Why Can’t I Have This?

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A reader asks me why he can’t have a Mahindra Roxor – which is basically a Jeep CJ/Wrangler 4×4 that costs half as much as a new Wrangler. One’s legal to drive on public roads, the other’s not.

So, you can have it . . . you just can’t drive it. Not on “public” roads, that is.

Because the government won’t allow it. The government says it doesn’t comply with various saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety standards – though neither did a Jeep Willys back in the ’50s or a CJ in the ’70s and you could buy – and use on public roads – either of those when it was new. Also air-cooled/rear-engined VW Beetles and all kinds of other vehicles which we’re not allowed to drive anymore on the roads we pay for but which the government asserts ownership over. 

What’s changed?

America used to be a relatively free country – and isn’t anymore.

It was until comparatively recently an extremely free country in terms of cars. Before the late 1960s, the car industry was largely free to build practically anything it wanted to – from pocket-sized BMW Isettas and semi-seaworthy Amphicars to gaudy Chryslers with twin-four barrel V8s – and if people bought what was built, everyone was happy.

There was still liability, of course – for defective vehicles. But otherwise, the vehicles were made to meet market demand and the government largely stayed out of it.

It’s why cars had great big fins and all kinds of different engines and layouts – and ranged from the extremely basic to the ultra-elaborate. A horse for every course – and budget.

But then government got into the car design business. First, with regard to emissions – which were “uncontrolled” before 1967 – and then (the precedent having been established) saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety. Today, the government micromanages the car industry and effectively dictates vehicle design, with the result being that new cars are expensive, homogenous and largely not much fun anymore.

Thus, you are not allowed to buy a simple Jeep-like vehicle such as the Roxor.

It’s not an “unsafe” vehicle, either.

It merely cannot pass the latest battery of crash tests the government requires and lacks equipment such as a back-up camera. Well, a 1990 S-Class Mercedes couldn’t pass current crash tests and also doesn’t have a back-up camera.

Is it an “unsafe” car?

Silliness.

“Unsafe” properly defined means a vehicle that is crash-prone; of unsound design – i.e., defective. A vehicle that is merely light may not hold up as well in a crash – if it crashes. But being light and lacking air bags and back-up cameras does not mean it is more likely to crash.

The distinction is important.

A buyer of, say a Roxor (or an old Beetle and so on) is well-aware that the vehicle doesn’t have eight air bags and that if he runs into a tree, etc., it will go worse for him than if he did the same in a new S-Class. But he accepts this higher hypothetical risk in exchange for the very real benefits of the lighter weight/simpler/lower cost vehicle.

He goes into it knowing what he’s buying.

An “unsafe” vehicle, properly defined, would be one that has hidden design flaws the buyer doesn’t know about that could result in injury to him. And that is a matter for the courts, not the regulatory apparat.

But back to this business of “the government.”

We speak of it – have been conditioned to regard it – as if it were a kind of Oz behind the curtain, all-wise, all-knowing. Or at least, knowing more than we poor fools – and by dint of that superior wisdom, rightfully endowed with the power to act in loco parentis, as a kind of guardian.

But “the government” is nothing more than other people – not (as Bastiat and Spooner observed) a special race of people. That the people who compose “the government” consider themselves a special race does not make it so.

It only makes them arrogant and tyrannical.

Because they have acquired the power to impose their flawed judgment upon us. Air bags, for example, can kill you. A new car with terrible blind spots caused by massive slabs of steel to make it “safe” actually make it less so – because you’re more likely to crash, not being able to see very well.

Kids are left to roast in the back seat because the government has made it illegal for kids to ride up front, where parents tend not to forget their existence.

There are scores of examples of the flawed judgments – and consequences of same – imposed at gunpoint by those people.

Who have acquired the power to dictate the parameters of car design the industry must abide by and force you to buy what they decree, regardless of your own wishes to the contrary. It’s a luminescently arrogant and condescending position – like a parent telling a child that he must eat his broccoli before leaving the table – without the well-meaning aspect.

We are not children and other adults are not our parents.

These people – “the government” – have no more moral right to decree that you may not buy and drive an airbag-less vehicle such as the Roxer than they do to decree that you must eat your veggies. But having acquired the power to decree that you must buy a car with airbags (and many other things) these people – “the government” – have also acquired the power to decree that you will eat your veggies, too.

This hasn’t been globally asserted yet, but it is being asserted piecemeal. For example the soda bans and punitive taxes on the same. In principle, it is the power to force you to eat a “balanced” meal. And to not smoke – and to punish if you do.

This, too, is also already being done.

What’s happened is that busybodies have acquired legal power to busybody. It happened because of general passivity, over a span of many decades. The ordinary people of this country tolerated “the government” – those people – forcing the car industry to hang hideously ugly (and very heavy) bumpers on all new cars, beginning in the early 1970s.

That was the precedent which established the practice.

Having been accepted, more of the same followed and here we are – forced to buy vehicles like the current “compliant” Jeep Wrangler with six air bags, back-up cameras, a bloated, poor visibility interior  . . . and and a base price of more than $28,000 vs. just under $16,000 for the Roxor (see here) sans what those people insist you buy.

Which you would have been able to buy – and drive – anywhere you liked as recently as 1970.

When America was practically a Libertarian paradise compared with what it is today.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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145 COMMENTS

  1. Eric,

    You CAN have the Roxor…maybe.

    If you live in the right state(s), make the necessary modifications and/or are willing to risk the gray area of the law. Unfortunately, Virginia is NOT one of the right states.

    Some states do allow the Roxor on the road, often limited to certain speed limits, although some will even full plate it and allow it on the interstate.

    This does require some modifications; typically a windshield, turn signals and a wiper (even manual). Some states require more.

    There is some evidence that Mahindra fully expected the Roxor to be made road legal, and may have intentionally “built in” the ability to easily add some some of these upgrades. They may have even viewed the Roxor as sort of a trial before attempting to break into the wider auto market.

    The Roxor comes with DOT tires and headlights, and is also wired such that turn signals can easily be added.

    Some people have been able to get the Roxor plated in another state (often a motorcycle plate), again with the necessary upgrades. It seems dependent on the state or cop whether they get hassled.

    On the gray side of the law, there’s others who are pursuing the idea of “what makes a jeep, a jeep?”

    There are parts from CJ2A, 3s and 5s that will literally swap over. Vintage or aftermarket. People are adding CJ windshields, mirrors, etc. Some are even looking at aftermarket Thar grills, which have the Willy’s slotted grill. Some are adding enough CJ parts to register it as the original.

    After all, you cab modify a Jeep or Big 3 truck enough, that it’s barely recognizable, but the state will still register it as the original vehicle.

    Hell, even kit cars like the Cobra replicas, or 30s hot rods, are street legal. In most cases, these need not meet any safety standard not required of the original they’re emulating, and only need to meet emissions if required of the donor car’s engine.

    Still, it’s ridiculous that we should have to go to these lengths, especially given what many states WILL allow on the road.

    The Roxor is no less crash worthy than the CJs with which it shares dna, and arguably more so, what with the integrated roll bar.

    It’s powertrain is also FAR more capable of keeping up with interstate traffic than the CJs every state will happily register and allow on the road. An ecu tune provides even more power. And the diesel actually meets current European emissions standards, though not the US.

  2. Howard,

    Not sure what you think your precious regulations accomplish.

    My home state of New Hampshire has no seat belt law (the only state), no helmet law and no auto insurance requirement. We also have STATE RUN liquor stores LITERALLY ON both major N/S highways.

    Must be exceptionally dangerous for drivers, wouldn’t you think?

    Oh, wait…

    And yet NH has the 6th fewest deaths per 100k population and the 3rd fewest deaths per 100 million vehicle miles.

    Only 15% of traffic deaths are motorcyclists, which is about average for the US as a whole, and matches or beats most of the states with mandatory helmet laws.

