Mr. Peters writes:
The point is not whether something is (or isn’t) in your own best interests. It is who should have the final say? You? Or Big Momma? When we turn 18 and achieve legal adulthood, in theory at least, we are supposed to be masters of our own destinies — and our right to choose (for good or ill) sacrosanct — at least, so long as we’re not harming anyone else in the process.
Electing not to wear a seat belt surely falls into that category. We may be injured (even killed) in the event of an accident. But the only person directly affected in that event is — us. And please, no nonsense about “society” or the effect on loved ones. The same could be said — and then some — about sedentary, overweight people who choose to risk an early death from atherosclerosis and impose enormous costs on “society” (principally in the form of increased health care expenditures, etc.).
Interestingly, we don’t waylay overweight, sedentary people outside McDonalds, do we? There are no “Operation Weighty Waddlers” — no Girth Checkpoints.
Why is it ok to exercise choice (even if it’s clearly a bad choice) for the one — but not the other? ...
But the core issue here is — who owns us? If my body is my property, then it follows I have the right to use it as I please, so long as no direct harm to others is involved. No one (yet) has dared to suggest that people who enjoy skiing, motorcycle riding or other “risky” activities be fined or jailed for deciding to assume the extra risks involved. But the state feels no compunction about asserting its ownership rights when it comes to buckling up.
Is there a distinction that justifies this? If so, I cannot discern it...
As with the “war on drugs” — which targets some drugs (pot) but not others (alcohol) — it is simply a matter of laws blowing with the winds of political correctness. Being fat and unhealthy (or jabbering on a cell phone)? Hey, that’s ok. But fail to buckle up for safety — and it’s $100 bucks, chief.
We submit to this at our peril, though. Because having established the principle that it may intervene in our private affairs on any one count, it has established the idea that it may do so on any account. Those who fervently believe in the soundness of seat belt laws may not like it so much when the Health Laws are passed a few years down the road (at the behest of HMOs, no doubt) and they find their big bellies and hammy jowls in Big Momma’s crosshairs, too.
Political Mavens » Who owns you?