The Privilege of Driving

by | Jan 10, 2004 | POLITICS

It is often said that driving is not a right, but a privilege. As such it can be extended and revoked at will, by those vested with the granting of the privilege, a government. The question that must immediately strike anyone is, “What gives the local governing authorities the right to designate driving or anything […]

It is often said that driving is not a right, but a privilege. As such it can be extended and revoked at will, by those vested with the granting of the privilege, a government. The question that must immediately strike anyone is, “What gives the local governing authorities the right to designate driving or anything else, a government granted privilege?” The answer is quite simple, their audacity and your complicity.

Think of the ridiculous nature of the assertion that driving is a privilege. Is government a parent that we hire after we leave our real parents? I hope not, but increasingly things that are our rights as human beings are being made into privileges granted and revoked at will by governments all over the United States and the world.

Automobiles were an invention created by the genius of individual men working in concert all over the planet without the muddling hand of governments to “help” them out. Of course when the first cars were produced many people were content to stick with their horses and donkeys, but eventually, as the technology got better and the prices came down, people were more willing to try out one of the new machines. Over time they discarded their workhorses in favor of their cars.

All of this proceeded quite naturally in the free market with numerous producers making and improving automobiles to the point where people wanted to buy them. It did not take long for the problem to arise, with all of these new drivers out on the roads, for these cars to hit one another.

Now in a society of private property this presents no problem, insurance or no insurance. The two or more parties involved in the wreck can either solve it right there on the spot of the accident by the offending party admitting his fault and agreeing to pay for the damage he caused. Or if the altercation cannot be agreed upon, it can go before the appropriate judge to decide who is at fault, through the help of witnesses and the like.

The point is, as a property altercation, which is what a car accident amounts to, assuming no one is killed, the remedy is quite easy to come by and obviously the incentive of all parties is to drive cautiously so as to not ruin one’s own property and also not to have to pay for the ruined property of others.

Government, not content with its adjudicating role, then inserts itself where it has no authority or right to. Starting this infringement, every driver, to be able to use his or her own property, must be licensed by the government to do so. Then they must pay a registration tax of some sort to the government for being so audacious as to buy a car. Next, every driver must purchase automobile insurance, which is a direct piece of corporate welfare to insurance companies. The net effect of all of this ends up contradicting the stated purpose of the intervention to begin with, supposedly to make the roads safer.

For what does the government know of driving that anyone couldn’t figure out in a few days behind the wheel? Obviously nothing. But people have accepted that governments have some sort of mystical driving encyclopedia that makes them qualified to hand out licenses to drivers. These licenses create a psychological security that should not exist. Meaning that since this all knowing group of chaps has given me a piece of plastic certifying my good driving skills I must actually be a good driver! Granted not everyone is this foolish, but a great many are and as a result they are more careless on the roads.

Another government-enforced component of careless driving is seatbelts and laws requiring you to wear them. This promotes carelessness for obvious reasons, as the perceived benefit of wearing seatbelts decreases the perceived negative of an automobile crash.

So why do governments engage in all of these activities? Because people say nothing about it. Many people think it is such a fine and dandy thing to be given their piece of plastic from their pseudo-parents that they don’t even contemplate other methods of dealing with careless driving or the idiocy of the government system now in place.

It also reaps enormous profits. All any given government has to do is build some ramshackle buildings and put some unionized government employees in there to make the rest pf us stand around and take tests and get different pieces of plastic that all cost money and waste valuable time. Or we can stand in other lines to get flimsy pieces of metal that cost even more money so that the government can know who has what car or cars at any given time.

It is useful to have all sorts of information about people if you are in a government. In case the time ever arises where certain people need to be put away, you can immediately know where they live or what car(s) they might be using to get away.

This is not just some paranoid delusion on my part; this country did throw thousands of many perfectly innocent people into concentration camps at the beginning of World War II just because they happened to look Japanese. No tyrannical governments spring up from nothing, they are built over time and no modern tyranny could survive without knowing as much as possible about every single person to which it plans to dictate. Driver’s licenses are just one in many such government schemes that could be done away with provided a number of people woke up and smelled the proverbial coffee.

Alexander Marriott is currently a graduate student of the early republic at Clark University in Worcester, MA. He earned his B.A. in history in 2004 from the University of Nevada - Las Vegas, where he was an Op-Ed columnist for the UNLV Rebel Yell. Marriott grew up in Chicago and lived in Saudi Arabia for four and a half years and has resided in Las Vegas since 1996.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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