    NH does have the lowest observed seatbelt usage, and a significant majority of traffic fatalities are for those who were not restrained.

    But as pointed out above, you’re far less likely to be involved in a fatal accident in NH. And that’s a state that could have snow/ice on the roads anywhere from October to April (May), and is a vacation/tourist destination for those from states notorious for bad drivers.

    Funny thing, liberty…

  3. You libertarians are big on personal property rights and clueless about anything else. It’s fine with me if you don’t wear a helmet while riding your motorcycle, or a seatbelt while driving a car with no doors, but first sign a waver, absolving society from taking care of you in a vegetative state for the next thirty years. Let the vegetables rot – that’s true self-sufficiency.

    • You statists are pretty clueless about libertarianism. What you describe as a “waiver” is exactly what we are talking about – with freedom comes responsibility. We do not expect “society” to take care of us in the first place. We aim to obtain what we need from others through voluntary trade and association, not through armed robbery.

      “Society” does not exist. Only individuals exist. What you talk about “society taking care of” anyone, what that translates to in reality is a criminal gang forcing individuals to do so at gunpoint. That way is endless violence and coercion, the iron fist of the State in a very thin velvet glove.

      All libertarians expect from “society” is to leave us the hell alone to live our lives in peace.

          • His sole post indicates a rather poor comprehension “about anything else.” Apparently our bodies are not property to him. In a situation where our property rights were comprehensively respected, if an accident victim wasn’t conscious and didn’t have any indication of personal medical responsibility on or about them, They’d be taken to the local charity hospital, if there is one. Given awareness of that being the situation, most vehicles would have conspicuous indicators of the membership of the owner in a medical management paradigm that would assure the first responders of compensation for their services, much as can frequently be seen if membership in a private medical air transportation is present and valid. This would be especially the case in locales like mine, where the first responders would call for a helicopter instead of a ambulance, and the member would be transported to the best medical care that money could buy, regardless of whether that was across town or across the state.
            Under modern circumstances, those whose drivers licenses identify them as organ donors get taken to the best harvesting location, especially if they are coding at the scene.

    • So your complaint about libertarians is that you socialists/statists have set up a system that we are forced– at gunpoint– to help fund, but you don’t want to bear the burden of the system you’ve established and actively support if something goes wrong.

      Let me opt out of paying and I’ll expect no one to “take care of” me. Just keep your filthy government off my life and we’ll be good.

    • Howard,

      If property rights were respected and sancrosanct, as they should be (Really, all rights come down to property rights; as the absence of property rights=slavery) there should be no need for a waiver, for it would be impossible to force “society” to take care of anyone- only rather to require that individuals take care of any whom their actions have personally caused harm to.

      Any “care” in an equitable society should only be provided by those who pay for it (Including through the purchase of insurance on the free market), or by those who voluntarily choose to extend benevolence in the form of charity (This used to be common before the state got into the act of controlling health-care and extorting citizens to pay for it through redistribution-of-wealth schemes); or by the person(s) who have caused injury to another through willful act or gross negligence, not related to self-defense.

      You are in fact advocating for property rights, because your fellow collectivists have imposed a detriment to those rights by decreeing that hospitals must treat all without regard to their ability to pay- so why criticizing our defense of the most basic right of human beings, you are in-fact desiring a restoration of that very right, only you seem to be blaming us for the destruction of that right, rather than the authoritarian-collectivist statists who are the ones depriving you and us of those rights.

      • This is arrant nonsense that would fall apart in five minutes in the real world of human beings who are deeply flawed and of varying ability. Any libertarian with whom I have ever spoken has almost immediately started stammering about “but, in a perfect world,” or “the way things ought to be,” or “if everyone was responsible”… Libertarians always believe that they personally are superior individuals who would thrive in a lawless, Darwinian society when, in fact, they would be subsumed in chaos, like everyone else.

        • Typical statist. Your stated concern has been answered, and now you move the goalposts and jibber jabber more nonsense about what you “think” libertarians are all about. Pathetic, really.

          So you believe that “society” should be based on violence and coercion. Armed robbery en masse. At least have the moral courage to come straight out and say so rather than waffling about and spouting errant nonsense.

          • You, who blather about “violence” and “coercion” like to think that your prescription for coexistence among human beings (i.e. society, which you pretend does not exist) would result in anything other than general savagery. The moment someone tougher than you decided to appropriate your property you would be squealing for some coercion on your behalf, asap. Yes, The State does appropriate property, but at least in accordance with some generally agreed-upon rules. Your world would have no rules at all – just fatuous principles that the bigger brutes would ignore.

            • You blather about the State as though it has not in and of itself, as an institution throughout history engaged routinely in the most egregious savagery, oppression, and destruction imaginable. Try picking up a history book sometime.

              Under the iron fist of your object of apparent worship – the State – we ALREADY live in a world of fatuous principles that the bigger brutes ignore; many of those brutes given safe harbor as part of the ruling gang of thieves and murderers that calls itself “government”.

              You also have not admitted to the REALITY that government is totally based on violence and coercion. You may not want to admit that even to yourself, but it is a hard and fast FACT.

              It is also a fact that “society” as you describe it (that is, as an entity that takes actions in and of itself) does not exist. It is merely a euphemism that refers to a number of INDIVIDUALS.

              Many millions of innocents have suffered agonizing torture and death due to the actions of the State, and you sanctimoniously sit here and pontificate about what you believe libertarianism entails. What a pantload.

            • Who pretends society doesn’t exist? It’s like the market– the voluntary interactions of all the humans. It’s the opposite of political government (the state) which is coercive “win/lose” interactions.

              Defense is not coercion, it is defense. And if you use more defensive force than necessary you become the aggressor– doing what you have no right to do. Like when you steal money to fund police.

              I live by rules. I like and appreciate rules. Just not counterfeit “laws” (legislation).

              It sounds like maybe you should learn about things before you jump to erroneous conclusions and complain about the misunderstandings you are burdened with.

            • The State only keeps me from dealing with the bad guys myself. Just today somebody threatened to kill me but instead of making sure right now that he never gets a chance to do that, I have to call the State who do – absolutely Nothing!

            • Hi Howard,

              You make an number of unsupported assertions – and presume to speak for others, who may not agree with you. What gives you the right to force them around to your point of view? I understand you don’t like their point of view; you think “savagery” would ensue absent the coercion of government. Well, that’s your view. It is not necessarily true – and regardless, your view doesn’t give you the right to impose savagery (coercion) on people who merely don’t share your view and only ask to be left in peace.

              • I was waiting for that, Eric! I needed it!

                Their coercive government must always control everyone, and extort everyone- no different than the medieval kings and knights- we are nothing but slaves on their plantation.

                If there were enough moral people in the world so that the sociopaths who fancy themselves rulers would not be able to enforce their rule, people like Howard would still be free to enter into voluntary arrangements with others of their kind who choose to trade their liberties and autonomy for security and such- we could all live as we choose to- But NOooooo!!!!, they must inflict their collectivism upon us, because such systems can ultimately not sustain themselves solely by the participation of those who desire the ‘benefits’ of such a system- so they must demand participation from all, through coercion- and yet, people like Howard somehow think that that organized villainy is the antithesis to ther theoretical unorganized ‘chaos’ that he feels would arise if his system did not exist.

                And yet, his system, in order to maintain the illusion that we would be helpless and defenseless without them, must disarm us, and render us harmless by various means, in order to create a need for itself in the eyes of those whom they deprive of their natural rights!

                It is just a sophisticated “protection racket” in which one pays dues to the supposed protectors, so that nothing bad will happen.

                And notice how his type are always concerned with ‘chaos’ vs. order- as opposed to natural rights vs. tyranny- because they don’t value the liberties of natural rights, like property and self-ownership; they instead value the control of others, even if it means giving up their own liberties, so that they can benefit from the collective efforts of others, instead of having to be solely responsible for their own lives.

