What Race Tracks Can Teach Us About Government Roads

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Thoreau said, strike at the root. Ok. Here goes:  If roads were not government-owned all the abuses currently perpetrated by the state upon harming-no-one motorists would disappear.

For instance:

One of the excuses given in support of our dumbed-down traffic laws is that it’s necessary to accommodate . . . dumbed-down drivers. Speed limits and no-passing zones and no right on red, ever (even in the middle of the night when even Stevie Wonder could see there’s no opposing traffic coming)  are all based on the idea that because some people – duly licensed – can’t safely do them then no one may legally do them, irrespective of whether they can do these things safely. (In court, it is irrelevant whether what you did was “safe” or not. The only consideration is whether you violated the law.)

I once wasted an entire Saturday attending one of those hairshirt “traffic school” things the judge will sometimes assign in lieu of a moving violation, in the way of “giving you a break.” (You still pay a huge fine, of course – but you get to avoid the points on your DMV record and thus the more enduring insurance screwing.) Anyhow, I listened as the “instructor” (a cop!) told us that “one day we’ll all be old” and that’s why we should sit patiently behind the addled geezer doing 37 in a 55 and under no circumstances pass him, unless there is a legal passing zone.

Of which there are increasingly few – because of addled geezers (and others) who can’t handle the responsibility.

If the roads were privately owned, the addled and inept could be told – nicely and politely: We’re very sorry but you’re not quite up to operating a vehicle safely on this road. You will have to make other arrangements. We know of an excellent driver-training program. Here is their phone number.


This is not such a strange idea when you stop to think about it a little. I sometimes do track days – driving a car or riding  a motorcycle on a race track. The track is privately owned. The owners (or the people renting the venue for the day) can pluck people off the road or deny them admittance if they deem them not up to snuff to driving/riding on the track.

It’s called red flagging.

If government owned the race track, the reverse would happen. The capable drivers and riders would be forced to accommodate the inept ones – and penalized if they didn’t – irrespective of their competence. They would get “red flagged” – in the form of fines and so on, as happens every day on roads and highways all over the country. This is the system we have. And it’s why we have the hassles and idiocy we have. The routine penalizing and throttling of people who haven’t done anything other than run afoul of some edict set forth to accommodate the inept. Think about the inherent meanness of velocity violations (i.e., “speeding”). It is the very essence of an arbitrary offense and victimless crime. Or right on red. You’re issued a ticket for no other reason than that you decided not to defer to the mindless judgment of an electrically illuminated filament as opposed to the judgment of your own brain and the data fed to it by your perfectly functioning eyes. But because there are people who cannot see well – or whose judgment is impaired – you will be punished for exercising yours.


Privately owned roads strike at the root of this problem. In the race track example, the owners have the right to limit access to their venue based on their criteria because they own the facility. Usually, the drivers/riders pay a fee to use the facility; however – and this is crucial – no one is forced to pay to use the facility. It is a voluntary transaction – for both parties, who each accept the terms of the transaction without any coercion having been applied. This (again) is the antipodal opposite of the way government-owned roads operate.

Government forces everyone to pay taxes for the building/maintaining/policing of its roads. You are not free to decline the transaction. It’s true you can avoid paying the taxes levied on motor fuels – to an extent – by not driving or owning a car. However, the taxes are paid by others (such as the truck drivers who bring your food to the store) and they pass these taxes on to you in the form of higher costs. And you cannot avoid paying the income, property and sales taxes levied on everyone (other than the income and asset-less) from which a goodly portion goes to fund such things as radar-wielding cops as well as eminent-domain proceedings by the government to seize people’s land in order to make room for government’s roads.

Thus, everyone has a legitimate claim – at least morally if not necessarily legally – to use government roads they were forced to help finance. This includes the addled and inept – who demand, among other things, that “speeders” be reigned in so they can operate at the snail’s pace that’s comfortable for them. And because literally everyone has access by entitlement to the roads that government built, the government regulates its roads to accommodate the least common denominator – exactly in the same way (and for the same reasons) that government schools don’t focus on the bright and motivated kids but instead shackle the bright and motivated kids to the dullest, most disruptive and least motivated kids on campus.

If the roads were not paid for by everyone, then everyone would not have a claim to use them. Service  could be refused – and while the individual refused service might be upset or embarrassed, he would have no right to feel aggrieved. Nothing had been taken from him, properly speaking. Someone else had merely declined to provide him with something – a qualitatively different thing.  I am not victimized if you decide not to sell me something. No one would (well, hopefully most people would not) consider my declining to rent you access to my racetrack an infringement of your rights. I took no money from you. I therefore owe you nothing. You are free to acquire the necessary competence and come back another time – or even to go build your own track and make your own rules, as you deem appropriate. What you are not free to do – or should not be free to do – is point a gun at my head and tell me I must let you on my track and by the way, all those other drivers had better slow down because I think they are not driving safely.

Would there be problems with privately-owned roads? Of course. Nothing made by human hands will likely ever be free of imperfection. But at least, roads under private control could not force people to pay for them and then force them to abide by rules intended to accommodate idiots and punish them for ignoring such rules. You’d be just as free to decline to pay for the “service” as the owners would be free to set terms and conditions of use.

And that’d be a damn sight better than being forced at gunpoint to help finance government roads – and then forced at gunpoint to drive at the level of the LCD.

 Throw it in the Woods?    


  1. Eric, What would happen under current mindset is that you would build a racetrack or road the government would come in under permit process and tell you how it must be constructed and how many handicapped parking spaces you will have to build at your expense and then how you must serve you customers. No one could be excluded and if you did you would have violated their civil rights. No thought about yours or your investment. That’s the way it is and only a revolution will change it.

    • Those who have made crimes of things not criminal should be made to pay for the crime of having done so.

      It’s time to apply the Nuremberg Precedent.


      • Like this.

        New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.


        The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

            • Yep, but sadly, we’re in for more of this. The “safety” meme has permeated this culture – and trumps everything. Just wait until ObamaCare comes into full flower…

              It’s not “safe” to eat certain foods… or do certain things… or believe certain things… all of which imposes costs on society and so affects health care and thus interstate commerce and therefore is a matter of public (government) concern. Enforceable at gunpoint, too.

        • Cigarettes are $8.50-$14 a pack in manahattan. This action caused the onesies and twosies… did ya’ll read about that? Bootleggers” drive up with cartons from Virginia and sell the cigs in NYC outside office buildings, one or two at a time. As usual, the extra tax will lead to less tax rev, no change in behaivor.

          • Google: Wendell Gauthier

            Two Rolls Royces and other expensive cars weren’t enough for the slimebag lawyer so he initiated a successful lawsuit against the tobacco companies with the net result that prices rose outrageously.

            The greedy scumbag died soon after winning, making me concede that God might exist after all. If so, may he and his kind burn in hell.

            The suit money was supposed to be applied to treatment of tobacco related illnesses but I suspect that the government swine found other uses for it.

    • I hate it when cripples come out and embarrass the rest of us with their weakness. I mean, stay at home for god’s sake, it’s weird seeing them troll around in their wheelchairs.


      And they take up the best spots; except they’re never in them (sensibly staying at home I suppose)…but I still can’t park there; driving me to park in B.F.E. to find a ding-free spot. Spots taken up by empty cripple-parking.

      And the places they put them! In front of the gym?? Really? Or the hardware store? Honestly, how many handy-man cripples are there–and do they all go to the same hardware store on the same day, all five of them in the greater Houston metropolitan area?

      Infirmity makes me uncomfortable. Why should I be forced to subsidize accommodations that make me more likely to be exposed to it?

      • BTW this was written somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
        I suspect many disabled people–at least those not soaked in statism–resent the coddling and would like to be left alone, much like I would.

        • I could easily acquire a handicapped sticker but I won’t. And even were I confined to a wheelchair I would not.

          I wouldn’t be surprised if most Geezers in their seventies could get a handicapped sticker.

          Tinsley Grey Sammons (1936 –)

  2. Isn’t there still the German Autobahn? And isn’t it famous for its high speeds and low speed-caused accident rate? My understanding was that there is a slow lane for slow people, who generally don’t venture out into the higher-velocity lanes for fear of their lives. Works for both the LCD and the high-flyers.

