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.