indeed “outside the protection of the law.” The law, such as it is, exists to fleece, silence, intimidate, and control us — not to protect us.

    We’re there. So again, we might as well embrace and enjoy our status.

    And that is what a Freedom Outlaw is and does.

    I was tempted to call this scrap of prose a Freedom Outlaw’s credo. Or manifesto. But as soon as the thought entered my head, I realized that any true Freedom Outlaw would rip up anybody else’s attempted manifesto — would fire an arrow or slash his sword or put a 230-grain bullet through anyone’s proclaimed credo. Or maybe just step on the thing and ignore it as he strode boldly by. Because whatever else they are, Freedom Outlaws are all different from one another. Nobody can speak for an Outlaw but the Outlaw.

    In the past, when proclaiming the Grand Freedom Outlaw Cabal (which I can do because unlike a credo or manifesto, it doesn’t require anybody else’s buy-in; feel free to be a Cabal-of-One, as I am), I’ve sketched out three types of Freedom Outlaw: the Ghost; the Agitator; and the Mole.

    The Ghost slides through the world with minimal visibility. He may live without “official papers” and do all that implies — living outside of databases, credit reports, and forms-in-triplicate. The Ghost lives on the margins, in the spaces where “good little citizens” don’t go.

    The Agitator … well, he makes noise. But not just the polite noise of letters to the editor or participation in rallies. The Agitator may be a trickster. Or a monkeywrencher. Or a leader of factions. Or a Julian Heicklen-style crusader. But in any case, he’s someone who puts his (or her, of course) own life and health on the line to commit direct action for freedom.

    The Mole lives an exemplary life, obeying all possible laws, filing taxes, crossing the street only in crosswalks, holding a respectable job (maybe even a government job) … but on the side and in silence gives help to freedom causes and freedomistas. Or saves herself up for the day when a single act of sabotage or whistleblowing can bring down an enemy of liberty.

    Very few people are all one kind of Outlaw. Nobody can or should be squeezed into any one category. The categories are just there to be used if you find them useful.

    But since they’re there … To those three (highly flexible, mutable, and very non-exclusive) types of Outlaw, I’m now, a bit reluctantly adding a fourth:

    The Cockapoo. That’s a type I’ve hinted at from my first books. But it’s a last choice — a choice of the tired, beaten, and all-but-defeated. But these strange days, an increasing number of us are tired, beaten, and darned-close-to-defeated. So … when no choice is left to you, when all else has failed, become a Cockapoo. Accept every scrap of “aid” offered by the benevolent but all-consuming state. Be useless. Become the government’s pet — and contribute in your own small, but purposeful, way to sucking it dry.

    Don’t tell me about it if you don’t like that — or any other — form of Freedom Outlaw. Just go your own way and be your own kind of Outlaw. Nobody is stopping you except YOU.

    But know what you’re doing. And do it with style. And don’t kid yourself that you’re a Freedom Outlaw if you’re actually just going along to get along and you never actually take meaningful, real-world steps to become more free.

    We all break laws all the time. We can do it in a vile, truly criminal way by committing acts that are mala in se. Or we can — and do, every day — commit acts of mala prohibita. (Thank you, T., for the reminder.)

    We can commit mala prohibita with furtive, creepy, ordinary criminal intent. Or with ignorant innocence, as millions of our stumbling fellow citizens do all the time. Or we can do it with “creative disregard” for the silliness or cruelty of bad laws. We can do it with insouciance, verve, boldness — knowing full well what we do and embracing what we have become in the process — former citizens now “outside the protection of the law.” Above all, we can live with purpose, furthering freedom in our own lives and with our own lives, by our refusal to cower and mindlessly obey.

    Freedom Outlaw. It’s not what you do; it’s how you do it. It’s an attitude — from which actions always follow. It’s a do-it-yourself occupation. And a lifetime vocation.

  3. “I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.” – Robert Heinlein

  4. Thanks for the idea. You should be wearing a helmit when driving a car. You people don’t know how to take care of yourselves, so we in the progressive know, will….

  5. Well these are all driving offences. I am not going to ask you which other laws you ignore but I will assume they are many.

    Did you say the leu?
    The “leu”?
    Yes, the leu.
    What is the “leu”?
    The leu is that you can’t have a minkey without a leeconse.
    A “leeconse”?
    Yes, a leeconse.
    What is a “leeconse”?
    The leu says you must have a leeconse for your minkey.
    My “minkey”?
    Yes, it is against the leu to beg with your minkey.

  6. Do you think it ought to be a ticketable offense to fail to exercise? To not eat right? Those things increase your risk of disease and death (and by the way, much more directly than not wearing a seatbelt). The point isn’t whether seat belts “save lives.” It’s whether the government should be involved in dictating to you about personal choices that don’t directly threaten anyone else. I don’t wear my seat belt – but I do hit the gym and work out like a fiend every day and run several miles multiple times a week – all of which is very good for me. Should I be able to force you to do the same? Should it be illegal to be a few pounds heavy? To smoke? To eat bacon?

