The fascist philosophy behind "Click it or Ticket"

Have you noticed the “Click it or Ticket” commercials and billboards going up across the country? The message goes something like “buckle up or pay: it saves lives.” Whose life is the state protecting? Presumably, it is the life of the previously un-buckled driver, as the commercials and billboards usually show young men driving alone, and I don’t think there are many injuries caused by bodies flying out and into other cars.

Why is the federal government spending $500 million dollars to aggressively enforce seat-belt laws? Why do our politicians feel that Americans are neither responsible nor intelligent enough to be concerned with their own safety? Common sense indicates that people are more likely to be concerned over their own safety than a Washington politician. Yet mandatory seat belt laws are one of many safety programs the government enforces “for our own good.”

The premise behind these programs is that individuals are property of the state, to be organized and shepherded for the “common good.” Virtually everything we do today is regulated by government regulations that replace our judgment with politically-mandated notions of what risks we are and are not allowed to take. And why not – if it desirable to the state to control individuals while driving, eating, working, and seeing the doctor, it follows that the state should regulate every other aspect of their lives as well. Without a principled and uncompromising defense of the individuals right to own his own life, we are reduced to being slaves of the omnipotent State, being permitted to live only at the mercy of a bureaucrat’s decision that we contribute to the common good.” What kind of philosophy takes us from Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson to politicians who believe that they have the right to coerce individuals in every aspect of their life?

There are a number of individuals who have taken these premises to their natural conclusion:

“It is thus necessary that the individual should come to realize that his own ego is of no importance in comparison with the existence of his nation; that the position of the individual ego is conditioned solely by the interests of the nation as a whole … that above all the unity of a nation’s spirit and will are worth far more than the freedom of the spirit and will of an individual. …. – Adolph Hitler, 1933

“To be a socialist, is to submit the I to the thou; socialism is sacrificing the individual to the whole.” – Joseph Goebbels (Hitler’s chief propagandist)

“The common good comes before the private good.” – Nazi slogan

“There is the great, silent, continuous struggle: the struggle between the State and the Individual; between the State which demands and the individual who attempts to evade such demands. Because the individual, left to himself, unless he be a saint or hero, always refuses to pay taxes, obey laws, or go to war.” -Benito Mussolini

“Comrades! We must abolish the cult of the individual decisively, once and for all.” – Nikita Khrushchev , February 25, 1956

“All our lives we fought against exalting the individual, against the elevation of the single person, and long ago we were over and done with the business of a hero, and here it comes up again: the glorification of one personality. This is not good at all.” -Vladimir Lenin

“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.” -Hillary Clinton, 1993

“We can’t be so fixated on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans …” -President Bill Clinton

For more, read my One Minute Case Against Mandatory Seatbelt Laws.

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3 Responses to The fascist philosophy behind "Click it or Ticket"

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  2. John

    David,
    I appreciate your zeal to protect individual liberties, but you failed to mention certain facts about the value of Click it or Ticket to each individual in our nation. The “Click it or Ticket” campaign is a program that saves lives and reduces injuries — and thereby saves tax dollars and medical costs. That’s a benefit to every individual tax payer in every state and the entire nation.

    Injuries to people not wearing seat belts cost taxpayers billions every year. People who don’t wear seat belts are often injured far more seriously and incur much higher medical expenses than people who wear belts. Many of these people do not have personal health insurance, and thus, the cost of their medical care becomes the responsibility of their state. Many of these people incur serious brain and spinal injuries that exhaust whatever personal insurance they may have had. The medical care for these people then also becomes the responsibility of their state.

    In 2000, safety belt use saved our nation about $50 billion in medical care, lost productivity, and other injury-related costs. Conversely, not using safety belts cost the American people about $26 billion. Three-quarters of these costs were paid by people not involved in the crash — through insurance premiums, taxes, and uninsured medical cost.

    Unbelted motorists are also a burden on employers. A recent NHTSA study of 1998-2000 data shows that motor vehicle crashes – both on and off the job – cost employers in the U.S. about $60 billion each year. More than $6 billion of this total is due to non-use of safety belts. In an era of dwindling corporate resources, reducing these costs is not just good business, it’s good government.

    If we did not have primary seat belt laws and Click it or Ticket, we would have even higher costs of medical care for unbelted motorists. And many of those costs would become the responsibility of the state, of society…and would be borne by you and me and other taxpayers. It seems to me that result is the exact opposite of what you desire — a society that protects the individual and is less concernred with the common good. In this case, all individuals benefit from Click it or Ticket by sharing in the benefits of the reduced burdens on our health care system and reduced medical costs funded by taxes paid by individuals.

    Your individual choice comes at great cost to the rest of us individuals. If people would truly be able to absorb their own costs for their own medical care for not wearing belts, I might not care as much. At least in that case, your desire to kill yourself by being unbelted in a car crash chose would not affect my individual tax burden.

    Unfortunately, your so-called choice is costly to me and all taxpayers. Perhaps some day, auto insurance companies will begin to charge people like you who don’t wear seat belts a significant extra amount for your auto insurance to reflect the additional costs of medical care for unbelted motorists (just as health and life insurance companies do today by charging smokers more for insurance to reflect their burdens on the health care system).

    However, that change would not necessarily reach the most vulnerable people in our society, teenagers, who wear seat belts at very low levels and do not respond to education messages about the value of seat belts. Young people DO, however, respond to threats of receiving a traffic ticket. We have learned through many ways (research, public opinion studies and injury/fatality analysis in states with primary seat belt laws vs. states without those laws) that even small fines are a greater inducement for many drivers to buckle up than possible serious injury and death.

    The Click it or Ticket Campaign is funded by tax dollars through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This year, about $30 million is being spent on advertising — a far cry from the $500 million number you published in your note. It seems to me that Congress’ decision to invest several million dollars to save tens of billions of dollars in medical care expenses is the kind of smart investment decision we elect people to make on our behalf. If you have concerns about Congressional funding of safety programs, may I suggest you contact your Congressman and Senators.

    I happen to be very pleased that our elected officials care about protecting Americans from threats to our well-being — whether those threats be from foreign terrorists or from our fellow Americans like you who take great risks that affect us all. And I’m also happy to note that more than 65% of Americans in a recent national opinion poll support Click it or Ticket.

    Good luck to you…and for your own safety, may I suggest you wear your safety belt.

  3. So, the solution to the problems introduced by socialised medicine is not to do away with socialised medicine, but rather to further restrict personal freedoms in an attempt to reduce the burden on that already immoral system?

    For someone wanting to exercise their own freedom and not wear a seatbelt, at the end of the long line of tickets, court summons, arrest warrants there is a government representative with a gun, willing to use it unless you comply. All self-protection laws are, in essence: “Protect yourself, or we’ll shoot you.” It’s absurd.

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