    I remember reading a couple of years or so ago about a pilot program in the Netherlands (or was it Denmark? Sorry) where they removed all traffic signage and speed limits. The accident rate plummeted dramatically, and they were planning to implement this policy nationwide. I can’t look it up right now — just fleeting through here.

    And as another poster commented, Dr. Walter Block has written a book about the issue of private roads, plus written several articles addressing more issues relevant to it.

    It’s just not true that private road ownership can’t work. The fly in the ointment is government. Remove government, and people have to deal with each other directly. No one can force anyone to sell you anything, and no one is obligated to. He who shoulders the burdens of building and maintaining the roads makes the rules.

    Just like at private race tracks.

    Without an over-arching government, there would be no traffic cops unless the owner of the road privately employed them. If they were too intent on increasing revenue, people would avoid using that particular road, the owner would lose money, and the traffic police would either be let go or there strictly to monitor for accident response. As it should be.

    Easiest, most direct way to get government out of the picture is to abolish taxes. It is taxes that pays for government. Starve the beast.

    In a free society, no one could impose taxes and monopoly force on anyone else. As it should be.

    Great post, Eric!

    • What I was trying to get at when I talked about my late 90’s experience with the New Jersey Parkway was that private roads seem to have adopted the rules used on public roads.

      Here’s my guess; a private company probably needs to carry liability insurance. So a private company that steps outside the established norm for speed limits opens itself up to private litigation. Since they allowed drivers to travel at 110 mph, when said driver piles into a clover doing 55 who wandered into the passing lane to get by another clover doing 54.5, and spends 20 minutes slowly inching his way past his intellectual brother, the road owner (who has very deep pockets) gets sued.

      You and I both know the fault in ths scenario is with the driver doing 110 who was either unaware of the clover, or was unable to check his speed before impact. It has nothing to do with the owner of the road. But our legal system will go after the owner, who likely has far more money that the poor idiot that was over driving his brakes or headlights. That’s the real problem, our legal system places the blame on whoever has the most money instead of trying to prosecute the individual responsible for the damage. Why? Because lawyers take a percentage of the winnings so they can be counted on to *always* go after the party with the most money regardless of responsibility, ethics or anything else important to maintaining civilization.

      And that my friend is why private roads aren’t going to fix anything.

      • Scott, the driver at 110 mph did the damage, the clover also broke a rule of the road entering the speed lane, so both are at fault, one for damages, one for a violation. The 110 driver would have a complaint to file with the road owner/insurer or arbitrage agent. The problem with the private roads or turnpikes is that they are using state rules, not private voluntary agreements. They are quasi-private roads, not truly private property.

        • Amen. Under a private judicial system, all three parties would be covered by their ‘phyle’s agent.

          An independent third part arbitrator would judge the case–NOT a shyster statist–and assign responsibility.

          If any of the parties or their agents disagreed with the ruling, they can appeal (depending on the rules of their agency) to another 3rd party arbitrator.

          If any party decides not to abide by the ruling, two main outcomes might materialize;
          * their agency might drop them for breach–in which case they’d have to find another agency, one willing to take on a contract-breaker
          * their agency might stand by them, judging the arbitration unfair–in which case it better be a damn reputable agency and stick to its guns, or lose standing among agencies and eventually be black-listed (in which case its members would all flee to other agencies, bankrupting it). OTOH if the agency correctly defied the arbitrator, it would be a black mark against the arbitrator, who would lose business; and the agency (standing up for principle) would gain business.

          The whole field of private justice is fascinating. I’ve only begun to study it, but it’s so liberating to imagine a system in which the State doesn’t pay its judges to render decisions in its favor…or the favor of parties in its orbit (i.e. trial lawyers).

  3. meth, it looks pretty malicious to me.

    The purpose of the non-controlled drugs in combination is often twofold: 1) To provide increased analgesia via drug synergy. 2) To limit the intake of hydrocodone by causing unpleasant and often unsafe side effects at higher-than-prescribed doses. –Wikipedia

      • Yah I read that section as well and thought he was spot on. If people had any idea at all how many people have their livers destroyed each year by that crap they would boycott them completely.

        Anyone who drinks alcohol should know that mixing the two is deadly. Tylenol kills.

        • There’s a handy way to protect yourself at least partially from acetominophen’s hepatotoxicity–

          Supplement heavily with NAC, N-Acetyl Cysteine. It’s the amino acid derivative your liver uses to drive its internal antioxidant system, glutathione reductase–and it uses it to clean up the horribly toxic free radicals the liver forms from acetominophen.

          Tinsley–you had me at “Tylenol”. You’re right on target; it’s a malicious little bit of Puritanism that punishes those who might with a bit of relief from their pain.

          • It’s downright criminal. So then, why haven’t at least a couple of America’s million plus lawyers picked up on it. Why does a Redneck Geezer with a tenth grade education see it when none of them do?

          • Tinsley I suspect because it’s got the FDA’s imprimatur; no court will touch it because it’s “approved”.

            How can you prove malicious intent?

            I see acetominophen adulteration as no different than intentionally contaminating liquor with methanol.

            But if you can get the hacks and charlatans at the FDA to say “wood alcohol’s good for you!”…you’ve got it made.

          • I hoped that AFP would show folks that the crime in the Drug War is the Drug War itself.
            I have tried to present my case in such a concise way that the simple truth of it would be irrefutable.

          • Several lawyers *have* picked up on it Tinsley. I lived next door to a retired attorney who made a fortune suing drug companies over Tylenol. It’s not a secret, but why they still sell the crap is.

      • Do you really think that government is unaware of your existence?

        You simply cannot propagate the whole truth and remain hidden. The safest thing one can do is to simply “Speak truth to power.”

  4. “the speeder foists upon other drivers an additional risk that is due at least in part to the speeder’s increased kinetic energy”

    Paul, when an asteroid slams into the moon with enough kinetic energy to vaporize Nantucket, which object was speeding?

    • Here’s one of your “yahoo’s”, this time in a yellow Lamborghini that was acquired, perhaps, only for its curb appeal and not at all for its potential for high rates of acceleration or speed. Notice how risk was “born” by MORE drivers, passengers, and owners than those in the cars rammed by the yahoo.


      Speaking of acceleration, do speeders usually insist upon excessive acceleration, too? In the future, may the owners of private roads make their potential customers pass difficult literacy tests. Children such as speeders usually don’t have the patience to learn how to read and write properly, so the literacy testing should screen out many troublemakers.

      • quod erat demonstrandum–as I said, beyond the car’s capabilities…not so here…or beyond the driver’s.

        Again: capability and judgement.

        But it sounds like you’ve got an idea of what “appropriate” acceleration and velocity are; do you wish to impose that standard on the world?

        If so you’d be well on the way to Cloverdom.

      • Wow, my Grandfather never learned to read. He lived to be 102 years old and drove until he was in his 90’s. Guess how many cars his car ever came in contact with?

        ZERO. He drove a Pontiac Catalina with the 389.

        He knew how to drive and as he got older he just stayed off the express ways and drove back roads.

        It’s not the car it’s the driver and owners who either don’t know how to drive or won’t keep their cars maintained.

      • *Laugh*

        Wonder if I would be classified as a speeder? Usually I don’t look, or pay attention to my speed or the signs. Instead I use a very old school method, I call it common sense. Weird I know! I drive the road/environment/vehicle/conditions.

        I very much enjoy excessive acceleration too!

      • I know that intersection quite well. It has a red light camera, is complex, and for the local lanes, very short green lights with very long reds. Where the video starts is the last the green signal of the cycle, for the west bound local lanes.

        It is polite for the people in front to accelerate such that people three or more cars back have a chance of making it. Of course this guy doesn’t know how to drive, but I have no trouble coming out of the locals and hitting the speed limit for the express shortly after entering it.

        Anyway, since you don’t like acceleration perhaps you can answer a question for me. Why are people like you so rude to people behind you? Why is it you drag ass so that others have to wait an extra cycle or more at traffic lights? Oh and another thing, when I pass drivers like yourself when I am on my bicycle, why do they go into a rage? All I do is go into the left lane after it clears and pass. One of these ass dragers tried to crush me against the curb with his van because I came from two cars back after the second red I had waited through and passed him before he made me wait there for a third. (I passed using the left lane and returned to the right on the far side of the intersection)

  5. “It [a velocity violation] is the very essence of an arbitrary offense and victimless crime.”

