January 20, 2005
If it was April Fool's Day, I would swear this was a hoax. Amazing.
I think this somewhat analogous to advocates promoting smoker's rights. Many often die from chronic conditions secondary to smoking.
I do have mixed conceptual feelings on making seatbelts mandatory to wear. I think it's a personal right, even though most evidence proves survival in near-fatal accidents. It shouldn't be illegal not to wear one. I think this is a breach of personal liberty. If you decide not to wear a seat-belt, it will not have a negative impact on someone else. I have personally responded to an accident scene in which the seatbelt more than likely caused the death of the victim by trapping them in a car on fire. This is why I have mixed feelings on this subject. As for me, I always wear mine; however, it should not be the law!
"If you decide not to wear a seat-belt, it will not have a negative impact on someone else."
This is a common view of libertarian stances on various issues. The problem is that this guy not wearing a seatbelt ultimately will have a negative impact on the rest of us. We don't live in a society where it's every man for himself. One way or another, we're all on the hook financially for bad decisions made by other people.
Say this guy in the story didn't die, but wound up instead paralyzed from the neck down. Would he have the resources to support himself for the rest of his life? Or would we all be paying for his care and comfort through tax dollars and increased insurance premiums?
Here's my own libertarian stance on this. Ride around without a seatbelt if, an only if, you can keep a million dollars in escrow, just in case you need it to pay your bills incurred from getting into a car accident without taking necessary precautions beforehand. If you can't meet such a requirement, and you plan on making use of the publicly financed "safety net" if/when you find yourself in dire circumstances, then you must play by certain rules.
OTOH, if someone can show me that people who wear seatbelts in accidents are more likely to wind up impaired for life, while the seatbelt nonusers typically die instantly, then I'd be in favor of repealing seatbelt laws.
Thanks for posting that. At least the guy had the courage of his convictions....