                They probably can not see (for the forest) that they are criminals and parasites by proxy- while thinking that the system which they demand adherence to by all is ‘protecting us all from criminals and parasites’- much like when Vito The Guinea tells you to pay your protection because he wouldn’t ‘want’a nuttin’a bad to’a happen to you’, even though the bad that wilkl happen to you will come from Vito’s associates if you don’t pay- while they will provide no actual protection from someone outside of their gang.

        • I live in the real world of flawed human beings of varying ability. Libertarianism still works better here and now than your statism. If you have to wait for a perfect world to be self-responsible then you’re probably a “libertarian” statist. There is no Utopia.

        • You have not been speaking to libertarians.
          1) Libertarians do not claim to have the recipe for a perfect world.
          2) I don’t know any libertarians who believe they are personally superior, aside from their inclination not to initiate violence. In that respect, yes, I do believe I’m superior to John Bolton. But I know I’m imperfect. That’s why I don’t want to run anybody else’s life.
          3) Libertarians are not against laws. Don’t conflate laws with legislation.
          4) If humans are deeply flawed, then why do you want some of them to have the power to boss everybody else around? Is there a special pool of spotless, selfless individuals that we can draw from?

          • How can one accomplish anything for which one has no plan?
            Is a recipe not required to make something edible upon completion?
            Not all violence is violent, most of it has always been simply coercive.

        • So, let me get this straight, Howartd:

          You’re initial complaint was that people should not be able to decide the level of risk that they are willing to take, because the system which they are forced by people such as yourself to involuntarily fund and participate in does not collectively approve.

          And now you are further stating that people en masse are so incapable of running their own affairs and of dealing with the consequences of their own choices, that civilization would cease to exist if we could do so- but yet, somehow those very people are somehow capable of electing a group of morally inferior scumbags who are somehow superior to the people who elect them, and whom they represent; and who will thus save humanity from itself.

          By the way, how’s that working out? (Maybe open your eyes and take a look around at the smouldering ashes of what used to be this country, and society)

          Have you considered the absurdity of these beliefs of yours?

          At least admit- even if only to yourself, that what you really advocate is slavery and communism- for “our own good” of course.

          I would hazard a guess, considering your assessment of mankind, and your lack of respect for their rights, that you are likely employed/were employed as some variety of pig, mercenary or other other rat of a government agency who is paid via what they extort from us “inferior” beings.

        • If “human beings are deeply flawed and of varying ability” then how does an all powerful state controlled by deeply flawed human beings chosen through popularity contest work?

          I am far less flawed and far smarter than most everyone elected to government office. I am lacking in social and sociopathic abilities they have that allow them to win popularity contests. So please explain to me why they should run my life instead of me. Furthermore why should they run it with one-size-fits all dictates? How can these deeply flawed human beings be capable of making the right decisions for millions of people? Even a stupid person knows his own life better than some elected office holder is more likely to make the correct decision for himself.

        • Howard,

          Most of us manage to interact with one another peacefully – and voluntarily. Your premise is that most people are naturally vicious animals restrained only by their fear of the state. That they really want to steal and murder and rape… Well, if most people are like that, why on earth would you hand over monopoly power to exactly such people?

          Or do you believe that the people who go into government are a breed apart and not endowed with the same savage impulses as the rest of us?

          • Moreover, if the population is full of such savages, why aren’t they attacking me right now? Certainly not because the government’s cops are providing real protection. I live in a rural area (not that cops are any more useful in the city), and if somebody means to do me harm, he can come down my driveway any time of the day or night and go for it. The only defense for my family and me is what we provide ourselves. The cops would show up 40 minutes later and write down what happened.

          • It appears Howard has left the building, but I can’t emphasize strongly enough how stupid the idea is that without a government, everybody would be raping and killing and fighting 24/7. I live on the farm that my ancestors settled in the 1860s, where there has been and continues to be virtually no police presence. As far as I know there has never been so much as a fistfight here.

            • Ownership requires conquest and I’m quite sure that your ancestors engaged in conquest to settle a farm that was without legal existence until they put up boundaries that were undoubtedly challenged by the natives that settled said farm before the Europeans arrived to take it from them.
              Perhaps you should explore the concepts of self-government that the late Marshall Fritz expounded, probably before you were aware of living on a farm. If you have an allodial title, it was established by a government. If you don’t, you don’t own the land, you are paying rent in the form of property tax.

              • Hi Vonu,
                No, my ancestors didn’t conquer anybody to get this land; they bought it. Perhaps my use of the verb “settled” led you to think otherwise.
                We do have unencumbered title to it, and I’m well aware that if we don’t cough up the dough every year to fund schools for other people’s kids, they will sell it on the courthouse steps. There’s not much I can do to change the government’s role in the titling regime or the extortion.

                • The only kind of title which can be unencumbered is an allodial one, which you cannot buy or sell like the one you have.
                  Very few records exist for the determination of who obtained the land by conquest, but it is a simple matter of history that it was stolen from the lawful occupants or from someone who had bought it subsequently.
                  I much prefer the title for my vehicular abode, because there was only one previous owner between me and the original Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO).

                  • Most (if not all) the habitable surface of the Earth has been stolen from one tribe/band after another tribe/band by the next tribe/band… over and over again going back thousands of years. Even if the property wasn’t considered “owned”, previous users were killed by new users moving in. Then, someone bought it from the most recent thieves. You don’t even now who it might “legitimately” belong to now if you consider that reality. Not even if you imagine you do.

                    At some point you’ve just got to forgive the past and move on– making up your mind that you will not violate anyone else. link
                    Or, I guess you can make yourself and everyone else miserable with nitpicking.

                    • Don’t forget, Kent, that population has grown exponentially. Even just a few hundred years ago, it was MUCH less than it is today.

                      Only a small portion of the land was actually settled/owned/claimed by individuals.

                      Large areas may’ve been claimed by kings/nations just by reason of being within an imaginary line- but they had no more right to that land (The uninhabited/unclaimed) than anyone else.

                      How much of the land here in the US actually occupied by the Indians? How much of it was even occupid by white men 100 years ago?

                      This makes gov’t look even worse…. That there was so much land for the taking, and yet they still had to take land that was already claimed/settled by others, and displace/kill the owners/inhabitants.

                  • No, it’s not a “simple matter of history.” You are engaging in fanciful speculation; you don’t even know where the land is.
                    I’m not sure what your point is. That I’m a bad person because I own land in 2019 that was purchased by my great-great-grandfather from a willing seller 150 years ago? Okay, sorry.

                    • Hi Roland,

                      I wrestled with this issue for a bit; then realized: Only the individuals actually responsible for wrong actions can be held accountable for them. While it’s certainly not right that – as an example – a piece of land was forcibly taken from Indians by white settlers 300 or 200 years ago, the idea that a white person living today who (obviously) had nothing to do with it is somehow guilty by association and “owes” the Indian’s descendants restitution is risible as well as dangerous because probably everyone could make a similar claim. Some of my Germanic forbears were almost certainly enslaved and possibly even killed by Romans. Do I therefore have a claim on Italians living today to pay me back for the grief visited upon my ancestors? Where does it end?

                      We are responsible for what we do – not for what our parents or great-great-grandparents did.

                • ***”I’m well aware that if we don’t cough up the dough every year to fund schools for other people’s kids, they will sell it on the courthouse steps.”****

                  Yep. The gang of thieves collectively known as ‘government’ has conquered(stolen) some of the land [The rest was never settled by the previous inhabitants of the country]- now we just buy and sell title to it, but we don’t truly own anything….we just pay them for the ‘privilege’ of occupying/using the 1% of the stolen lands/99% of the lands that were just there for the taking.

                  • Thanks, Nunzio. As nearly as I’ve been able to determine, we are “99 percenters.” Other parts of the state were occupied by Indian tribes who were forcefully relocated by the U.S. government, but not so in our immediate area, according to the accounts I’ve read.