    Actually, a speeder’s speeding increases the risk borne by other drivers, including those who are not speeding. There is a nonzero risk of a crash when driving, and the speeder foists upon other drivers an additional risk that is due at least in part to the speeder’s increased kinetic energy, which increases with the square of the speeder’s velocity. Crashes with higher KE tend to be more destructive, of course.

    So, do many speeders compensate other drivers for bearing this extra risk at a price chosen freely by those other drivers? Well, no, and this is just what one should expect of a self-absorbed person with the patience of a child.

    “Government forces everyone to pay taxes for the building/maintaining/policing of its [socialistic] roads.”

    If so, it follows that government forces everyone to subsidize air pollution and anthropogenic climate change, assuming that there are such phenomena caused by cars and trucks. Since the wealthy pay most of the taxes, the wealthy subsidize most of the air pollution and anthropogenic climate change caused by automobiles and trucks. Let’s be grateful that socialists called Progressives are striving to solve the problem with more government intervention, e.g. higher taxes and advocacy for the Kyoto Protocol.

    Speaking of the Kyoto Protocol. If the USA ratified it, would not one good way to satisfy its requirements be the cancellation of all government funding for the Interstate Hitlerautobahnen? The solution would work, for when you stop subsidizing something, you get less of it. In fact, why not cancel subsidies for the airports, too? This ought to please the Obamacrats since Obama’s highspeed, government-owned trains would have a fighting chance of attracting lots of customers. If only Obama could get Amtrak to run on time as Mussolini got his trains to run on time.

    As for the Germans’ Bundesautobahnen, take a look at the symbol used by the German government. (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobahn_%28Deutschland%29#Bundesautobahnen) Move the vertical elements to the outside, and it would look a lot more like an H.

    It’s by the way that Hitlerautobahnen is a bit of a misnomer. The German government’s Autobahns got their start during the Weimar republic, that glorious, leftwing paradise established at the behest of fools such as Hugo Preuss. Hitler, good socialist that he was, just made use of ideas, ways, and means provided by the usual suspects. The story gets even better. The Germans were copying Mussolini, another socialist, albeit not a Marxist one, who was inspired, sort of, by a private German road, the AVUS. But of course the socialists used socialistic means to build their network of socialistic roads. See http://german.about.com/library/blgermyth08.htm.

    • Before the slaughter commences, Paul, could you clarify if you were being tongue-in-cheek on AGW and “speeding”? If you were, good on you! Really had me going; my brain’s rant-lobe experienced an influx of hot oxygenated blood and almost got my typing lobe to start a stream of factual correction and philosophical vitriol.

      BTW “speeding” to me means driving beyond one’s car’s and one’s own capabilities, and can never be collectivized to an arbitrary one-velocity-fits-all number.

      And CO2? We’re suffering–more precisely, plants are suffering–under some of the historically lowest levels of this vital gas in earth’s history. We should do everything we can to generate more of it; god help us if (or when, if you don’t buy abiotic petroleum genesis) the wonderful black stuff runs out.

      Perhaps focus solar mirrors on the cliffs of Dover, to liberate CO2 from the calcium carbonate?

      • “…plants are suffering–under some of the historically lowest levels of this vital gas in earth’s history.”

        I wouldn’t become too anxious about the plants. Perhaps natural selection will be sufficient to solve the problem if it hasn’t already.

        I confess, however, that your plan to liberate carbon is interesting. It could put more oxygen into the air, very much unlike the harebrained idea of pumping CO2 underground, which is counted as a type of carbon sequestration. Instead, pumping CO2 underground ought to be called oxygen sequestration, for in a molecule of CO2 there is more oxygen, both in terms of mass and of numbers of atoms, than there is carbon.

        On the other hand, I love to ski. So your scheme could raise temps to inappropriate levels.

        • Ah, I see you’re suffering under the current propaganda-induced mass delusion that CO2 is responsible for warming the planet…when in fact, CO2 levels respond to warming, with an 800-year lag-time.

          Turns out, the followers (scientists without an agenda who followed the IPCC with less than critical thinking) made the classic mistake–assuming correlation implied causality.

          The senior scientists in the IPCC debacle, however, were more culpable; they knew they were propagating a giant lie, and did (and continue to do) suppress, coerce, threaten, and deceive to further their cause.

          “Global warming”, nee “climate change”, and now re-baked as “sustainable development”; it keeps changing its name to protect its innocence. Like Blackwater, nee Xe, nee Academi. Christ at the current rate of feminization of that name, they’ll call themselves “Shirley” next. They’re still stone-cold murdering psychopath mercenaries.

          But I digress.

          If, by this time, you lend any credence at all to the IPCC–science by committee–I hope you will reconsider. That particular horse is dead, has been rendered to glue, and is at this moment holding up the last of the peeling wood trim in a dank UN hallway.

    • It has been proven over and over and over again that speed does not kill. What kills is lack of discipline, care, and attention to the task at hand, driving.

      You state that driving fast puts risk on other drivers. How does it do that? It seems that speed makes it less safe for drivers who are more into their burger or book than driving, those who don’t understand how to use their mirrors or keep right except to pass etc and so forth. Instead of removing these drivers from the road until they learned how to drive properly it was decided to dumb things down and force the better drivers to slow down to absurdly low speeds in an attempt to compensate for people who shouldn’t be behind the wheel in the first place because they refuse to dedicate any effort to the task. But guess what, the actual impact to safety due to speed, even with these idiots, is practically negligible.

      thenewspaper.com recently released a study that shows once again that speed is responsible for a very small percentage of collisions even though we live in a system where people aren’t paying attention to the task of driving and are about as disciplined in the effort as a herd of cats. It’s down in the low single digits. Where things like ‘equipment failure’ are.

      As to your other points, the age of the carb ended over 20 years ago. There are practically no passenger cars in daily service that aren’t very clean. CO2/climate change/global warming is nothing more than the priest telling you the snake god will eat the sun unless you obey. It has been clearly established that they cook the data and just plain lie to keep their grants from government and other control-freak institutions flowing.

      Also your nonsense about ‘Hitler liked limited access highways’ is just that… nonsense. Hitler like pet dogs too. Why don’t you go rant about how dog owners are like Hitler. BTW, like having pet dogs, the concept was not something created by Hitler and predates his rise to power by a over a decade.

      • If speed killed then the the astronauts on the shuttle should all be dead since they went some 17,000 mph while orbiting the earth.

        And if lack of speed does not kill then someone driving off a cliff at 1 mph should be fine.

        I’ve had this discussion so many times but some people simply do not possess the intellectually capacity to understand it. Speed is but one of many factors figured into the decision making process when driving.

  6. Except for clean and orderly Japan, I’d like to “red flag” Asia. Yes, the whole damn continent. Do you know what it’s like driving in a place where people went from walking barefoot one decade to driving fully modern automobiles the next? Hellish. Clover has nothing on these people.

    • No joke. It’s a hellish nightmare and they don’t care who they kill in the process. I used to think people were stereotyping, especially Chinese, about their lack of “skeelz” but it’s the most painful truth. We have good friends back in my former home town who came from the Mainland and are, quite frankly, horrible drivers in every conceivable way. Now we’re talking about people with Masters Degrees educations, mother and father, and they just don’t “get it”. They constantly get into accidents, etc. It’s almost comical if it weren’t so sad.

    • So the whole “DWA” thing (Driving While Asian) isn’t just my personal peeve?

      Dear god they’re awful. Inappropriately, painfully cautious; pendantically following every jit and jot. Totally incapable of maintaining speed around a corner. Random tap-tap-tap of the brake, with bursts of uncontrolled acceleration in between.

      I was musing to myself that maybe there’s a missing Asian kinesthetic gene; but they’re great at some sports.

      Poor 3-D vision?

      Maybe you hit it on the head–they’ve gone from oxcarts and foot to cars in one generation.

      • My wife does the DWA thing all the time! Never when I am around though, I won’t allow it. She would come home sometimes telling me people would be following her really close, then flying by her, and giving her the bird on the way past. I was like “um… no shit, your driving sucks.”

