Today I drove past a team of cops who were staking out Gratiot for seatbeltless drivers. What utter nonsense. What utter tyranny.
It occurred to me then, as it has occurred to me now, that the whole idea of a victimless crime is absurd.
The strong arm of the executive branch (e.g. the police) of a "good" government exists, supposedly, to execute the laws of the land--so it's not the cops' fault: they're only doing their job, which I why I didn't shout out of my window that they were a bunch of *insert inappropriate gerund* fascists. It's the legislative branch that exists, supposedly, to create laws. Thus, police cannot really be blamed for a bad law. It's the legislators who are to blame.
According to John Locke's "Social Contract" (a contract that I have yet to sign), the law-making powers of the government (i.e. legislative powers) exist in order to protect our rights to be secure in life, liberty, and property (i.e. that no one will kill us, injure us, control us, or deprive us of what is properly our own--exempting taxes, of course). All other actions can be deemed as tyrannical (i.e. going beyond the government's contractual jurisdiction, and thus interfering with our rights as free men).
Who is harmed by my deciding to drive (or ride) without a seatbelt? No one is harmed, of course. Surely I might be injured, in the event of an accident; but I am my own master. The government is empowered to protect me from others, not myself. I have every right to risk my own safety on the streets, just as I have every right to consume copious amounts of Twinkies. Eating Twinkies is certainly a risky choice (inasmuch as health is concerned), but it's my choice. No one else will be harmed by my increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. What's different about the seatbelt?
I can only conceive of one organization empowered to tell me to wear a seatbelt, and that is my insurance company. Should I not wear a seatbelt and incur injuries because of my neglect, my insurance company would be within its rights to refuse coverage--supposing that it had required that I wear a seatbelt as part of our contractual relationship. Under this scenario, I am encouraged to wear a seatbelt, but not threatened with violence--and whether you like the idea or not, the police mean violence: hence the guns, clubs, and cuffs). Should I not wear a seatbelt, I assume the physical and financial risks. No one else is hurt.
Why would the state presume to step in on this? There are two reasons. First, they have been paid off by insurance companies that don't want to be in the business of telling their clients what to do. Second, the state just wants to get money ($65 for a ticket).
Since insurance companies have had no problem stipulating conditions for coverage in the past (e.g. no-smoking clauses), there is no reason to suspect the prior assumption. Thus, this whole "Click-it or Ticket" mumbo-jumbo is little more than a scam, a way for the state to extort me for more money. I do not dispute that it is a wise idea for me to wear a seatbelt, but it's my decision (just as it's my decision to eat healthy foods in lieu of unhealthy ones).
Think about it (and I apologize for this argument being so disjointed--it really is off the cuff). If the government's powers exist simply to protect me from others, upon what basis to they presume to have jurisdiction over my decision to wear a seatbelt? The same is true for many currently illicit decisions.
If I'm not violating someone else's right to life, liberty, or property, then I should be left alone--even if I am an idiot.
I don't see prostitutes, but, if I wish to exchange money for sex, who is harmed? I might contract an STD or get into trouble with my wife, but that's my business. Similarly, I do not snort cocaine, shoot heroin, etc. But, if I did, who is hurt? If my job performance lags, then my boss can fire me. Hell, my boss should be able to say, "If you want to work for me, you'll stay away from drugs," and he has the right to require drug tests. If I don't like that idea, then I don't have to work for him. Honestly, it's not my job. It's my employer's. If he wants to forbid me from watching 24, for whatever reason, then he can do so--and fire me for an infraction. Again, if I don't like it, then I won't work for the guy. In the end, competition over good employees would render such conditions nonsensical. Smart employers only care that their employees are productive. However, in theory even ridiculous conditions for employment are valid.
Seriously, this crap with the seatbelts needs to go. It is not befitting of a free society to tolerate such tyranny. It shouldn't matter if you think it's a good idea and are willing to allow cops to check you. You don't have the right to tell me what to do with myself. Leave me alone, for goodness sake. If my insurance company wishes to make my coverage dependent upon seatbelt usage, then I'll have to live with it (or live with the consequences). That's their right, just as it's my right to look for insurance elsewhere (as if I'd find it, for wearing seatbelts is a pretty damn good idea) or ignore my insurance clause and face the financial consequences (supposing, of course, that I survive to face them).