    It’s “unsafe” and “not good for you,” after all…

    It comes down to the kind of society we want – one in which you, as an individual, are free to live your life as you see fit (until you do something that actually threatens to harm another person). Or one in which others may force you to do as they see fit, according to their perception of what’s sensible.

  7. You said you are against seat belt laws but the fact is those laws have saved thousands of lives. People always say it is not going to be me in a serious accident so I do not need to wear a seatbelt. If you get killed in an accident because you did not wear your seatbelt what would your family say? Would they say it is ok that he died because he was exercising his rights to the end of his short life? I do not know if you have kids or not but do you let them do whatever they like no matter if it is dangerous because they have their rights? There are thousands of families out there that would have liked it that if their dead family member had been wearing a seatbelt. Rember, accidents do not always happen to the other guy no matter how well you think you can drive.

    • I am an almost fanatical wearer of seat belts; but truly, every time I see a “Click-it-or-Ticket” sign in my home state of TX with that obnoxiously aviator-sunglassed storm-trooper scowling at me I wish I could overcome the habit and just take the thing off. I have read the arguments used in TX to pass the law and it was page after page of analysis on the revenue they would generate with barely a nod to the idea of saving lives. You asked if Eric lets his KIDS DO WHATEVER THEY LIKE no matter if it is dangerous. I have three kids and no, I do not. But guess what? I gave birth to them. They are my wards until they can feed, house, and clothe themselves. The State did not give me life and I moved out of my parents’ home 2 decades ago. My mother can gripe at me to be safe. She earned that right. The state has not and to compare them to parents leaves the adult tax-payers in the role of infantilized wards of the state; even simply property to protect as they see fit and exploit as they deem suitable or expedient.

      Never mistake the state for a parent unless you have in mind the gambling-and-crack-addicted whore sort whose only motivation for keeping her child alive is the welfare stipend it represents.

      • I know this is an old article, but I’ve wanted to comment for a while. I’ve worn my seat belt ever since I started driving in July this year. I do so not because of the law, but because I know racers do it.
        However, I have taken to not wearing my belt at night, since its near impossible to see through a darkened windshield.

    • Gee whiz Clover! You cry over someone not wearing a seatbelt yet you appear to have no problem with someone doing bungee or skydiving where the apparatus could fail or they could just refuse to pull the rip cord altogether. Just leave us the fuck alone you mindless bureaucrat-wannabe!

      • Clover can’t stop! He’s wired backwards and that will never change. I believe the greatest danger to most humans is people like clover that can’t/are not capable of minding their own fucking business. I believe this has killed more humans than any unbuckled seat belt ever could.

        • “I believe this has killed more humans than any unbuckled seat belt ever could.”

          Absolutely – provably so.

          Genocide, mass murder – always done in the name of some collective “greater good.”

          Stalin, Hitler – The Chimp – now Barry. Killing on a mass scale.

          If the individual has rights – and these rights are respected – it is almost impossible for such mayhem to take place.

          Clover is powerful only within the context of the collective.

          • The only reason I wear a seatbelt is that it pins me to the seat and allows me to control the car far better when I do high-G turns and braking – which I always tend to do.

            Notably, this habit of driving hard and fast keeps my reflexes sharp and, most often such maneuvres are required when attempting to avoid a clover doing simply idiotic things.

            Much wailing and gnashing of teeth will emanate from clover due to my driving habits causing him/her to wrongly assume I am at or pose a greater risk of a crash. However, with never a crash under my belt since 17 and now at 44 I wonder how clover would actually define “risk”?

            P.S clover, I refuse to wear my seatbelt on my CBR1000. Now define THAT risk to us please..

          • Clover is powerful only within the context of the collective.

            Many examples of this in the universe.
            I can snap one twig with ease.

            Despite the fact that I can easily snap a single twig, I am unable to snap 10-15 twigs when they are held together.
            Gravity is the weakest of the 4 known forces. Yet as mass increases, gravity eventually becomes the strongest force in the universe. A black hole is an example of the strength of gravity.
            A caribou can easily overpower a single wolf. When a pack of wolves work together they can take down even the strongest of caribou.

    • Dear clover,

      You said you are against seat belt laws but the fact is those laws have saved thousands of lives.

      You just don’t get it, do you?

      “Those laws” you talk about are examples of brute force physical coercion in the name of doing good.

      Brute force physical coercion in the name of doing good, is the most dangerous thing in the world. It is a million times more dangerous than a loaded pistol in the hands of Adam Lanza.

      Brute force physical coercion in the name of doing good, led to the deaths of 45 million Chinese during the Cultural Revolution alone.

      These millions of deaths would not have been possible without brute force physical coercion in the name of doing good, in violation of the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP).

      And you want to lecture champions of individual sovereignty about “the children” and “saving lives!!!???”

