Speed limits are limiting my freedom!


OK, I admit it–I love to go fast. So when the local city council keeps lowering the speed limits, I get frustrated. The argument is always “safety,” so it’s hard to find fault, and I know I need to drive safely, yet I sense my rights are being taken away under false pretenses. What should be my Godly response?
∼ Chris


Dear Chris,

OK, we admit it. One of us does like to drive faster than the other.  Much faster.  Wild horses couldn’t force us to disclose whether it is Rabbi Daniel or Mrs. Susan.   That said, one of us can relate better to your question, and again we’re not saying which one.  Though it might seem trivial, you are actually asking quite a serious question.

First of all, we are wary of any added regulation, taxation or restriction on previously acceptable behavior that is proposed for safety reasons or ‘for the children’ or   ‘to help the environment.’ These tend to be code words for, “We want to do something that most people will find objectionable unless we lead them to think that they are virtuous for supporting it.” (Please see Tower of Power if you are troubled, confused or titillated by that statement)

This isn’t to say that car accidents between vehicles traveling 35 miles per hour are not less lethal than those between cars going 65 miles per hour.  They generally are.  However, if we would ban cars altogether and demand that people only get around on bicycles, we would have even fewer fatal crashes. Accidents would be even less dangerous if we only walked.  Each year America endures about 30,000 road fatalities.  Nobody is seriously talking of reducing that to zero.  There is a trade-off of safety for other benefits. Unless we talk of the drawbacks of lower speed rates and have an honest conversation, citing safety is a facetious argument.

Having said that, we do support the general idea of needing to follow the law of the land.  If one of us, and we’re speaking hypothetically of course, broke the law of the land specifically in regard to speed limits, we would accept the fine if we were caught. However, we think we detect a realization in your question that at a certain point an increasingly tyrannical government is turning us into mindless serfs. After all, was an added tax on tea actually the reason thousands of people rebelled against England?

We suggest following the speed laws and contributing the money you save on traffic fines to people and organizations who are fighting to retain liberty in the United States of America so that we do not need another bloody revolution.

Happy motoring,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin


PS:  One of us, and we’re not saying which one, knows of a few really great remote scenic roads around this country of ours where you can safely let her rip.

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