Thursday, June 16, 2005

Click it or ticket

Professor Williams takes a look at government's Click It Or Ticket campaign.
Let's look at it. I personally believe that wearing seatbelts is a good idea, and I buckle up and remind my passengers to do so as well. Because seatbelt usage saves lives, mandating such is an abomination in a free society. There are many other legislative actions that are offensive to liberty and can have saving as their justification, a matter I'll turn to later. But let's talk about the immorality of mandated seatbelt usage.

Let's start with the question: Who owns Walter E. Williams? Is it President Bush, the U.S. Congress, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, or do I own myself? I'm guessing that any reasonable person would agree that I own Walter E. Williams. The fact that I own myself means that I have the right to take risks with my own life but not others'. That's why it's consistent with morality to mandate that my car have working brakes. If my car doesn't have working brakes, then I risk the lives of others, and I have no right to do so. If I choose not to wear a seatbelt, then I risk my own life, which I have every right to do.

I think Professor Williams is right on target.

The question -- "Who owns Walter E. Williams (or Larry Eubanks, etc.)?" -- is a question I think is the first question we should answer concerning many different public policy issues (dare I say all public policy issues?). How would you answer the question? Would anyone want to say that someone other than Walter Williams owns Walter Williams?

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