    • Spent summer of ’08 in Beijing and Xi’an China, wow, drivers/especially taxis fly through making right turn on red, cars have the right of way. The spontaneous order of chinese bicycles and rickshaws was replaced with state road rules, thousands of accidents/deaths. I did buy over the counter antibiotics at the pharmacy in china, $4 bucks/ 30 RMB or so per dosage.

  7. “There was a saying in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, back when Republican’s called themselves “Progressive”
    The Progressive Party, launched by Teddy Rosevelt was based largely on the precepts of one Herbert Croly. A statist by any definition. The short version is that the progressive party was Fascism’s debut on the north american continent.
    I’m far from in love with the republican party but it rankles me to see progressives get a pass on what their history and what they truly are.

  8. I’ve been driving on the private highways here in Chile for 4 years. We get 3 bills per month in the mail, they look like a phone bill. Transmitter in the car is linked to the license plate, similar to toll systems in the states. I normally drive about as fast as the traffic will let us, up to 140k/m. If you ever see a cop, its usually a holiday wknd, I have seen less than a handful of people getting tickets on this road and few accidents at all. The roads use higher tariffs during heavy use hours, doubling during traditional rush hours. Most of the gridlock is do to the poor design/construction just beyond the off-ramps (public roads!). The many tunnels on the private system have service roads with emergency crews, fire/EMT ready in moments notice, the road is cleared in minutes. Pavement is impeccable, lighting, signage all prestine.

    reading ya’ll’s posts makes me want to move back to the country. Rural that is, i’ll be staying in Chile for now, this country is reducing regulations, not increasing them.

  9. Brent. You might want to consider the solution that a few friends have done. It’s not perfect but it’s cheap and it works for the most part. Instead of a lift build a pit. Or if you have a hill cement in a big heavy pole with a T frame on top that you can attach and remove ramps from. I have the hill pole and ramps solution for summer work, it’s great it’s better than working in the garage when it’s 90 degrees outside.

    • Yep. I’ve thought of a pit… especially since I already have the part of the pit system that goes above it. (see above)

      • Once you get used to it, working with jack stands and a creeper isn’t bad if you have a smooth hard floor. The worst part for me was trying to make sure I had every tool that I would need before getting down.

        Since every job seemed to involve getting down and up multiple times, I often jokingly threatened to simply keep all of my tools in a large wheelbarrow and dump them on the floor before getting on the creeper. When I was finished I could simply shovel them all back into the wheelbarrow.

  10. “Taking it back to where and what?”

    I would say taking us back to a place where we own our property and our bodies again. Taking us back to where we are not the policemen of the world. Taking us back to where we are in charge of our own businesses and our own families. How about women who are women and understand that they can be happy raising their families and loving their husbands because they provide for them? How about not brainwashing our children with public schools that try to turn them into drones? End the constant propaganda. Teach our sons to work and not rely on welfare to feed their children when they grow up.

    Would you like to know something that is sad? I don’t have a single friend who has a stay at home wife? I am the only one. Also women do their best to make my wife feel like dirt because she does. What kind of choice is that? If women are free why shouldn’t they be allowed to choose to stay home?

    Damn I could go on and on. Please feel free to add to my rant.

    • Basically, you would have to go back to about 1900 or at least past lawyer Harrison’s infamous Act.


      What could be more important than caring for one’s children? Unfortunately, it is now often necessary for both partners in a marriage to have an income. A deliberate misinterpretation of “general welfare” is partly responsible for that. Working folks have to provide the financing for their own children and the children of non-workers as well.

      • The war on powder river?

        I get your point that couples feel they must have two incomes and yes feeding the tax hounds isn’t cheap. However, I actually think that is more propaganda. The second income often costs more than it’s worth. Second car, extra cloths, higher income tax, child care, fast food instead of real food, bribing their kids because they don’t spend time with them, etc. Plus most everyone buys into the keeping up with the Joneses. If their priority is a new car and vacations I feel sorry for them.

    • Brad, I’m reading a great book called “The Rational Optimist: How prosperity evolves.” In it the author points out something that surprised me. It turns out that quantifiable measures of personal happiness indicate that during the last twenty years women are becoming happier all over the world except for one place: the good ole USofA. Apparently women here are less happy than they were 20 years ago despite the fact that they supposedly have more opportunities for employment and “self-improvement” outside the home than ever before. Granted, economic uncertainty does make it harder to support a family on a single salary, but so does bad planning and a lack of priorities. I am neither married nor with children, but from what I observe far too many parents step onto a treadmill of social expectations that only *pretend* to put the kids first when in reality the kids are at best an after-thought rather than a central focus. It’s really a sad state of affairs. Let’s hope that your vision for the future is realized.

      • Sounds like a good book. It doesn’t surprise me though. Most women think they will have a career in somthing they will enjoy. Instead they end up in a dead end job.

        It’s interesting how in many cultures there is only a fine line between work and play. In this nation many people tend towards work and then play. They don’t do something they enjoy for a living then they try and make up for it on vacation or on weekends. Work Then Play. But they end up spending most of their life doing somthing they don’t enjoy. The best advice I ever recieved was, do something you enjoy most of the time and live within your means, so you never have to work so much that it becomes real work.

        • If kids had more time to explore their interests and abilities and spent less time following some bureaucrat’s idea of what an education is, I think there’d be a lot more people doing what the love for a living.

          • I feel fortunate in that my generation (Gen X) had a generally less structured childhood. We just went outside and did whatever; went to a friend’s house (by ourselves, walking or on our bikes, not strapped like Hannibal Lecter into a booster seat inside an SmoooooooooVeeee) or just went outside, exploring – doing whatever. Some of us played sports, but it wasn’t this regimented, everyone-must-participate shit I see all around me, starting around kindergarten age. Much less pressure to conform. Much more latitude to just do things. Adults were not so obsessed with saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety back in the ’70s and ’80s.

        • I lucked out; managed to figure out a way to make a living screwing around with cars and bikes – what could be better? Luckily, I early on saw through the curtain and realized I wanted no part of the American McDream – commuting to some shit job for 30 years so as to make payments on suits to go to job, the “right” car, the “right” house and all the rest of that.

          I love my collection of old crap – and my house in the Boonies, with the 26 chickens doing as they please in the yard. I’m not a redneck by birth, but by conscious choice!

          • Eric, We’re about the same age and my childhood free time was similarly spent doing pretty much whatever I wanted. But still, having to spend 12+ years going to a minimum security prison 180 days a year was a soul-sucking experience.

            • Agreed!

              But at least they did not try to pill-pop us. I am 100 percent certain that would happen today. I was able to be different – more than a little obnoxious at times – and they did not pathologize that and demand I put on Ritalin or some such.

              Can you imagine?

          • Eric I *was* borne a redneck and I had to fight real hard to get back to my roots. Rednecks don’t belong in suburbs or supermarkets. They don’t go well with malls and school boards. They’re like oil and water when it comes to Home Owners Associations and Zoning Departments.

            Being a Redneck these days isn’t easy. Consider yourself lucky you were able to join the club.

            • I am extremely grateful.

              And also: Rednecks are respectful (in my experience) in a way that suburban suit-and-tie Clovers never are. The redneck generally just wants to be left the hell alone – and will leave you alone, too – so long as you extend the same courtesy to him. He would never think of calling the HOA (if such existed) much less the cops because you had, say, “too many cars” in your yard.

              It is a wonderful thing. Live – and let live.

              It took us a few years before the people around us realized we were not asshole yuppies come to change the place to our (yuppie) ways. That we intended to conform to the area and its culture, not try to impose a foreign culture on the people who’ve lived here for generations. Now, we have many good friends all around us. I’m sure they still think we’re a little strange in the way we talk and some of the things we do (like me still eating sushi, which my country friends can’t imagine any sane person would eat …) but I think they have decided we’re “ok.” But it’s an earned thing, not something you assume.

          • OMG exactly! I wasn’t even *born* here, but I’m an aspiring redneck…with taste 🙂

            In evidence:
            * car lift in garage, good set of tools
            * two compost heaps and two mulch heaps out back
            * raised-bed vegetable gardens front and back
            * ten different fruit trees
            * odds and ends scattered all over the garage–rehabilitated dishwasher motors, abandoned electronic projects, etc
            * guns guns and more guns

            Yeah those good ol’ boys have it right. Know how to do shit, and have fun doing it.

