Wednesday , April 1 2020
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The Dignity of Risk

Summary:
A reader took issue with me over my recent column about papier mache cars. He argued that: “Cars and bumpers and hoods can be replaced. You cannot. Sure you can be repaired but given the large number of traffic fatalities, this can’t be ignored. Future generations will wonder at how we as a society/planet tolerated such huge dangers. Thousands dead each year.” I am not suggesting people drive cars that are less – or more – crashworthy. I merely suggest that they be free to choose for themselves. Obesity and diabetes “kill” thousands, too. Should the government be empowered to fine people who eat too much candy? Or to threaten everyone with fines who doesn’t exercise regularly? Some people (e.g., the loathsome Michael Bloomberg)

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A reader took issue with me over my recent column about papier mache cars. He argued that:

“Cars and bumpers and hoods can be replaced. You cannot. Sure you can be repaired but given the large number of traffic fatalities, this can’t be ignored. Future generations will wonder at how we as a society/planet tolerated such huge dangers. Thousands dead each year.”

I am not suggesting people drive cars that are less – or more – crashworthy. I merely suggest that they be free to choose for themselves.

Obesity and diabetes “kill” thousands, too. Should the government be empowered to fine people who eat too much candy? Or to threaten everyone with fines who doesn’t exercise regularly? Some people (e.g., the loathsome Michael Bloomberg) think so! And they think so because it empowers them to control others. To control everyone.

I think differently.

I think a free man has the right to assume the dignity of risk; to weigh for himself the pros and cons – and to accept whatever consequences (good and bad) flow from his choices. To not be controlled – and to control no one else.

This is freedom. This is liberty.

No one else is harmed thereby – unless the idea that someone else’s poor choices impose an obligation enforceable at gunpoint upon others who had nothing to do with those choices is accepted as morally legitimate.

I can think of almost no doctrine more vicious or evil. To be held responsible for harms caused by others; to be restricted – and punished – without having caused any harm to anyone else.

Whom did I harm by driving a ’74 Beetle for several years after college? The car was incredibly flimsy in terms of its ability to protect me in a crash. But I never did crash the VW  – and so its crashworthiness was irrelevant. A hypothetical benefit I chose to forgo in return for the actual and tangible benefit of a very light (just 1,600 pounds) and very simple and very inexpensive car. Those attributes mattered to me, as a young man with not much money, much more than the car’s hypothetical “crashworthiness.”

Nowadays, young people without much money are denied that choice.

What gives anyone the right to tell another adult that they may not drive a certain type of car – or that a car must meet their standards?

Are we children? Property?

Are you?

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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