Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Tom asks: Center high mount stop lamps were sold as a safety device, with the IIHS saying they would end a certain dollar amount of accidents. Well, lo these many years, how has that worked out? Have we saved huge money because of these? Or were they just the first salvo in forcing saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety on us? Any statistics of how many accidents were prevented? Anyone? Actuaries? Bueller? Bueller?
My reply: I remember when the JC Whitney and other parts catalogs sold the third eye – before the government mandated them in the mid-1980s. As was also true with regard to air bags, almost no one bought them voluntarily because of the obvious value (I’m being sarcastic) and thus government had to learn ’em better by forcing them to buy them.
Neither sold, in other words. They were imposed.
Do either provide any saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety benefit? Not that this is any of the government’s business in a free society, in which the proper business of government is to preserve people’s rights, above all their right to be left in peace – but just for the sake of discussion.
Yes, certainly. Air bags have saved lives. They have also taken them. CHMSLs have probably prevented a few rear-enders – but they have also added ugliness to cars as well as cost.
The benefits of both are potential. If you are an attentive/competent driver the odds of having a serious accident are extremely low; the air bags and CHMSL in such a case provide no actual benefit at all. But they impose definite/actual costs.
And that choice has been taken away from you and I as individuals on the basis of some asserted cost-benefit analysis applied to a collective. It’s just the same with regard to practically everything in this country nowadays. One size fits all – or else.
You haven’t imposed any costs on “society.” You aren’t hurting anyone by doing whatever you’re doing. But the claim that someone might – which is plausible and probably true – negates your former right to be held accountable only for the things you do that impose costs/cause harm on others and be left in peace otherwise.
Someone goes postal and kills their boss over some workplace squabble. You had nothing to do with it; neither did the rest of the people in the state who never shot anyone with their guns. But they are held responsible for what the shooter did – and what future shooters (not them – just “future shooters”) might do.
A careless person fails to keep track of their toddler – or fails to make sure the area behind their car is clear of toddlers – and backs up over one. All of a sudden, every new car must be equipped with a remote-view back-up camera and buzzers that chime whenever someone walks within a few feet of a backing-up car, even though you looked and do see them and didn’t back-up over them.
Healthy people forced to face diaper … etc.
It’s the flowering of a trend that can be traced back to the ’60s, the rise of the Safety Cult. Which has resulted in the loss of not just our freedom but of our functional individuality, defined as our freedom of action as individuals and our freedom to be held accountable only for what we – not others – do or might do.
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
If you like what you’ve found here please consider supporting EPautos.
PS: Get an EPautos magnet or sticker or coaster in return for a $20 or more one-time donation or a $10 or more monthly recurring donation. (Please be sure to tell us you want a magnet or sticker or coaster – and also, provide an address, so we know where to mail the thing!)
If you’d like an ear tag – custom made! – just ask and it will be delivered.
My latest eBook is also available for your favorite price – free! Click here. If that fails, email me at EPeters952@yahoo.com and I will send you a copy directly!