It is said – that is, we are told – air bags “save lives.” Well, yes. They do save some lives. Other lives have been lost as a result of air bags, though.
Government decides who lives – and dies.
Here’s another: Daytime Running Lights (DRLs).
These always-on headlights are now ubiquitous. They have been standard equipment on GM cars for decades (since the early ’90s) and it’s pretty much impossible to buy a new car that doesn’t automatically turn on its headlights even on the brightest summer day – when you need headlights about as much as a fish needs a bicycle. It’s true that in some new cars, you can turn the DRLs off. But they’re default on unless you turn them off.
And most people just leave them on.
Ok, but how does that make the roads less safe? Bear with me a moment.
GM sells (and builds) a bunch of cars in Canada, where DRLs have been mandatory since 1989 (see here). Someone in the guts of GM’s accounting department realized that it would save the corporation a bunch of money for GM to build all its cars with DRLs rather than build cars bound for the U.S. without them and those slated for sale in Canada with them. And because GM – especially late 1980s/early ’90s GM – was the 800 pound gorilla of the car industry, what GM did others tended to do.
And, they did.
Suzuki, Subaru and Toyota have been DRL’ing it up since about 1995. DRLs have been mandatory in most of Europe since 2011 – which takes care of Audi, VW, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Fiat.
In Sweden – birthplace of the odious Safety Cult – they’ve been required since 1977.
Allegedly, this increases safety by making cars more visible.
But how about motorcycles?
That’s “unsafe,” wouldn’t you say?
Especially given that bikers are a lot more vulnerable than drivers. An accident involving two cars at 25 MPH is a fender bender. An accident at 25 MPH involving a car and a bike can be a life-ender.
For the biker.
But then, his life is valued less by government, which picks the winners and losers.
If you’re older than 40, you will remember that once upon a time and not so very long ago, it was easy to spot a bike – even at a distance – because the bike had its headlight on. And because cars did not (unless they were part of a funeral procession). In traffic, especially, a bike with its headlight on compensated for the narrower profile and reduced visibility of the cycle.
Then along came Uncle. Or rather, whatever cartoonish icon they have in Canada to represent the power of the state. Ditto Europe and Japan.
DRLs haven’t yet been mandated here, but it’s a moot issue given that DRLs are de facto standard equipment (whether you want them or not) because of the government pressure to build DRL-equipped cars for most markets. That pressure ends up with all cars DRL-equipped. I’m pretty sure every new car currently sold in the United State (singular on purpose, in the interests of editorial accuracy) has DRLs. Not because consumers clamored for them. But because governments forced consumers to buy them. Supposedly, to make the roads “safer” … for cars. But bikes got lost in the shuffle.
Who speaks for them?
Like the people killed (and many more badly injured) by air bags, their lives were deemed (to paraphrase another Uncle – Joe Stalin) a “statistic.”
Also – less lethally – the costs involved. DRLs are not free. Which you’ll discover when the array of LED DRLs your new car has burn out. They increase energy usage, too. Your DRL-equipped car burns a bit more gas than it would otherwise, to keep the lights on all the time.
But the main point I’m trying to make here is the sociopathic nature of government, which coldly disposes of other peoples lives(and money) without the least compunction or twinge of conscience. What matters to government is policy. That is, power. The intoxicating rush that comes to diseased minds (and blackened souls) from being in a position to order other people’s lives like so many pawns on a chessboard.
An ordinary person – one not yet afflicted by the disease of power lust – would recoil from any decision that involved creating winners and losers, the losers losing their lives. Governments issue such decisions glibly, casually – every day. And the more they issue, the less they care about the human individuals who bear the costs and consequences.
The fact is that both air bags and DRLs – and probably a lot more such besides – would never have become mass market items absent meddling with the market. This speaks volumes about the true value of these items – “value” being a subjective whose only true measure is what people are willing to pay for it.
Bad enough the market’s been twisted into a Byzantine mishmash of corporate statism and lingering fumes of free choice. But the fact is people are dying as a result.
And the fact that others are “living” doesn’t help the dead much.
Throw it in the Woods?
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