            • Amen, Roland! And what a beautiful thing, at that!

              I’m originally from the NYC area, where there is no lack [understatement of the year] of government and pigs….and of course, that is one of the places where both civilian crime, and state-organized crime flourishes.

              By contrast, I now live in very rural KY.. Pigs are a good 25 minutes away, if one were stupid enough to call ’em; Here, I am not prohibited from having the ability to defend myself and my property. Unlike NY, innocent people do not have to live with bars on their windows.

              The fact that everyone here is well-armed, engenders a great respect among all for property rights and personal bounds- even among those who might not otherwise respect such things. Even among the porkers….who seem to acquire a little higher degree of manners when the balance of power between them and the mundanes is equalized.

              It really amazes me how people like Howie can mutter things about chaos and viol;ence running rampant for lack of government, yet in the real world, it is universally observable that quite the opposite is true, as the places where government is most in evidence, are the most chaotic and violent places; while the places with the least government are still functional and safe.

            • Amen, Roland… same here.

              As Nunz already pointed out, areas such as ours are largely free of government (vs. say NYC) in terms of the omnipresence of body-armorered Hut! Hut! Hutters!… and yet, our areas are by far the least violent, the far safer place to be.

    • Howard,

      Libertarians don’t expect “society” – that is, other people – to pay their bills … for anything. They ask to be left in peace to pay their own – and ask that you and others pay yours. It’s a pretty simple idea.

      What’s happened is that some people have decided they have a right to use the power of the government to compel other people to pay their bills, to provide them with material benefits.

      This is a morally outrageous thing. It is literally slavery – i.e., being compelled to work for the benefit of another.

      Don’t take this to mean Libertarians oppose helping others. They merely reject the idea that anyone else’s misfortune imposes an obligation enforceable at gunpoint on others to ameliorate it.

      This is a very important distinction.

      You have no more right to force me to wear a helmet or buy an air bag than I have to fine you if you don’t run at least three miles every other day (as I do).

      It’s good for you, after all. And if you don’t exercise, you might impose costs on “society.”

      That’s your argument, remember.

      Where does it end, Howard? On what basis? Where do you draw the line?

      The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t end. Because almost anything except being dead “might” result in “costs” imposed on “society” . . . and if the principle that someone else’s misfortune (or stupid decision) imposes an obligation enforceable on others to pay for it is accepted, then there is no limit to what you can be forced to “help” pay for.

      The inevitable end result – and we’re just about there – is a society in which no one is free to do anything; in which everyone is micromanaged, controlled and fined to coerce their behavior.

      That may be your idea of a good “society” – and it may be, if you’re a control freak and get off on controlling other people.

      But – as John Fogarty says – it ain’t me!

      • Morning Eric,

        Howard seems like many Statists who spout off on libertarianism while knowing nothing of it but the ridiculous caricatures bandied about by other Statists.

        To paraphrase Murray Rothbard:

        “It is no crime to be ignorant of libertarianism, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be ‘unworkable.’ But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on libertarian subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance”.

        Cheers,
        Jeremy

      • I hear all too often, “People are not responsible or disciplined enough to rule themselves.”

        So I ask, “Who should rule them then?”

        Always, “Governement!”

        So I ask, “Who makes up government?”

        Usually a blank stare….

        So I ask, “Is the government made up of people?”

        Usually more blank stares then blathering rationalizations and irrelevancies.

        So I ask, “If people can’t be trusted to rule themselves, how is it OK to have them rule others?”

        Beyond this I don’t bother. If they can’t see the contradiction, more words won’t help. Some people are beyond the reach of logic and will never break their dogmatic conditioning.

  4. Eric, I love that pic of the AMC ad with the blue & white first generation Cherokee! Now THAT was a Cherokee…when they were real Jeeps! And THEY didn’t flip over when hit by cars- unlike the succeeding generations of Cherokees….

    • I talked to our rural route lady this morning and she said her Patriot has been in the shop for weeks because the computer has gone nuts and all the warning lights are on. She’s been driving her four door Dodge pickup since then. I had just figured that she had traded it.

      Meanwhile our ancient XJ just keeps ticking along (literally, I’m going to try to crawl under and check the flex plate bolts this afternoon).

  5. Not sure if anyone has already commented on this yet, but if you go to the Roxor link at the end of the article, you will see the Roxor promotional video. Apparently, they couldn’t even advertise their product on their own freaking website without Big Brother getting involved! Notice that the driver of the Roxor is wearing a helmet! I very much doubt that wearing that ugly bulky helmet in the promotional video was a voluntary decision on the part of the Roxor marketing team.

    • For this helmet stuff, you can blame the lawyers. Trust me, Mahindra is more scared of some jackass that puts a stick through their eye suing them than they are of the Fed safety police.

  6. The logic is, that if you have to pay more for Safety – poor people won’t buy it. Therefore we have to FORCE every manufacturer to include Safety in all vehicles. (Then they let me ride my motorcycle home)

  7. I am still looking for the problem. All the United States have to do is make peace with Suzuki and import shiploads of Jimnys. Safe enough, obviously, and allowed on the roads all over the rest of the world. Germany is not the traditional third world country with mud, deserts and jungles, but when you are driving one yourself you realize how many of those tiny Unimogs are cruising around even on the highway.
    I bought mine brand new with the most luxurious outfit available in 2015 for less than 15.000 EUR (some 16.500 USD), and I had a lot of fun yesterday playing around with the Roxor configurator (because it reminded me of the Mad-Max-videogame, but spikes and flamethrowers were somewhat missing in the options). After a while I ended with a pretty cute vehicle that could technically compete with my Hoppelpoppel, but had a price tag of more than 35.000 USD. Ouch.
    Being an outsider it seems to me that US carmakers are very good in getting rid of competitors by the use of legal limbo; be it the alleged death trap tipping over Suzuki or the “licence infringement” by the Indian facturer Mahindra (who in fact owns the licence to build Willies for several decades since the 40s in contrast to Fiat; I burst out in laughter learning that). Get rid of the lobbyists, and our world is a better place.

    Best regards from Germany

  8. Our “parentis” are becoming increasingly “loco”.

    If a Mahindra won’t pass the safety standards, I can only imagine what would happen to the late, lamented King Midget. I remember the news stories about a Tata Nano or Nano Tata from India. Seemed to be a reasonably roomy little sedan for about $2000. I can only imagine what our congress critters would say if we asked “Why can’t I buy one”? In Canada, a car enthusiast can import a JDM or other foreign car if it’s over 15 years old. US buyers have to wait until the vehicle is over 25 years. By which time most are battered wrecks with no parts availability. And how does that promote “safety”? Sounds a bit like a protectionist measure purchased by the US auto industry.

    By the way, a lot of gun-control enactments are protectionist in nature. If we could still import Russian Makarov and Tokarev pistols, at surplus arms prices, would Hi-Point or Jimenez even exist?

    Legislation has been proposed to require all private firearm sales to go through a dealer for a “background check”. For a fee. A great way to get the gun dealers on the government side. Again, in the name of “safety”.

    • If we can’t “still import Russian Makarov and Tokarev pistols,” where do my friends who are great aficionado of them get them?
      Gun control issues aren’t based on any other kind of safety than that of the tyrants that don’t want us to shoot them, as was made clear in the Federalist Papers, where the object of all citizens having access to weapons of military utility was made manifestly obvious. We will become much safer after those weapons of military utility have been used to incarcerate and/or dispatch said tyrants.

        • I know tokarev Rifles are banned from import. So the many hundreds that were imported beofre the ban, yes they are at the gun shows but went from $200 to $2500

        • The idea is that, ala the 1984 rendition of “Red Dawn”, that a whole slew of Makarov and Tokarev automatics, along with Kalashnikovs, AKMs, DHSKs, and even a few SKS carbines, aren’t “imported” courtesy of a descending VDV regiment, or, should that fortunately unlikely event occur, they’re met with, as the Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto mused, return fire from “An American, with a RIFLE, behind EVERY BLADE OF GRASS…”

    • The 25 year rule comes from Mercedes Benz. In the 1980s private importers were buying German market MB vehicles which were much cheaper, importing them to the USA, making changes required to be imported to the USA, selling them for less than the MB dealers in the USA and making a profit.