            As the saying goes, I wasn’t born in Texas…but I got here as fast as I could.

            • “As the saying goes, I wasn’t born in Texas…but I got here as fast as I could.”

              Love it!

              You’re probably familiar with this, too (from HW, Jr.): “ain’t too many things these old boys can’t do…”

              I’ve learned this from direct personal experience – and learned a lot myself a long the way. People down here – in the boonies – are amazingly self-sufficient jacks-of-many trades who can fix almost anything and know something about almost everything. Our neighbors – the old farming couple who own the 100-plus acres behind us – are great people and knowledgeable people. Berned (that’s Bernard in redneck) can weld, build a whole house water purification system, rewire a car (he has helped me sort out glitches several times) and – of course – plow a field all day long. And he’s a 75-year-old!

              I’m getting there. My transformation is proceeding apace.

              I no longer even own a suit.

              I have 26 chickens. An old truck with a deer-crinkled fender. A barn full of redneck industrial art. Many guns!

              It’s an all-right life. We don’t hear much at night except the coyotes in the fields and the crickets and frogs outside our bedroom window. I can walk outside nekkid if I want to and run through the woods … or empty a magazine of .45 hollow points into the belly of a printer that won’t print (really, I’ve done that).

              We can’t get delivery – and most everything is at least 35 miles away. But for us, that’s just how we like it. Truthfully, my only regret is that we didn’t move even further into the woods – and own more woods than we do!

            • I also got lucky with my wife. She is like-minded; does not need a $50,000 Smoooooveeeeee. Likes our 14-year-old truck that cost $7,000 used eight years ago. I took her down when we were dating; she passed the test. After we got married, she was as much into flying the coop (DC area) as I was – and into building a real coop down here as I was, too. I just finished fencing off a large area of field; once we get the water situation dealt with (pond) then we plan to add small livestock to the mix – mostly goats, I think. They’re hardy, easy to keep beasts – so long as you’ve got good fences to keep them in!

              Every now and then we go to “the city” and look around. It’s like we’re aliens inspecting a foreign world!

          • I’ve been trying to figure out how to get a lift to my house. I don’t have a fork lift to unload it from the semi… even if a semi could get to my house.

            I have most of the rest if I replant the garden and fruit trees (there were some here when I was a kid, I used to climb the cherry trees)

            But my house is in a *gasp* subdivision and a rather smallish lot to boot. But everything here was built of brick and lumber and in the 1950s there weren’t all these stupid rules. So I can do just about anything I want within respectful reason. (a little too close to the neighbors to use the air hammer at 2am, but I can live with that)

            • What the others said, basically. I have two friends who bought the smaller units that don’t weigh so much they’re unmanageable without heavy lifting equipment and (as described by others) come disassembled and often will be delivered/set-up for you on site. I’d dearly love to have one – and plan to have one, one day.But I’ve had to prioritize and – for now – can manage without. Most of the stuff that needs doing underneath a car I can still do on my back. It’s not pleasant, but it’s still doable. Hopefully, I won’t need to do a clutch job or pull a transmission for awhile!

          • @BrentP:

            You don’t need a semi delivering the lift, they only weigh about 800 pounds I think…if that. Mine was delivered on a trailer pulled by a pickup truck, and three friendly Mexican guys installed it by hand in three hours.

            It’s a great deal if you plan to do most of your own work. For example, the 60K mile service on my wife’s car saved me roughly $900 in labor, and only took me a weekend; and it was a fun weekend. Can’t wait ’till my son’s old enough to join me and my daughter in the garage.

            The lifts cost $1500 if you buy China-made, $3000 if you buy ‘Murrican. I got mine from a Texas company, Gemini lifts outside of Dallas. Set the whole thing up with them in one phone call.

            I live in a subdivision too, thankfully one not burdened with some asinine HOA…but it’s a small lot, 7500 sq ft, so I hear your pain…there’s a LOT I could do with a few acres!

            I’m planning a few laying hens next. I’ve got the neighbors bribed pretty well with bring-your-own-oil lube jobs on the weekend. Being a good neighbor will (hopefully) keep the snitches at bay.

          • Nice thread, I gotz to do some show and tell!

            Redneck Car Port

            Giant Bamboo I just planted 3 years ago (will build stuff with it)

            My new hobby (cement molding)

            Stair garden, swing set, and wood fence, and fire (made them all LOL)

            Random Japanese Redneck lady in my back yard

            My sweet privacy fence

            Stair garden I just finished

            My rock pile

            The cat’s ass

            Cat’s ass II

            • Very sharp!

              The cement molds are cool – also the wood stacks… I need to show you my stacks! How do I post pictures? I know, you’ve probably told me.. but you know I am differently abled when it comes to this computer stuff!

          • Every brand I’ve found says they ship it by semi and the buyer has to have the means to unload it. The ones I am looking at weigh well over 1000lbs. I was looking at four posts lifts one level above the light weights. But it’s in pieces and I can manage the heavier pieces with my engine hoist.

            The chevy dealer over by my other place (the one near work) had a lift in their showroom but I never got around to stopping in there to see if they were selling the lifts or just the corvettes on and under them. The lifts are gone now.

            If I really have to do something major under the car I do have an old pit system alignment rack. Just not the pit. It’s a drive on from the early 1960s judging from the materials I found that go with it. It’s been disassembled and over to the side in the garage since I was like 8 years old. It will get the car a couple feet up off the ground.

          • Brent I went with a ProPark 9+, which is a four post lift that has enough room under it to park a ’94 Chevy K3500 Dual Rear Wheal Crew Cab (I breed and train horses, that’s my only excuse).

            I like it. I picked it up from the distributor on a dual axle flatbed equipment trailer I borrowed from my neighbor, the distributor had a forklift to load me. I unloaded the trailer with an engine hoist and assembled the whole thing by myself with the hoist. There were some challenging moments and several minutes were spent in almost blank reflection, however it did go up, no one was injured and I did it completely by myself.

            The ProPark is a good machine. I would buy it again. I have lifted the K3500 with it; no problems. I keep having to adjust the locking rails every few weeks but I write that up to plate tectonics.

            I thought about a pit for a while too, I’m kind of glad I bought the lift. I’m really glad I bought it before the price of steel went through the roof. I could sell the thing for scrap tomorrow and make a profit.

            • This (a lift) is on my “rich list.” I have wanted one for years, but had to put it on the back burner – while my back is still good, at any rate (so I can crawl around under a car on jack stands). I have a fairly large attached garage as well as an outbuilding, but neither are suitable for a lift. My plan is to build a new garage off the back of our “guest house” – with a lift – once we’ve put in the pond and finished the basement…

          • BTW: If you do go with the 9+, try to get them to make you a deal on the high end jack and roller tray to go with it. You’ll need it and you can save a lot of money if they ship them together.

          • I shudder to think what they would have done to me today, before my parents figured out to put me in a semi-classical-liberal private school. I’d be dead or lying in a gutter with a needle in my arm.

            I was a total non-conformist. I had ZERO interest in the so-called school “work”; it bored me to total distraction.

            I was learning to program computers in fifth grade, while my social studies teacher insisted I was retarded because I refused to memorize the state capitals. She was this close to getting me on the short bus before my mom went momma-lion on her and got me out of there.

            I remember the free play, too; Saturday morning Dad would make me do my few chores then say “Go play. Don’t come back until dinner. Grab some lunch on the way out.”

            We’d go down to the creek–running through 8′ storm drains a hundred feet long, dodging the water moccasins–and spend all day doing super-dangerous stuff…like collecting the gunpowder from 100 fire crackers and making a really BIG one!

            Had a couple go off in my hand. Sure am glad I still have the hand.

            Dad would give me an old lawn mower and tell me to rebuild it, if I could.

            Today, I doubt 10% of boys could tell you how an IC engine works.

            It’s fucking pathetic. Add in the BPA, pthalates, fluoride, GMO corn, and pro-gay propaganda, and half of them are prancing around lisping. Look, if you’re gay, you’re gay, knock yourself out. I don’t like it; I won’t de-friend you for it, but don’t pretend it’s natural and wonderful…and don’t propagandize my kids into that life.

