Gut Rumbles

May 15, 2003


Deep-thinker Dawn Olsen was torn between her "nagging libertarian" and her dictatorial instincts when she pondered government's heavy-handed role in our lives. So, she did a lot of research to determine the truth.

I asked Eric if he felt the government had the right to enforce seat belt laws, since drivers are in their own personal property. Why should the government or myself for that matter care if a moronic driver is too selfish or stupid to not wear their seatbelt? Eric's answer was simple, the government's job has become one of legislating the stupid and their primary objective is to look out for the well-being of society as a whole. Seatbelts save lives and saving lives is good for society.

There you have it. Truth in a nutshell.

This is, of course, the same wise, all-knowing, all-caring government that gave us CAFE standards, which killed tens of thousands of people, and the same wise, all-knowing, all-caring government that mandated air bags, which ALSO killed a lot of people, mostly children.

How can the government "legislate the stupid" when GOVERNMENT IS STUPID? The CAFE standards were a political sop to raving environmentalists and anti-energy freaks (let's talk about STUPID PEOPLE, why don't we?). Mandating the miles per gallon a motor vehicle must get forced auto makers to build lighter cars, which crushed like beer cans in collisions and killed a lot of people who would still be alive today if they were riding in a heavier car.

The same thing goes for air bags. Drive a heavy car and wear a seat belt, and you DON'T NEED AN AIR BAG. That brain-fart by the stupid to "protect" the stupid has cost a lot of lives. I don't need that kind of protection from my government.

This is the same government that, in its benevolence, set up a welfare plantation that's lasted for three generations, the same government that banned DDT and sentenced millions to die from malaria because of one lunatic woman's book and the same government that fights a senseless and useless "War on Drugs." Who is "stupid" here?

But that's okay, Dawn. Eric is correct. Big Brother knows best, so just shut up and do what he says.

(By the way, if you haven't noticed, I am feeling MUCH better now.)


You're right, but there's a positive side to the seatbelt laws (first off, I think there should be sb laws for kids, because any parent who'd put their baby in jeopardy because of a fender bender deserves to have their asses fined).

The people most likely to be too stupid to put on a seatbelt are likely to be poorly educated in gov't schools.

Thus, they're more likely to be on the bottom rung of the economic scale.

Thus, they're more likely to have no health insurance.

Thus, in case they wreck their Camaros, the taxpayer finances their emergency room stays.

However, if said idiot buckles up simply because it's "the law", we're less likely to pay for their medical bills.

Glass is half full!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Ricky on May 15, 2003 05:21 PM


Posted by: BABS on May 15, 2003 06:01 PM

Seatbelt laws suck.
Motorcycle helmet laws suck.

Actually, let's just say that all the fucking nanny laws suck. Let me go to hell in my own way, I promise not to take any of you with me.

Posted by: zombyboy on May 15, 2003 06:29 PM

I hate nanny laws. The government's involvement should begin where the lives and safety of other people begin, not where mine begin.

Personally, I wear a full face helmet while on my bike, and racing harnesses in the car, as I've seen what not using them can result in. But, the decision should be made by the individual.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on May 15, 2003 07:26 PM

Babs, baby. Two words:

Caps Lock.

Posted by: McGehee on May 15, 2003 07:49 PM

So figure this one out. Ohio has a seat belt law, but no motorcycle helmet law.

Posted by: Ravenwood on May 15, 2003 08:02 PM

Ohio's the same state that gave you George Voinovich, Dennis Kucinich, Marcy Kaptur, and Jerry Springer. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: Ralph Gizzip on May 15, 2003 09:18 PM

I'm in favor of changing seatbelt laws. I'll vote for making it so police are able to stop scofflaws for seatbelt offenses alone.

Sorry, guys. I hate Nanny-state laws, but seatbelt laws save lives. 21 years as a paramedic says so, in case you're wondering from whence I speak. I've seen HUNDREDS of folks that would have reduced or eliminated their injuries, and DOZENS of teenage lives ended for lack of a seatbelt. (I work in a Trauma Center.)

Acid, I agree. Airbags by themselves aren't as effective as a combo with seatbelts, and in many cases they're worse than nothing.