      That’s because of how MB did their marketing, profit margins, base equipment levels, etc. They didn’t like it. Their US dealers didn’t like it. So they had a law made. Of course other automakers liked it too. The marketeers don’t like people circumventing the marketing plans they come with/

      • The irony of it all too. My late uncle back then bought one of those MB. Not only to save money, but to get a model MB refused to sell in the good ole USA. He went out of his way to be a MB customer. Big companies can be sooooo stupid at times.

      • The most despicable part is, they themselves have taken advantage of the gray market to “test the waters” with new models, both before (560-something) and after (“Smart” car) their law went into effect. So all the little people get to miss out on their favorite car that the other manufacturers don’t see as being worth selling here, but they can do whatever they want and it won’t be a problem.

      • I remember seeing ads for these cars when I was stationed in Charleston, SC. There was a big importer down there, Penrod Simmons, IIRC, who had listings in the paper all the time; they featured German marques, especially MB. They cars were priced below what the local dealers could sell ’em for. They were called ‘gray market’ cars.

  9. Several states have already taken steps to reassert their rights by legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes, so it shouldn’t be too much of a reach for some of them to legalize “illegal” vehicles by titling and registering them for use on roads inside those states. Since the CDL has already been similarly modified to allow some truck drivers to operate within their states of residence until they have been granted their full national rights to do so, it shouldn’t be a big deal for the same states to restore their own citizens’ rights within their states. Maybe it would catch on and embarrass the federal government into doing what it should never have stopped doing in the first place, guarantee all of the states a republican form of government, as it is charged with doing in the Constitution.

    • I know some states are not only doing ‘Constitutional carry’ (i.e. no CCL needed); there’s at least one that passed a law OBVIATING all federal gun laws within its borders! David Knight says and I agree, that if we’re going to get our rights back, it’ll be at the local and state levels; he says that the marijuana issue shows us the way, since 2/3 of the states have allowed medical MJ.

  10. Actually I believe all the regulations are about using men with guns to squash your competition. Take air bags. American car companies know and direct the regulators. They say secretly “next year – pass a law immediately requiring airbags in every car”. Now, all the american car companies have a heads up. They source and engineer the airbag stuff. When the regulation is announced they are ready to go. The Japanese and all the others have to play catch up.
    Regarding the Roxor – Mahindra could market it for use on road without needing to pass safety regs. As long as it passes emissions – you can make and sell 3 or 4 hundred “Replica” CJ5’s a year. This is a relatively new law. I foresee a big company like Mahindra that sells “parts” to small replica car manufacturers around the country. You buy the pieces of a 66 ford truck, bolt it together and sell 400 of them a year. If I had any capital I would go to India, hire a lawyer – and start that business up.

  11. We’ve all seen the extreme ends of this safety spectrum. The fedgov never met a safety reg it didn’t like, even if that reg is downright dangerous. On the other side is Eric, whose position is that if a pice of safety equipment adds even a couple of pounds, thus decreasing visibilty, manuverability or even fuel economy one iota, he does not want it!

    I wonder where in this spectrum we might find the greatest consensus.

    For instance, I really like, and will gladly pay for seatbelts, airbags and anti-skid brakes. But I DO NOT LIKE active cruise control, self steering cars, and the bulking up of frames to the point where they significantly impede outward visibility.

    What about you guys? Are you on the lunatic fringe with Eric? 😉 Or do you like some safety items while hating others? It would be interesting to see which safety gear is the least…and the most popular.

    • Hi Mike,

      I think we’re actually in agreement . . . in that I don’t oppose any of this “safety” stuff . . . as such. I think it all ought to be available – freely – for those who wish to buy it. But none of it ought to be mandated; forced on people.

      Then we’d see what the market would bear!

      • Good point Eric. “Optional” would be optimum. But let’s go hypothetical, and assume buyers did have these choices. Which safety options, if any, would you purchase for your personal car?

        I shared my preferences above. Am curious to read yours. 🙂

        • Hi Mike,

          For me, “safety” means a car with good brakes and steering, that handles predictably, even at the limit – and which has good visibility all around.

          That’s the only “safety” I’m interested in.

          I wouldn’t pay extra for seat belts, even – because I don’t use them.

          • “Predictable” handling is almost a given in new cars. Sort of an indirect by-product of the “safety” agenda. Some cars offer much better. But it is promoted as a “performance” feature.

            Sadly, bad visibility also has become almost universal. Again, a by-product of “safety.” A questionable development that buys structural safety at the expense of accident avoidability. I too, would skip it if that were possible.

            Now we could buy much older cars with big windows. But generally, they won’t brake or handle as well as newer. And we wanted those things, right?

            So going back to your options list……..you’d check the box for “disc brakes,” and that’s about it??

          • Eric,

            “I wouldn’t pay extra for seat belts, even – because I don’t use them.”

            But you begrudgingly pay to not use them.

            In this day and age where the cops may just kill you for an imagined crime…

            Of course you also ride a motorcycle so some might think of you as a devout organ donor. 🤭

            • I became a devout wearer of seat belts at the same time that I became a devoted safe driver. My first vehicle was totalled in an accident that, other than two sore arms, I was totally unharmed during. A friend who accompanied me on that trip was resistant to putting his seat belt on until I made it a requirement of his riding in the vehicle. He became a committed user of selt belts thereafter.
              I have never seen a charge for seat belts on any new car invoice, but they have undoubtedly saved more lives of those who use them than those who refuse to.
              Here in Wyoming, the single largest vehicular fatality statistic belongs to solo male drivers who rolled their vehicles, sometimes over themselves. None of them would have made good organ donors because they were cold long before most of them were found, making their organs non-viable.

              • Hi Vonu,

                I’ve never denied that wearing seatbelt generally (but not always) reduces injuries in the event of a crash. But that’s not the issue. The issue is being forced to buy – and wear them. I run and lift weights and eat reasonably because I know that by doing so I am likely to be healthier and to live longer (though not necessarily, as with wearing seat belts). But I would never be so obnoxious as to demand that people be forced to exercise and so on – which is exactly what is being demanded by those who insist I “buckle up” and buy the buckles, too.

                • Eric,
                  As a libertarian, I would never advocate that anything be legislated that didn’t harm another. My advocacy is strictly common sense.
                  Have you ever considered that being forced to use allopathic medicine instead of alternatives constitutes a far more harmful situation than having common sense safety equipment available? Many of the morbidly obese eat less calories than they burn and still gain weight because of the chemicals in everything that we eat and drink.
                  According to Dr. Sherry Rogers, who cured herself of MCS that she emerged from medical school with, says that all diseases are caused by two things: malnutrition and toxicity, both of which can be resolved with proper nutrition. Exercise is addictive if it isn’t productive.

            • Hi T,

              Like everyone else who owns a car made since about 1965, I am indeed forced to have the damned things in my vehicles. But I studiously avoid using the damned things and have been able to “get away” with doing so because VA is not (yet) a primary enforcement state.

              Seatbelt prickery annoys me to berserker anger. These pricks should be forced to maintain a “safe” body mass index and fined for not exercising three times a week. If I were a prick like them, I’d insist “there oughtta be a law”!

          • Eric,

            Seat belts have saved my bacon a time or two. They allowed me to walk away without a scratch, so I’m a big believer in them; no matter how short the trip, I buckle up. I feel naked if I don’t have ’em on. So yeah, I’d gladly pay to have them.

            • Hi Mark,

              Certainly!