          • “Today, I doubt 10% of boys could tell you how an IC engine works.”

            You should see these teenagers and 20 somethings in the various web forums. Every time I peak into allfordmustangs one of them is whining about how he ‘tuned’ (changed the software) on his mustang to something he bought or got from some guy on the internet and now his car’s engine is broken and Ford won’t cover it under warranty.

            There are others who might be willing to learn. They mostly have SN95’s. I’ll help them with a clue or three if they behave well. But the ones who got a new mustang of their very own and then they break it and whine… They need to be slapped.

  11. FYI, Walter Block put a book together on the subject of road privatization. I haven’t read all of it but I know from his essays that he has solutions for a lot of the critiques about privatization. It’s worth reading. Here’s the intro:


  12. I think you hit it right in the head. You and I don’t feel protected and served by police, but most people do. That is our moral enemy as libertarians. We can argue and reason all we want but if people feel protected by the state, it is impossible to convince them otherwise. ie: a lot of people feel protected by the war on terror, the TSA, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, when really it should scare the hell out of them. I don’t know honestly what seperates me from everyone else but this total state whit scares the hell out of me.

    • I agree with you, Jason – however, as bad as things are (and they are very bad indeed) it is also true that more people than ever are waking up. Just consider the support Ron Paul has and try to recall the political landscape just 20 years ago when Paul and those who supported him were an almost-never-heard-from minority with zero impact on national politics, dismissed out of hand as “fringe.” The PTB still try to dismiss Paul, et al, as fringe, but much less convincingly. There are obviously millions of people who support Paul and share the general Libertarian gestalt. This is a major improvement. Of course, we are still in the minority. But a minority of many millions.

      And that’s not so bad!

      • I agree that an increasing number of Individuals are waking to the reality of unlawful power, but I am deeply troubled by wondering how far they will go with their demands concerning Liberty and Justice (for ALL?). Will they demand an across the board repeal of ALL Unlawful Power or will they settle for nothing more than a palpable economic improvement?

        Frankly, I fear that the prevailing Philosophical Bankruptcy will continue to prevail among the general population and even among most of those who consider themselves to be serious dissidents.

        Ask folks this: Which Unlawful Power should be repealed first?

        And why should it be the first?

      • Well, I was a little kid, 20yrs ago, so not too sure how it was. 🙂 I have done some talking to Ron Paul supporters, and it is interesting. Not too many are really into liberty per say, end the fed means to nationalize the banks to them, which is not really an improvement, or to nationalize the Federal Reserve, same there.

        Maybe I am being negative, but I think Ron Paul heralds the end of socialism, people will never believe in it again. And entering into a long period of fascism and total statism. None of the modern ideas are being challenged. The time is ripe for the total state. I think the dollar will collapse, bringing an end to the facade of democracy, bringing forth the total state, then maybe 100yrs from now it will collapse again, bringing us something else. That is where ideas from the internet will probably have an impact since we will not be around to argue them and the internet is widely libertarian.

        • “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”. Benito Mussolini

          Marx was correct that Capitalism has a flaw in that it is ultimately corruptable. His problem was that he had no real solution because all forms of government are corruptable. Capitalism is simply a way of doing business and it’s the best form if left free of government corruption.

          I do agree that we are heading for a collapse, but I don’t believe it has to lead to tyranny. Why? Because I think it’s going to take our government out. The rats will flee the sinking ship. We The People will have a real chance of taking our country back.

          • It is not that collapse must lead to fascism, but that I think people today desire it, believe in it and pray for it. Ever see Barricade? I think something along those lines are our future, but with state control.

  13. You will have your privately owned roads soon enough. The government will sell off public roads to private entities to raise funds. But your good friends, the cops, are going to be patrolling every inch of those toll roads.

    You will pay to use the roads. And you will still have all your unreasonably conservative laws of the road.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    • Sure…. why not. However once they sell them, they must lose “ownership” and the roads be sovereign. Also the States must not be allowed to collect taxes for them. For this to have real long term impact, there must be a real reduction in state power. Otherwise it is just facade, and more “state capitalism”.

    • They do that already MikePizzo.
      In Houston, the toll roads “belong” (are leased to actually) a Spanish concern, Cintra.

      Here’s the kicker: those roads were built with public bond issues, and they’re paid off. WE paid for them, already. After the bonds were paid, the tolls were supposed to be used for…ready for this everyone?…the children, in the form of education funds.

      Yeah. Just like the lottery.

      So now, we have exactly what BrentP was worried about–the dreaded “public-private partnership” or PPP; also known as fascism, in which we privatize the profits, and socialize the losses.

      Oh and did I mention the many various tax-parasites patrolling said tollways?

      The only benefit to them is that they’re better maintained, and due to the cost they attract a slightly better class of driver. Higher speeds are tolerated; but only because if you drop below 75, you’ll be rear-ended.

      The only way around this is FULL privatization; that is, total private ownership of the road, minus any government intervention.

      • There are worse instances than Texas. Although Texas may have caught up and added this feature. The non-compete. Parallel government roads would be reduced in traffic lanes if the privately operated toll road loses money.

        My memory is a bit foggy on this but I believe this was used with a toll tunnel in Australia. Found it:

  14. Eric, I like the thought experiment that your piece presents. I think I’ll use it in future debates with statists.

  15. The ideal form of private roads cannot happen in the USA unless there is dramatic change in the way people think and act. There are several things that could in a real sense happen by moving to private roads all of them very bad. Not because the ideal form of private roads is bad but because what we will get won’t be the ideal form.

    We could easily end up with what we have now as government passes laws that force private roads into the current condition. We could end up with the wealthy control freaks owning nearly all the roads and using them for their freakish company town dreams. We could have company A using their ownership of the roads as a weapon against company B. Imagine road companies simply denying access to new start up companies in particular businesses because they cut a deal with the existing companies in those businesses.
    Perhaps giant agribusiness would pay off the road companies and prevent the small farmers from getting their crops to market? I could go on and on. Our ruling class loves to set up pitfalls like this that only increase their power and their wealth. For instance, the Chicago skyway and the Chicago parking meters. The parking meter contract is a real hoot… the taxpayers of Chicago (which is everyone in the state and probably nation all said and done) will end up paying the entire lump sum back in just the ‘lost revenue’ for street closures, handicapped free parking, and so on. That’s the kind of private ownership we can expect. People paying taxes on their homes to their soda pop will be paying the company that took over the parking meters.

    The dumbed down road system is simply the result of people conditioned to think a certain way. It is one of those things that is set into motion knowing that other people will then produce the desired result. From grade school on we are conditioned to be throttled by the slowest ship in the fleet. We are collectivized that if one person screws up that we will all have to live with restrictions that supposedly would prevent that screw up from happening again. The roads are a manifestation of that way of thinking.

    I neglected mentioning punishment. The ticket system is also a manifestation of people believing that threat of punishment, violence, is how people are to be made to behave.

    The road system is the way it is because of the way people think. A private system won’t be any better unless the way people think is changed. If the way people think is changed a government system would be better too. Germany’s road system is government yet it is much better. Why? How the people think about driving.

    Fixing the roads requires fixing the people using them.

    • There are several things that could in a real sense happen by moving to private roads all of them very bad. Not because the ideal form of private roads is bad but because what we will get won’t be the ideal form.

      Brent, one could go crazy thinking of all the scary ‘what if’ scenarios that might arise in a free society; indeed this is a favorite pastime of statists. But none of it addresses the moral and ethic questions raised by Eric’s piece: who pays and why?

      • It’s not a ‘what if’. In this society, the way people think, the way people behave, private roads would not be implemented correctly or in free market or free society principles. The Chicago Skyway and other even worse examples both implemented and proposed is the sort of private road the american public would end up with given current ways of thinking.

        The problem is not that government controls the roads. The problem is the way the public thinks. The way they’ve been conditioned to think. Look what these people do to race tracks. They aren’t going to permit the sort private road system Eric proposes.

        Let’s say there is private expressway exactly the way Eric proposes. No speed limit. No clovers allowed. What are the clovers going to do? They are going to file lawsuit or pass laws regarding noise or CO2 or squirrel crossing rights or something until there is a speed limit of 55mph on that road and they can use it with their ill maintained transportation appliances.

