Reader Question: Is it That Bad?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

John writes: Christ, Eric, it ain’t that bad. Where I live (PA) nobody pays attention to speed limits anywhere, whether on urban streets or on the interstates.  The only bad element of driving around here is the utter lack of lane discipline – people routinely drive in the passing lane, often well below the speed limits (such people should be shot on sight, or at least dragged out of their cars and beaten with tire chains); sadly the cops rarely stop such loutish dolts. Of course this is compensated for by the almost total absence of gun laws – one can get a CCW just for the asking, as long as one hasn’t killed anyone in the last five years. The only better place is Wyoming,  wherein my two bros live. There are practically no gun laws at all in WY – you can carry openly, concealed, in your boot, or in your glovebox. Another feature of WY if a total absence of crime, violent or otherwise.  There are also near-zero violent minorities and those who do live there do so precisely because they enjoy the security of being able to go anywhere without fear of being mugged, beaten, or hassled by rogue cops.

My reply: Of course, “that bad” is relative!

Relative to the America  of 20 years ago – which  I can remember – America today is very bad. Relative to what’s maybe coming, though, the America of today might be fondly remembered as halcyon era of goodness.

Point being, there is almost always good – and bad – in every time and everywhere. The measure, I suppose, is a combination of what we were used to  and what we feel gypped of.

For me, the outspurting of myriad petty tyrannies – especially thinks like seatbelt and helmet laws, mandatory insurance laws and the like – have made ordinary living markedly worse than it has ever been . . . in my lifetime.

Of course, in prior lifetimes, one might have been jailed for writing the stuff I do, almost every day. Palmer Raids come to mind. So you’re right – it ain’t that bad.

I’m merely hoping it gets better rather than worse!

. . .

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6 COMMENTS

  1. The 60’s in rural Texas were times I can’t help but recall and regret didn’t stay. There is probably a 1,000 fold of laws now compared to then. A little petty theft and that was about it for crime. Of course things changed for the worse when Nixon declared a war on people. Cue The Fugs!

    • It started becoming awful around the country, though the cop worship was beginning in earnest with some segments of the population during the late 1970s, early 1980s. It was a reaction to lenient sentencing of some of the 1960s thugs. By the mid 1980s, it was palpable. Not like today, but still. I sense today the pendulum is beginning it’s swing the other way with legalization of marijuana taking hold in many states and the attention on police behavior in high profile shooting cases (mostly white on black). Even conservative people are slowly awakening to the reality of a police state.

  2. Pennsylvania speeds because the penalty for speeding is so high that most cops aren’t going to bother until you are way over or flagrantly in violation (drag racing in front of a cop, for example). In states where it’s more a revenue generation tool you are much more likely to be pulled over for minimal excess.

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