              I run for basically the same reason; it keeps me healthy and also saves me money (on quacks and pills). But I would never presume to require that other people run/exercise – and threaten them with punishment if they fail to “keep fit.”

              Seatbelts aren’t the issue. Busybody-ism at gunpoint is.

    • Or better yet, give people the choice. I come down with Eric. The government should have any say in what type of vehicle I drive or what options it has. You on the other hand believe the rapist when he says he will only put the tip in.

      • Hi Bob,

        I’ll raise you… how about premiums based on their record of claims? I’d like someone to explain how anyone whose actual driving record is accident/claim-free can be other than a “safe” driver.

      • “They should just charge more for insuring vehicles without all the saaaafety crap”

        Why?

        Who is the ‘safer’ driver? One who is engaged and attentive or one who is disinterested and letting the car psudo-drive? How many ‘accidents’ have happened recently due to ‘safety’ features failing to work as advertised?

        After 40+ years in vehicles that have zero driver aids, zero accidents. But I should pay more?

        As Eric said, how about rates based on actual risk assessment and history?

    • Even their own actuaries will report to those who ask them that accidents where seat belts were worn have smaller payouts, usually as a result of very limited medical components, than those where they aren’t. Given the very limited cost of universally installed seat belts, those same actuaries would be able to tell you that the cost of putting seat belts in all vehicles is easily exceeded by the cost of providing medical care to those who refuse to wear them.

  12. “America used to be a relatively free country – and isn’t anymore.” Why? Because of the propensity of elected or (non-elected) government officials, politicians and otherwise to seek more power and authority. Anyone involved in government is a control freak to some degree. We have had all these safety features and whatnot added to vehicles over many decades and yet the costs of insurance still rise. The cost of ownership still rises. Who is safer? The person who drives responsibly driving a non-government approved vehicle or the reckless driver driving a mandated safe vehicle? Eventually, all governments fail. Our is well on its way down that slippery slope. And there is now no turning back.

    • Amen, Tom…

      My Trans-Am is almost 50 years old; I’ve owned it for the past 25 and haven’t been in a single accident yet, despite the absence of every modern saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety feature. It’s not a daily driver? Ok, how about my ’74 Beetle – which I drove to work every day in DC traffic for several years… in the ’90s. No injuries, no accidents.

      Besides which – and I know you know this! – my saaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety is no one else’s bidness. I’m a grown man, not an idiot child.

      • Right there. I’ve driven my 63 Valiant Signet for 38 years, most of that in Los Angeles and never felt “unsafe”. It has aftermarket belts, something that I have used since driver’s ed.

        Opted out of an ION with ABS as I know how to brake and the Cavalier I had with them just made a lot of noise and I cannot claim the sense of “saaaaaaafety” and purpose was ever significant.

        Blessedly both the Valiant and the 86 Olds have no tracking devices, no nannies [well computer controlled throttle body] and no boxes to rat you out to your insurance brownshirts.

        If I want a rear view camera for the 05, I can get one. Choice like not taking ABS.

        All three cars are well maintained, have good tires, good brakes and are driven in a sensible manner: within the limits of their design. They aren’t abused.

        • I take the Valiant has a 170 Slant Six and “three on the three”? Or does it have the venerable Mopar A904 automatic (“baby Torqueflite”) with the PUSH-BUTTON shift?

          Not only is that engine and drive train virtually “bulletproof”, once you get the hang of doing an annual tune-up, you can do so in a few hours for about thirty bucks in plugs and points/condenser kit. A lost art, TUNING an engine. If the carb needs a ‘rebuild” (new float and needle/seat, gaskets), add another thirty bucks and the rest of the afternoon, and you’re good for another 60K miles. Cap and Rotors, just check ’em, every 24K to 36K miles, again, about ten bucks for a cap and five for a new rotor.

          With better oils, the old 90 days/3,000 mile oil change is not needed and just wastes product and money. If the slant six has good compression and no blow-by, with a modern SN 30W (or 10W-30 if you live where it freezes in the winter) you can go six months or 7,500 miles between oil and filter changes. Just squirt the PCV valve (commonly wrongly blamed and really should last about five years), check the vacuum hoses for cracks and tightness at the fittings, and also the heat riser with the special lube (a can costs about five bucks), and you won’t experience cold stumbling! Also, if you’re hanging onto the Valiant, it might not hurt to get a spare Carter Ball&Ball carb and rebuild it, the cost is modest and you can swap it out in less than an hour and rebuild that “spare” at your leisure. Also consider, especially if the exhaust system is on its last legs, converting to “Dutra” (Doug Dutra, a Slant Six expert) dual exhausts, you’ll add at least ten horses to that motor!

          • Man those things were just about unkillable as long as you could keep the tinworm from eating them up. I remember when they were everywhere but they’ve all but disappeared in the salt belt. Usually the death-knell was when the torsion bar anchors rotted away.

            About my only complaint on the Slant Six is that the distributor is a little tough to deal with, tucked a bit under the leaning tower of power. A Pertronix kit would alleviate the need to mess with it.

            • And the oil bath given to the right side of the engine changing the inverted spin-on filter (position the drip pan just a little wrong and driveway oil puddle!)…and the “hot” valve lash adjustment requirement…otherwise, one of the greatest engine designs ever.

              • The engineers couldn’t make the stock PH8A (or Mopar equivalent) used on all the Mopar engines fit between the engine and the K-member if it was with the filter boss facing down. The shorter PH16, which became necessary with the 3.3 and 3.8 OHV V6s and the 4.0 OHC V6 that I had in my Pacifica, works fine with any Mopar engine that uses the PH8 (it’s simply shorter but the other specs are the same), so it’d have worked if the filter boss were reversed. However, Mopar was even in 1959 pinching pennies, hence why the DeSoto line was already being pared down and on its way out (the last DeSotos were 1961 models, but in reality were leftover 1960 models sold in only one trim).

            • You can easily swap an aftermarket Accel electronic distributor, but even a 73 and on stock Mopar unit will work just fine. Mechanically it’s the same piece. A dirt-simple conversion.

    • Most of America’s lack of freedom is attributable to its citizens failures and refusals to take advantage of the many advantages given them by the brilliant men who wrote the Constitution, something which one of them, Thomas Jefferson, knew they would do when he wrote that “(t)he spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless. A single zealot may become persecutor, and better men be his victims. It can never be too often repeated that the time for fixing every essential right, on a legal basis, is while our rulers are honest, ourselves united. From the conclusion of this war we shall be going down hill. It will not then be necessary to resort every moment to the people for support. They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights. The shackles, therefore, which shall not be knocked off at the conclusion of this war, will be heavier and heavier, till our rights shall revive or expire in a convulsion.”

  13. You’ve probably written about this but keep in mind that states are always flirting with expanding strict liability laws to casual sales of used cars like the offers you see on Craigslist. Since, as a seller, you may be held strictly liable for a “hidden defect” that you couldn’t have known was there, despite having advertised the sale “as is,” there’s a potentially expansive market for sellers insurance. Just the other day came an email from my insurance agent. “Wait! Before you sell that car…”

  14. As a lover of small, cheap, city cars; I am obviously at a loss of options here in the USA – even though many of them are made and sold over much of the rest of the world. I understand and accept the risk of driving such cars, and I drive safely, never having had a vehicle accident of my own fault (I have been rear-ended twice years ago) in my last 50 years of driving. If we were allowed by our overlords to purchase and drive such cars in this country, I certainly would be driving them. As it is, I’ll continue to drive my Toyota Yaris hatchback until the wheels fall off, and then maybe I’ll consider a Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, unless something more interesting to me comes along in the meantime.

    • Hi Kitty,

      Amen!

      After college, I drove a ’74 Beetle every day in DC traffic. It was a very safe car in that I suffered no injuries while driving it, despite the absence of any air bags and so on.

      The safest car is the one that never crashes.