        It is the thinking, the principles of free society that is required. The roads will sort themselves out either via some minimalist government or private ownership or whatever. The roads are derivative product.

        Who pays? Motorists already pay for the roads and lots lots more. Only the most local of roads are covered by non-motoring taxes. Those most local of roads would be needed even if motorized transport did not exist. The who pays isn’t really broken, but people are trying to break it.

        • Brent, if I understand you then you’re saying that people living in a free society will nevertheless require education regarding the proper way to live in a free society. In other words, don’t even think about privatizing the roads (or the airports, or the schools and on and on) before you teach people…what? How to be free? I don’t think I follow your line of reasoning.

          • If you take something as essential to commerce and travel as the roads and put them into private hands given the way people think today you’re going to get something like the airports.

            Remember, the TSA’s end run around our constitutional protections is that the airlines are private companies. They operate the screening for the airlines. Submit or don’t fly. What do they do if people refuse to submit? Have them charged with -trespassing-. How do you trespass on public property? Because it isn’t. It’s the airline’s space, usually by lease as I understand it.

            There’s the private option with TSA too. Airports and airlines can have private screening companies that must do everything exactly as the TSA says. Government sets the rules, private companies obey them.

            The private road system without a realigning of the culture is simply going to make things worse. Private road, submit to the radiation scan of your vehicle and yourself or don’t drive on it. It’s private property, you have to do as the owner says to use it but the government tells the owner what the rules will be. Now without limit because the owners of the property don’t want to stand up for your rights. They want the profits without hassle. Without losing their business. They’ll roll over faster than a telecom to federal pressure.

            If the culture realigns towards freedom then it won’t matter who runs the road system, government or companies. It will either be companies competing for customers with good service or government that serves the people managing the road system. Either way turns out pretty good, but the people have to think in terms of freedom instead of control.

            It’s much easier to control a few road owners than it is to control millions of individuals.

            When this was a freer country government roads weren’t so bad. Private roads were better too. But when it’s an unfree crony capitalist country… options are simply bad and worse.

          • “given the way people think today you’re going to get something like the airports.”

            Or, as I mentioned earlier, the Garden State Turnpike. I completely agree with you.

            Eric’s brought up an important point, but until the society itself recognizes individual liberty by demanding it as a quality of the product, nothing important will change with a transfer of ownership.

        • The private road system without a realigning of the culture is simply going to make things worse.

          Your points about the dangers of crony capitalism are all valid, but this concern applies to all forms of commerce, not just the roads. And yet there are many examples of thriving markets despite the state’s ceaseless effort at control (the Internets, for example).

          And as far as ‘realigning’ the culture is concerned, don’t forget that Eastern socialism collapsed not because the culture was ‘realigned’ but because the system was inherently in conflict with human nature. No re-training of the people was required to bring the socialist beast to its knees. Of course there is still a ways to go in the post-Soviet world before people achieve complete liberty, but should they roll back time just because it hasn’t yet arrived in perfect form? Of course not.

          Similarly, will our culture have to be retrained to bring about freedom? I don’t think so. Freedom is an emergent property of society, not something that can be programmed. Moreover, we will not have the luxury of picking and choosing the way freedom arrives (if it ever arrives). We might get it all overnight after a revolution or only in bits and pieces as the state withers away over decades. No one can say which pathway is more efficient or more just. We have to seize opportunities as they arrive.

          • I have to ask, are you just giving me a hard time? This is really simple.

            The question posed here isn’t one of system collapse or the natural state of human beings. It’s taking our present society and having private roads instead of government roads.

            The present society is dominated by control freaks of various sorts. The people are by and large conditioned towards everything being controlled and managed. You’re not going to get a lasting property rights based road system without some drastic change in the way people think. You are going to get people who will use the government against the property rights of the road owners to produce much what we have today and a government taking full advantage of the condition to push things even further to the bad side.

            To the government private ownership means no more pretending about the bill of rights and other nonsense when it comes to the people. The private owners are going to play ball with the government no matter how the allocation works out or even if they bought the land and built the roads all on their own. The government will strong arm them and like most corporations they will just knuckle under, not protecting their customers from government. It’s like asking a telecom to kick the NSA out of their hub.

            That’s how it would work in this culture. As it is today, before some drastic change. With the present government still there. If you get drastic change then it might work, that’s my point. You need drastic change in the way people think for it to work. If they change their thinking through education, government collapse, whatever makes no difference. But this culture where a bunch of people can move next to a race track and have it shut down because of the noise has to end first. If it doesn’t you’re not going to get a 100mph privately owned limited access highway. At least not for very long.

          • Brent, I assure you that I have better things to do than to give you a hard time. Just trying to figure out your take on this issue is all.

            Let me ask you this: what if tomorrow the state deigned to auction off every stretch of asphalt in the US? Should we reject the opportunity to privatize the roads out of fear of corporatism and the booboise, or should we seize the chance to free up the lousy system? Of course there would be risks of getting an even worse system emerge, but what are we to do? Gaze at our navels? It’d be a perfect opportunity to state the case for liberty.

          • The devil is in the details. If today’s government auctioned off the roads you can bet your ass it won’t be for our benefit.

            That’s not a fear, that’s a reality. It’s going to be like the privatization we’ve already seen, including that of photo enforcement. I’ve followed this stuff for a long time. It sounds good but the details make it into an insider scam.

            Hell, I think the skyway might be the best of it. At least the skyway got fixed. But it is still 55mph or less and everything else. The skyway was a failed project from the get go so it was something difficult to make worse.

            • I tend to agree that in the context of our times, “private” roads would end up being the PPP mentioned in other posts – and we’d suffer an even more savage reaming than we do already. The whole rotten edifice of state-corporate control must collapse before we can rebuild. And before that can happen, people’s minds must be rebuilt!

    • Well, thinking is an action like any other. What our problem with public roads is, the fact that coercion is involved. Thoughts cannot be aggressive in thslis sense because thoughts cannot steal, kill or otherwise violate property rights. I don’t think people realize the real impact that coercion has upon them. Asking people to change their thinking does not change the fact that they are being forced to drive on roads they have not freely chosen and are being coerced.

    • “Fixing the roads requires fixing the people using them.”

      I think that was one of the better precis I have read on the subject Brent. Five Stars! (on a scale of 1 to five of course 🙂 Good Job!

  16. I’ve spent most of my life west of the Rockies, with only occasional forays to the land of turnpikes as an adult. My last experience was driving from Newark to Red Bank New Jersey in the late 90’s and I took a toll road, I think it was the Garden State Turnpike. I seem to remember seeing State cops patrolling the road. How does that work? Do the owners pay the State for police services? I’m asking because it indicates private ownership wouldn’t necessarily solve the problem.

    Also, did the turnpikes have to enforce the 55 mph limit during the dark days of driving?

    • Wonder observational skills my dear Watson. What you saw was an example of state capitalism, maybe on a small scale but still. It is like the police hiring the mafia to enforce crime and calling it capitalism.

    • All the roads in my neighborhood are owned by the property owners here. We still get tickets on them by state and county oinkers! It’s pretty sweet!

    • The Garden State Parkway, NJ Turnpike, and AC expressway are currently operated by a single quasi-state organization. It operates at the whim of the government.

      Technically they are considered private and they pay for State police coverage (I assume from the tolls collected) to the state of NJ.

      55 mph was enforced, although people generally travel >< 70-80 mph.

      • Today the PSL is 65 mph in more rural areas. In order to get this higher PSL all violations in the 65 PSL zones are doubled (not just speeding). People still travel >< 70-80 mph in these areas as well as in the 55 PSL areas.

        A funny side note: when the 65 PSL first opened there was a media blitz about strict enforcement in the 65 PSL zones. Everyone drove within 5 mph of the PSL in the 65 zone. The moment we crossed over into the 55 PSL zone everyone sped up to about 80mph. In other words business as usual.