As for the "don't make me wear my seltbelt, and I promise not to take you with me" crowd, it doesn't work that way. If you're rattling around the inside of your care instead of sitting behind the wheel controlling it, you are as likely to run into me as just kill yourself.

Posted by: Patrick on May 15, 2003 10:39 PM

If I'm "rattling around the inside" of my car, I already lost control and I'm taking you out, anyway. You're just rationalizing wanting to put restrictions on me that shouldn't be your choice.

Life can't be childproofed. Hell, life shouldn't be childproofed.

re: "but seatbelt laws save lives"

Smoking will kill you in the long run more surely than driving without a seatbelt will. Should smoking be outlawed?

Overeating will kill you in the long run more surely than driving without a seatbelt will. Should overeating be outlawed?

Lots of laws would save lives if enacted, but it doesn't make them right. That's just an excuse to ride your ass right down the slippery slope to the nanny state. Fuck that.

Posted by: zombyboy on May 16, 2003 12:03 AM

I always wear a setbelt. Always.

I despise seat belt laws. I'm a strict evolutionist. Seat belt laws are a drag on humanities' gene pool. Fortunately, stupid people are resourcefull, and most of them find other means of offing themselves.

Posted by: Byna on May 16, 2003 01:25 AM

The slippery slope argument never wins with me. Every subject needs to be evaluated on it's merits. Other slippery slope arguments (ie: gun laws, abortion) are easily refuted with facts. There are literally no facts that argue successfully against strict seatbelt use. There is the odd anecdote, but for every "I know someone who was thrown clear" I have a dozen "I know somebody who was crushed" story.

Sorry, but this one is where I draw the line. Everyone has a subject area of particular passion to them, and I've seen too many preventable (again, literally hundreds of teenagers whose parents were ambivalent on the subject and did not provide rational guidance) injuries and deaths. And my little trauma center is only one of hundreds across the country that sees the same things.

As for culling the herd, if it were only 35 year old's offing themselves, I wouldn't be so engaged. I suppose you can cack yourself in any way you see fit. But when your teenager sees that dad or mom thinks it's OK to drive without using provided safety equipment, your right to suicide has just crossed the line.

Posted by: Patrick on May 16, 2003 07:21 AM

Hey Ralph, don't forget, Ohio also gave the world the Wright Brothers who, as we all know, is THE "root cause" of 911.

A Cincinnatian

Posted by: CraigL on May 16, 2003 08:08 AM

Everyone has the right to be stupid, until it's your 16 year old.

As an EMT: Seat belts and air bags save lives. Society, you and I, pay for the stupid people who don't use safety equipment. Either our insurance rates go up, or our taxes, because somebody pays for the guy to be fed through a tube for the next thirty years.

If you can ensure all of the following, feel free to not wear your belt.
1. I won't have to come and scrape (literally, been there and done that) you off a guard rail or try to save your life from mutiple traumatic injuries.
2. I won't have to pay a penny, in any way, for your health care.
3. And, lastly, you won't serve as an example for a young person who isn't old enough to know better.

Posted by: Chuck on May 16, 2003 10:06 AM

re. Seatbelts Save Lives.

Sure they do and probably being encased in a bubble would save lives too.
People use the slippery slope argument because it is so often true. Geez it's happened with these seatbelt laws. First you would only get a ticket if they pulled you over for another violation. Now they want to be able to ticket you for the seatbelt alone. Does nobody believe in Liberty anymore. It is my damn life. I should have the right to be responsible or irresponsible by my own free choice. This whole nanny state BS is a slippery slope. Who's life is it, mine or the state's.

Posted by: BillE on May 16, 2003 10:32 AM

Patrick, again, you're missing the point--it is a fundametally personal decision that should not be left up to a government. I don't dispute that they save lives--I point out that many other laws that could be passed would save lives as well, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those laws should be passed.

Breaking out the "it saves lives" argument is like saying that you want to be my fucking babysitter. You just happen to draw the line in a different place than some other babysitters do. Well, my feeling is that I don't need a babysitter, I don't want one, and I didn't post a job opening for one.

Slippery slope arguments most certainly do work--not every time, but they do work.

Chuck, it's your job to scrape me off the road if I die. Live with it. As to point 3, then, again, why don't we outlaw overeating, smoking, and drinking? Surely those are bad examples for kids, too, and, again, much more likely to be bad for one's health. Actually, come to think of it, that goes for points 1 and 2, as well.