      The Safety Cultists will eruct: But you might have been hurt if you crashed! True enough. I might also crap my pants – but don’t wear Depends because I judge the risk of that happening to be small. And it’s my business to assess risks as regards my person.

    • Ditto … my 1970 Dodge Dart daily driver has been happily chugging along minding it’s own business (and mine) for nearly 360K miles with nary a a problem or accident …

      Go figure … I had no idea what a time bomb the government considered it to be …\sarc

      • Good to hear.

        It’s why I hated that IIHS carnival stunt ramming that 09 Malibu into a 59 Chevrolet.

        Funny, until that freak show came to town, the 59 had survived without ever finding itself in a situation such as that.

        Funny as well was the head of the IIHS claiming he wouldn’t put his family in a [turn of the century I think] F 150 because it was so “unsafe”.

        And how many hundreds of thousands were sold, drove billions of miles and are still on the road without incident.

        I despise these people.

      • Between the self-interest auto makers and dealerships resenting that you keep that Dart going after nearly HALF a century, e.g., they’re not taking more bites from YOUR “Apple” (no pun intended), and the self-appointed “protectors” of the “environment” whining about the “Carbon Footprint”, and the likewise self-appointed “Safety Nazis” deeming your ride “outmoded” and therefore, simply due to age, not any supporting science or field data, a “hazard”, you’re a real THREAT to all those that for whatever selfish reason can’t just leave you the FUCK alone!

  15. I’m with you 100% on liberty and cars we were (and still should be) able to buy. Roxor isn’t the answer for a Neanderthal like me, though. Drop the turbo and the electronic glop and install a hefty inline six. Why sweat emissions when the thing isn’t street legal anyway?

    Enfield of India went to fuel injection on their motorcycle and the talk is it isn’t very reliable. Maybe they switched because of emissions, but the point is I don’t trust Indian electronics. I like to fool myself into thinking I could maybe fix carburetion and the like in a pinch.

    • Hi Ross,

      My bet is the supplier of the FI is Bosch; it’s not like in the old days when each manufacturer often used its own brand-specific carburetors (e.g., GM and the Quadrajet, Ford and Autolite).

    • Piratically everything if not everything that burns fuel and can be bought new has emissions regulations. Just because it isn’t street legal doesn’t mean it isn’t regulated in that regard.

  16. That the US federal government and about 26 state governments operate outside constitutional law should no longer be questioned. They do. Yes, it’s criminal, and no the government wankers are not above the law inasmuch as they think they are. And no, we never asked them to build a police state around us. But they did so anyway.

    “The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves.” — John Locke

    Our social and business problems always come from government and the bigger the government, the bigger the set of problems. And there are still some who would want a one world government. Really? Are they crazy? No, they want to become the rulers of everyone else.

    “There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters” ― Daniel Webster

    • The bottom line is and aways will be, are we safer now than we were in the 50’s and 60’s in our cars? Do seat belts save lives? Do improved door latches on cars that stop doors from flying open in an accident save lives? Do collapsing steering columns, and padded dashboards, and dual servo master cylinders save lives? Of course they save lives. Are we willing to pay the price for these safety features? What is a life worth?
      The fine for not wearing your seat belt in Pennsylvania is $200. People only started wearing their seat belts because of this fine. It might be that the government is acting like a parent because we refuse to grow up.

      • “because we refuse to grow up.”

        And who gets to decide what is right, for a grown up? You? Some carpetbagger? Anyone other than the individual in question?

        Freedom is the right to make your own bad decisions. Slavery is not having the choice.

      • “Are we willing to pay the price for these safety features?”
        Since we are forced to pay for them whether we want them or not, we will never know.
        Assuming that without government mandates today’s cars would have none of those features is as dumb as assuming that without NASA there would be no computers or powdered breakfast drinks.

        • And now, ICBC the British Columbia monopoly mandatory vehicle insurance racket, has decided to introduce ‘safety feature discounts’.

          The push to remove the ‘unassisted’ cars from the road has begun.

          https://apps.icbc.com/change/default.html
          “Vehicles with original, manufacturer-installed autonomous emergency braking will be recognized with a 10 per cent discount.”

          So pretty much guaranteed, lane departure warning, lane assist, and the rest will all be added and used to make newer cars cheaper to insure than the old ones without all the nanny BS. And of course the next step will be to charge a surcharge on cars based on NOT having the nanny crap. Never mind if you have manged not to run into the back of another car for your entire life in an unassisted car.

          Also note the requirement that it be ‘manufacturer-installed’. No retro fitting so basically we are now on the road to eliminating by financial hardship any car made before ~2010.

      • Hey Oskar! “The bottom line is and aways will be, are we safer now than we were in the 50’s and 60’s in our cars?”

        No. Just no. I have no idea where you came up with that idea, but it is the mark of an infantile life view, a truly undeveloped sense of identity and responsibility. Let me fix it. “The bottom line is and always will be, are we LESS FREE now than we were in the 50’s and 60’s in our cars?” And please note that I am not claiming that freedom includes the act of harming other people. Saying that someone, somewhere, MIGHT hurt someone else is not, in and of itself, justification for restricting my freedom.

        You say, “It might be that the government is acting like a parent because we refuse to grow up.” I never authorized the government to act as my parent, and besides, who is this “we” you speak of? It certainly does not include me.

  17. When my daughter was killed in November 2015, she was driving a brand new car with all the airbags and other safety equipment and was wearing a seat belt. Those things were worthless. She was not “speeding” or driving under the influence of anything, nor was she texting.
    The guy who crashed into her was apparently impaired, and checkpoints and all the anti-impaired driving “laws” were also worthless.
    Safety “laws” are just an excuse to molest you and me, an excuse to violate our liberty; not a way to make us safer.

    • Yes indeed a powerful statement … in 1990 my parents were in an accident on a back road in Maine … my Mom was wearing a seat belt and my Dad was not … guess who survived the crash (my Dad). My Mom did not because she could not exit the crumpled car as the seat belt would not release and yes, the Caddy they were in also had worthless airbags …

    • The day my daughter died– after her death but before anyone had gotten in touch with me to let me know– I had posted something on FB against sobriety checkpoints. Later I saw that and said, yeah, it’s still true. My daughter’s liberty was violated every day of her 24 years… and for what? Life is risky. No one gets out alive. I would have rathered she had total liberty all her short life than a police state to make her “safe”, which can’t actually do that anyway.
      I still hurt. Most days it’s just an ache in the back of my mind. Other days it gets worse. But my personal pain doesn’t change reality. Those who give up essential liberty for the illusion of safety get neither.

    • Indeed the safety the state provides, especially through enforcement, is an illusion at best. But it will not be your version that gets traction. It will be if the government controlled people a little bit more someone would be alive today. Never mind all the deaths that result from the control. We are not supposed to see those except when they fit other narratives and then only in the confines of those narratives.

      Now the question comes up would automakers do the basics if the government didn’t mandate them? Customer demand and private standard bodies would likely bring about the basics. Would have there been the side impact beam that kept my ’75 Ford together when the semi hit it? I would like to think so even though the pre regulation years didn’t have it. But I look at more modern cars where I have gone inside the doors and never found a door beam as stout. Some designs may preform about as well while others clearly won’t.

      An example that sticks in my head about the mediocrity of government regulation is the Ferrari F40. Everywhere else it got racing harness. The sort of thing that allows a race driver to crash at triple digit speeds and live. In the USA it got automatic three point belts. Why? Because government demanded X not something better, Y.

    • (1) My condolences for the untimely loss of your daughter. In all this, let’s not forget what’s important.