        • Decades ago, like Eric, I had to attend a government traffic school after accumulating a number of speeding tickets. It was in Montgomery County, Maryland. We speeders were shown a movie. In the movie, a 1956 or so Mercury sped past a parked cop in a small town. The cop pursued him but lost control of his car on a curve. The police car flipped over and crossed a parking lot on its roof, leaving behind a spectacular trail of orange sparks. It then came to rest after crashing through a storefront. Then there was silence, as the car laid there smoking, the front wheels still spinning. A cheer erupted from some of the attendees. The cops turned on the lights and were furious at the reaction of those who cheered. It was supposed to be a sobering experience for us speeders. But the movie didn’t have the intended effect on me. I’m now in my 70s and still speed. I think it would be fun to watch this campy old movie again.

  17. People who won’t pass but insist on tailgating really tick me off. In the city I kind of get it. You don’t want to leave just enough room for someone to try and squeeze in and you don’t want to stop the traffic flow. However, in the country you need to get your ass around me or back off. I will slow down and ride on the shoulder and yet they still won’t freaking pass me.

    My night vision is not exactly great and we have tons of deer. So I tend to poke along at night. A couple of years back some douch would not pass. I’m talking about a country road where you can see for miles. I slowed down and slowed down and he just got closer to my bumper. So eventually I just stopped on the shoulder, this brain fried moron stops behind me and gets out. Now mind you I have been trying to be good and not punch people in the nose anymore, but if he had not gotten back in his truck he would have been picking his teeth off of the ground.

    Why is it that so many people don’t understand the art of passing?

    That’s another thing, why can’t two men settle things with their fists anymore? If they both want to punch each other in the head why is that a federal offense?

    • Brad,

      “…why can’t two men settle things with their fists anymore? If they both want to punch each other in the head why is that a federal offense?”

      You are my kind of people!

      If men could do that, we’d have a more manly society again. Now, shitweasels feel free to make themselves obnoxious because they know they can call the cops (or lawyers) and that is a strong disincentive for calling them out. Mind, I am not advocating that people behave brutally. But there comes a time when the situation almost demands what they used to call “satisfaction.”

      Another thing we’ve pissed away.

      • Take it another step, Eric & Brad–reinstitute dueling!

        If you can “demand satisfaction”, it puts a giant brake on un-civil behavior of all kinds.

        Ironically, the supposedly barbaric practice of dueling actually created a much more civilized and polite society.

        • There was a saying in Teddy Roosevelt’s time, back when Republican’s called themselves “Progressive” and hadn’t figured out yet exactly where that road was going to lead. My guess is Teddy suffered from “little guy” syndrome, nevertheless, he’s attributed with having said “Speak softly, but carry a big stick”. I’ve always admired that quote and the philosophy, I think it’s one that goes in the book of Quintessential Manly Sayings, which I intend to write shortly before I die in a saber duel or gunfight at the ripe old age of 56.

          A person who has the ability and mettle to deal out death, but does not, is a person of proven moral fiber who can legitimately hold his head just a little bit higher than normal mortals. This personae has been lost in contemporary western society, much to its detriment.

        • I should probably mention that my favorite movie of all time is “The Last Samurai”. I suppose that disqualifies me from polite conversation on the subject of fighting, duels and the martial arts in general.

          In my defense, I’ve given up karate and returned to my studies of the gentle art of aikido.

        • Well, considering the accuracy and muzzle velocity of pistols of that time, dueling wasn’t exactly a death sentence.

          My SR-9 with laser site is a totally different animal (and don’t you forget it!).

          • Not to mention that the general practice was to aim at the hip of the other person. In a good portion of duels, the purpose was not to kill the other person, but to defend honor. Just like in the older style of swords, most duels were not to the death. Drawing blood would satisfy honor and allow both parties to hold their heads up in public. Watch the beginning of El Cid with Charlton Heston to see what I mean.

          • @Davidus:

            Very interesting point, I didn’t know that!

            Guess where that act was re-discovered?

            Among drug gangs. The slang “pop a cap in his ass” is literal. Big drug dealers were dismayed that their already-underpaid and dissatisfied staff–the low-level runners on the street–were getting slaughtered unnecessarily, making hiring harder.

            So they laid down the law: no more killing rival dealers on the street. When defending your turf, shoot them with a smaller-caliber (.22, .380, or 9mm), and aim for the buttocks…hence, “pop a cap in his ass”

            This “defended honor”–i.e. reinforced territorial claims–while cutting down on the carnage.

            I remember vividly a night on call at Ben Taub ER; it was a slow night in my department so I wondered over to the trauma area. A big black guy had been shot 9 times with a 9mm; he was cursing the guy who shot him up and down, in a beautifully cadenced stream of vulgarity that sounded strangely poetic.

            He’d been shot three times in the torso–none in the heart–twice in one arm, and four times in the ass.

            I learned two things from that night:
            1) hit the head or the heart
            2) don’t bother with a 9mm, they’re useless little popguns.

            And yes, he kept referring to the “mother-f8cking nigger popped a cap in my ass”

          • Methylamine – you bring up some interesting points. Many years ago I had a coworker that wanted to buy a handgun from me for “self defense” (I was a part time dealer back in the day). So I explained the available calibers, relative “stopping power” and differences between semi-autos and revolvers to him. He said he didn’t want to kill anybody, he just wanted a .25 or a .32 so he could “shoot ‘em a little bit” (I kid you not). So I inquired as to his rationale. He explained that he had been frequenting a “club” across the river in Charles City County on the weekends and, as he put it, the locals weren’t too keen on outsiders “messin’ wif dey womens.” So I responded “So you want a handgun for social purposes?” to which he replied “Yeah. Sumpin’ like dat.” Needless to say I was unable to assist him any further with the transaction.

            In another case, a good friend of mine had taken his wife to the ER in Suffolk and there was a “gentleman” stretched out on the gurney next to the area where they were waiting. The “gentleman” had several small caliber bullet wounds in his extremities and was leaking into a couple of mop buckets that had been strategically placed to catch the blood. A police officer came in, drew the curtain and proceeded questioning the “victim” about the identity of his assailant. My friend said all the cop could get out of Mr. Bullet Holes was “it was dark” and “I couldn’t see him” after lengthy and repeated questioning. The cop finally walked out, looked at my buddy (who was still sporting a Marine Corps haircut) and said what made him mad was this guy would get patched up and go shoot the guy that did this to him the following weekend. Then that guy would be laying on the same gurney, dripping into the same buckets and we’d be paying the bill for it.

            So I will make some observations about this. First of all, the fact that idiots like these were walking around with small caliber handguns did nothing to increase the politeness of their “society.” Second of all, if they knew that they would have to foot the bill for their own medical care rather than passing it on to the rest of us (or at least have to limp home and patch themselves up as best they could), they might be disinclined to engage in the kind of behavior that leads to this outcome. And finally, always carry enough gun to dissuade a potential assailant. A street-wise tough may laugh at a .25, .32 or a “nine”, but nobody laughs at a .45 or even a .357. If you have to use it, more than likely the only cost to the taxpayers will be burial expenses.

      • Shitweasels…heh, that’s a good one and I’m going to steal it. In return, please feel free to steal from my list of insults I toss at clovers and those stupid libbies on other political sites:

        1.) ball dusting trick ass bitch.
        2.) weenie sniffing alley fag.
        3.) load yodeling cum junkie.

    • Brad, isn’t it a curious fact of our society that as the acceptance of conflict resolution via fisticuffs has declined that the popularity of horribly violent sports like cage fighting has increased?

    • Got me to thinking as I do…… I wonder if anyone has thought of public roads as being a cause of increased anxiety such as road rage? The greenies might have some sliver of truth in regard to this.

  18. Here’s an idea someone has probably thought of before. Rather than steal land by eminent domain, like the government does, a private company could pay out dividends to landowners whose land the roads cross. Eh?

    • Exactly –

      Eminent domain is nothing less than the overt expression of the fact that government owns everything – and we, nothing.

    • Lets see if I can overcome this damn infernal touchpad auto correct. Any roads that are built if crossing someone’s property will need permission. Whatever deal they work out amongst themselves is they’re business. The landowner may require no payment maybe because of promised business or exposure. Or the owner could say NO. This idea that roads MUST be everywhere because of there “utility” is hogwash. If you think roads are so great, put your money where your mouth is and build… Like Bill Gates dreaming of a computer being in every home… His dream came true. No coercion involved.


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