      Ideas have consequences. Bad ideas have very bad consequences.

      Connect the dots. Assuming you have the mental wherewithal to do so.

      • Clover is an imbecile – beyond rational reach. I do not say this lightly.

        I have tried – mightily – to sway him with appeals to reason. He cannot be swayed. Because he is incapable of thought.

        Even the following extremely simple and (should be) obvious logical argument is beyond his ken:

        Clover states that “seatbelts have saved thousands of lives” and this, therefore, justifies mandatory buckle-up laws. That is, threatening people with violence if they fail to comply with mandatory buckle-up laws.

        I ask Clover in reply whether he also believes laws ought to be passed forcing people to exercise, eat an ideal diet and maintain an ideal body weight – which would “save even more lives.” Taken to its logical conclusion, “we” should have mandatory physical jerks/runs every morning, as in 1984. Also, our diets must be supervised – and we must be forced (at gunpoint) to submit to regular check-ups at which doctors will evaluate our physical condition. After all, it would “save thousands of lives.”

        Clover is incapable of grasping the sameness of these things – the necessary, inevitable expansion of a principle (and precedent) once accepted.

        Because Clover is an ethical-intellectual imbecile.

  8. It is nice that you break all those laws and are still alive. Your chances of hurting yourself or others are far higher breaking your laws but that is your choice. You say it is fine to not have insurance but you said yourself that you totalled a car and only hit a tree. What would have happened if you hit a car with a family instead? The problem with people like you that break all laws then you have a society like the drivers in India where there is a death in every 3 to 4 seconds on the roadway and they pass on blind curves all the time and run red lights. They also die in a far higher percentage. You should have been watching the world deadliest roads that was on the history channel. The drivers drive just like you do.

    • “Wrecked” is not necessarily totaled and it doesn’t help your cause to put words into someone’s mouth.

      Justifying the confiscation of property (i.e. through a fine) or the removal of one’s liberty (i.e. imprisonment, community service) based upon their activities being statistically more likely to cause harm to another (an allegation I in no way accept based upon your unscientific anecdotal ‘evidence’) is essentially punishing a proclivity toward endangerment and NOT the act of causing harm. Philosophically, the argument to outlaw speeding, DUI, unlicensed operation of a vehicle, recreational drug use, etc. is no different than punishing someone for being a member of a race statistically more inclined to violence. Or imagine a scenario (probably not far in our future) when genetics can isolate gene sequences found to be statistically more prevalent in individuals who commit violent crime. What argument can you raise against forcible genetic mapping in utero and compelled abortion of unborn individuals displaying this ‘dangerous’ DNA cocktail?

      If you have accepted the premise that safety (as predicted by those statistics approved by the powers that be) is paramount – surpassing even the right to liberty of those who have committed no harm but the numbers say are more LIKELY to commit harm – there is no logically consistent objection to such a world.

  9. “roll up behind a past-it old febe”
    I’m 59 and I’ll keep that in mind next time I’m on my Z1000 or supercharged S-10 crawling behind some with-it snot nose twitting or farcebooking behind the wheel.

    • Well, obviously I didn’t mean you! (Plenty of young febes out there, too.)

      Nice bike, by the way. I almost bought one of those. I still have a ZRX1200 and a hopped-up ’76 Kz900 (1015 now).

      Glad to find another Kaw fan out there –

  10. An increasing number of personal choices are becoming illegal. There is so much legislation out there that probably almost everyone breaks the law each day. I imagine many of the people going the posted speed limit and refusing to pass slower motorists are probably trying to avoid the police because of their own personal choices that are illegal like drug posession or having a gun, or just because the fine for those simple violations is usually over $100.

    I expect the “safety” regulations to be ratcheted up. I predict that it will be mandatory to wear helmets in an automobile within 50 years. Since head injuries are so expensive to treat, and with the government soon to be carrying everyone’s health insurance, the rationale will be that to keep medical care costs down everyone has to be protected. First it will just be kids but then everybody.

    Also high risk activities, like riding a motorcycle will be made illegal. This will happen as soon as the people who came of age in the 1960’s-70’s pass on. Most kids today are terrified of motorcycles having been raised by helicopter mothers that hover about making sure precious doesn’t get hurt. To them riding a motorcycle is like playing Russion roulette, and with all of the morons, illegals, and ancients on the road, it almost is!

    • There’s a great book about just that; I think it’s called “Three Felonies a Day.”

      It’s an ingenious system because it gives police a pretext to pull over/harass/search almost anyone, anytime. In the old America – you know, back in the 1980s and before – cops had to work harder to pester you. There were no dragnet “sobriety checkpoints” and you pretty much had to be doing something noticeably illegal before the cop could pull you over. That’s all been thrown out the window.

      It began to get bad under Clintigula, but it hit warp speed under The Chimp – and I will never forgive the Republicans and “conservatives” who supported that despicable little cretin for it.


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