      (2) There’s few practical ways to engineer absolute safety between vehicle design and legal limits. Sure, we can go back to the Nineteenth century “Red Flag” laws (sound familiar), where a motor vehicle was limited to 2 mph, and had to be preceded by a walking man wielding a red flag to warn passerby and horse-drawn vehicles. Of course, THOSE laws were intended to stop development of motor vehicles, as both the railroads and the livery industries wanted to stifle competition. The methods have changed, but the interests are still the same…stifle FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

  18. Uncle deflecting the blame from him to an inanimate object. Cars, we’re told, are inherently dangerous and indeed unsafe. “Just look at the statistics,” Uncle says. “Think of the children!” some cry. But there are cars in existence that are over 100 years old and have never been in a fender-bender, let alone a fatal crash.

    Of course the difference is the driver. And the driver starts with the training. Driver training in the US is a joke. But it is under the control of the states, not the feds. So issuing a global fatwa isn’t possible. But because of the commerce clause Uncle can force manufacturers to make their product “safer” to make up for the defective driver training.

    • Hello RK
      Commerce Clause:
      Congress shall have power “To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes

      Where is the safety fatwa section?

      Regulating commerce between States, Nations has nothing to do with the safety of products. There is no way the founders could have had this in mind. It’s just more Corpgov BS with a black robed stamp of approval.

    • The sad part about that is that, allegedly, the interstate commerce clause wasn’t even intended to become what it has. Much like with the “well regulated militia”, it was intended merely to allow the creation of a uniform ruleset for the states’ dealings with each other – not to allow FedGov to stick its nose into literally any object that crosses state lines.

      • Exactly right, Chuck. They used “regulate” in the same way I do when I say, “Uncle Billy eats lots of prunes to regulate his digestive system.” The intent was to keep commerce moving by overruling any trade-crippling measures that states might impose.

        • Hi Roland,

          Yes, exactly. “Regulate” in its original meaning meant to remove impediments – not increase them. It’s defeating that this has to be explained to people. I point out – in the context of the 2A – that if it was the intention of the founders to “regulate” guns in the modern sense, why is it a fact that there were absolutely no regulations or restrictions applied to the possession of firearms at that time?

          • But Eric, words no longer have definite meanings to the moron majority.

            Words are now defined by whatever the morons ‘feel’ they mean. It is why productive and rational conversion is impossible with the stupid. They are not hearing what you say, they are hearing what they want.

          • Yep. I’m retired, but this very minute I am engaging in interstate commerce by communicating with servers in who-knows-what states, and viewing ads for products from all over the planet. By the modern interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause, they could make a rule that says I have to wear a pink shirt and green necktie any time I use my computer or buy a can of peas at Walmart.
            The Constitution is long dead. They might as well save some paper by editing it down to one sentence: “The United States government may do anything it feels like doing.”

  19. The thing of it is, these people have this power, as in force from the point of a bayonet or the barrel of a gun. It is not legitimate/consensual, and if the only legitimacy is superior force, then I would humbly submit that those rules will be adopted by everyone as their personal lines of no further retreat are crossed. When the “routine traffic stop” and the “safety roadblock” become decidedly unhealthy, AND the enablers in the courts begin to see the consequences of their actions, then there will be change.

    Until every sovereign individual decides to exercise his right and do his duty to defend self, family, property, and culture, the evil trend will continue and grow.

    Unfortunately, too many people get a permission slip to buy and carry their personal weapons, thinking this is somehow the same as the right to keep and bear arms little if any inferior to those used by the military. It is most assuredly not. If you accept the need for a permission slip, or allow them do deny you current military weapons, then you are ceding them legitimacy they simply do not have.

    The usurpers who currently pull the strings of power are afraid of us. Thus the attempts to muzzle, to disarm, to intimidate those who won’t put up with their agenda. They think by co-opting free communications with Fakebook and the like, they can shut us up, and that by going after American Rifle owners they can make us back down. It has never worked and ultimately wont here either.

    Until the roadblock fears a drone strike, they will continue. And if rule is by force, then the drone strike is at least as legitimate as the state’s enforcer’s actions.

    • Obtain and read “Unintended Consequences” by John Ross. It is available as a free PDF or can be purchased. In it are history lessons, law lessons and a way to “take back” our society.
      When this book was first published, sellers were routinely harassed by ATF, DEA, FBI, and other “alphabet agency” types.
      It’s a good read…

  20. Michigan allows vehicles to be registered as “assembled vehicles”. I had no problem titling a M-151 military jeep. It was titled without any difficulty. A “vehicle identification number” was assigned to it. My insurance company wanted to see it, but they had no problem with it either.

  21. As the owner of a 1952 Willys CJ3A I feel compelled to point out that Willys is the make and Jeep the model, sort of. The models are up through 1987 are all CJ’s ranging from 2 to 8. But I digress. Simply put, just as you would not call it a Focus Ford it is not a Jeep Willys.

    None of the above detracts from the validity of your argument.

      • I recall from somewhere that Ford made basically identical Jeeps for the government, along with many other manufacturers. Also heard Ford ‘Jeeps’ had ‘Ford’ stamped on every part for the ones they built.

        Any knowledge on this?

  22. Any end runs with “special construction” type title? You can still do kit cars… how does that work? Maybe you could “kit” the Roxor somehow? Think somethin akin to the “80% lower”…. I might think this method holds the most promise.

    What about hacksawing the VIN plate off an old Willy’s and bolting it onto the Roxor? Farm Use plates?

    • Hi Tom,

      One could probably “get away” with it in areas that aren’t – yet – as under-the-thumb as say DC or LA or NY. I am pretty sure I could “get away” with it in my area, as there aren’t (yet) any emissions test requirements and I have friends in low places as regards “safety” inspections…

    • Hi Tom
      No,,, IMO,,,that is how the parasites slowly got absolute control. Every time a new fatwa came out people would opt for a way to get around it rather than tell corpgov to shove it where the sun never shines. Ever so slowly corpgov reduces the size of our corral with more and more fatwas. Now it’s so small there’s barely room to move.

      Our young have been indoctrinated that government has power over everything and thus with each new generation winding their way through the indoctrination camps, aka schools, the fatwas become normal and government becomes a powerful god. This is emphasized by the Gestapo like law enforcement where cops can do as they wish and be protected by the government they serve.

      The ever so slow totalitarianism is now becoming evident by just looking at who is running for government offices. The American Bolsheviks are coming out of the closet now thinking they have enough support,,, and they just might have! Once they get in power,,, it’s Katy bar the door. It’ll make Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot look like choir boys.

    • “What about hacksawing the VIN plate off”

      IIRC, a felony. Does not matter if it is your car or not, stolen or purchased legally.

      But every fucking thing is illegal now, unless done by the rich or political class.

      • Who is going to know, unless the car is subject to investigation? I would have no problem doing it. If stopped by police, the VIN matches the license plate and registration. As the polices’ main job is to issue traffic tickets, you should not have a problem.

        • Sure, like anything, as long as you can get away without scrutiny, fine.

          But say some idiot hits you, totals your car and the insurance inspector notices the rivets on the plate are not ‘correct’ so, claim void and the federal hammer comes down on you hard. Likely the accident suddenly becomes your fault simply because the car was not legal to be on the road. Insurance people will look for ANY excuse to not pay.

          I know of one person here in Canada that already had something similar happen. He had several trucks in a fleet, all basically identical. Put the plates on the wrong truck and had a single vehicle accident. Insurance company denied his claim because the VIN did not match the insured plate even though the ‘right’ truck also had the same insurance and wrong plate.

    • A lot of Willys jeeps (car, truck, jeep, jeepster, ) had/have no easily discoverable serial number. Often on the inside firewall behind something. This predates the “VIN” thing. Just FYI.

      • Yeah I don’t remember exactly when the under the windshield VIN thing started but I’m pretty sure even American cars/pickups didn’t have that in the 1960s.

      • Every single Willys has a data plate on the dash (even the military variants) – and MANY of these data plates have been removed and pop riveted onto another one lol. I also have a Military MB and you don’t need any plates. You can register it with any number you like. We just made up a number.

        • Down at the courthouse they didn’t laugh ’cause to type it up took the whole staff, and when they got done the title weighed 60 pounds.

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