Are Their Limits?

Who should decide whether or not a driver, alone in his/her car, should wear a seatbelt?  The government?  Why?

What if the driver feels that they can drive more safely without the encumbrance and annoyance of a seatbelt?  Does that count for anything?

The usual answer to this question is that if the driver sustains an injury the rest of society may have to pay for his/her injury.  But, why is that?  Why isn't the driver alone responsible for their own injury?  Why is this the responsibility of someone down the street?

But what if the driver is correct?  The driver may be a safer driver without the imposition of the seatbelt.  What then?  Aren't other people less safe if the driver becomes more, not less, accident prone because of having to wear a seatbelt?

It is not unreasonable to suppose that some people drive better when not encumbered by a seatbelt.  Should we ignore that?

The requirement that a lone individual driving without passengers must wear a seatbelt or face the criminal justice system is an example of how out-of-control our regulatory regime has become in the US. 

Individuals, when by themselves, should decide whether or not to wear a seatbelt without big government intervening.  But, gradually, over time, the vast majority of Americans have come to believe that individuals, alone and by themselves, should be compelled to wear seatbelts.  That shows just how far Americans have come from Thoreau's Walden Pond, where individuals controlling their own destiny was the over-riding principle.

Is there any limit to what the government can compel people to do when no one else is around nor even affected by their behavior?


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