What is the difference between those issues, Chuck? Smoking and drinking in particular?

Child seat-belt laws make sense--force people to protect children in their care. But adults get to (or should) make choices for themselves.

Posted by: zombyboy on May 16, 2003 10:49 AM

Would you apply the same "my life" argument to the 17 year old cheerleader who responds to peer pressure that it's uncool to wear their seatbelt? Or the 15 year olds in the back seat of the car? Because in the last year I was two dead 15 year olds and a 17 year old cheerleader with a crushed pelvis from the rollover.

OK, I'll compromise with you. At age 21, when it's OK to have a beer, it's also OK to commit suicide by vehicle. Before that, it's stop and ticket on sight.

Sorry, but this is not a nannystate argument. This is a matter of public safety, just the same as unsecured guns (yes, I'm a card-carrying NRA member) and alcohol and medications are.

And when the uninsured biker who splatters his melon against the guardrail and is ventilator dependant for the two years he spends wasting away until he dies, it's on your dime (you have insurance, so you pay for his medical care when your next inpatient Tylenol goes up to $18.)

You can argue that it's your body, but when I have to pay for things you do TO YOURSELF voluntarily, it becomes my right to ask that you be restrained from doing so. I don't believe in paying for welfare for the electively-stupid.

Posted by: Patrick on May 16, 2003 10:57 AM


It's an entirely different argument for people who are underage. Society does not deem them responsible on their own. But an adult should have the liberty to make their own mistakes without the government looking over their shoulder.
Your argument about paying for people who are injured has some merit but I would point out that this is one of the big problems with having government pay for insurance, welfare, etc. Also, I would argue that I would rather pay for these idiots care then lose my freedom. You can always earn more money, but you will never get your lost rights back. You are deluding yourself if you think it will stop at seatbelts. The state will find many more ways to protect us from ourselves. As Reagan said, We're from the government and we're here to help are scary words indeed.

Posted by: BillE on May 16, 2003 11:09 AM

Ralph, you forgot James Traficant.

Posted by: Ravenwood on May 16, 2003 01:22 PM

Laws mandating seat belt compliance, while well-meaning, are practically non-enforceable. I also think they're just one more pebble on the beach of the nanny-nation, aka America. I feel the same way about helmet laws and just about any other prohibition on (essentially) private, individual behavior of adults.

In today's market, if some fool insists on purchasing, then operating a questionably safe or inefficient vehicle, I say let them and hold them responsible through 'passive' punitive measures like higher insurance rates, gas taxes, driving restrictions and (yes) tort limits for the privilege. I don't believe the gov't should invest energy in protecting folks from themselves (which would also apply to prohibitions against euthanasia) versus protecting them from each other.

Slap folks w/ $2.50 per gallon gas and watch how fast all the soccer moms drop the SUVs for minivans. Then watch how fast the car manufacturers bring hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles to market.

Posted by: MIB on May 16, 2003 01:38 PM

MIB: Your gas-tax argument is a little flat. People don't buy cars for the sum of their parts, they buy them primarily for practicality and for psychological reasons. You can fit five kids in it. Or it's a tank, and as such the wife and kids are safer should they get into an accident. Or it goes really fast and looks cool.

There could be a $10 per gallon gas tax and I still would drive a modified sports car that gets 10 miles per gallon on a good day, because I really don't give a shit what it costs. I enjoy it. I would not enjoy driving a slow ass econobox hybrid.

Welcome to freedom of choice. I think I'll take that over government mandated "punishments" for enjoying life as I see fit.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on May 16, 2003 09:08 PM

Good lord, Babs, in your zeal to give me your resume' (why does everyone think the internet at large is anticipating their personal accomplishments?) in all caps (ugh) you overlooked the aspect of tongue-in-cheek writing.

Here's an example: don't call me names.


Get it?

Posted by: Ricky on May 16, 2003 10:34 PM

I am currentely working as a nanny.
Monday-Friday's 7:30am-6:30pm
i get paid $350 weekely, with taxes taken out. I am NOT paid over time, and i am NOT paid for the use of my own vechile.
I am also their maid, i do ALL the heavy and light housework.
I am very unhappy at this job but i am committed their until May 2004. I want to leave.What should i do?


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