About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Look Before You Lock!

Yesterday I heard a public service radio spot that encouraged drivers to remember to "Look Before You Lock."


Yes, "Look Before You Lock." You see every summer parents go to the shopping center, lock their kids up in their cars with the windows closed or cracked open, then run into the store to pick up a few things. While they're in the store the cars turn into ovens and the kids bake to death. It's called the greenhouse effect.

Last year at least 33 children died this way. So far this year, 23. Horrible!

It seems the excuse used most often by parents of these "hot car" deaths is: "I forgot the kids were in the backseat." The ad I heard yesterday was meant to help them remember.

But then I got to thinking. If a moronic teenage mother is so distracted she can't remember her kid is in the backseat, what makes anyone think she'd be bothered to remember a stupid slogan?

My next thought was: this advertising campaign has got to be the work of a federal, nanny state bureaucrat. And sure enough. According to ABC news in San Francisco:
The government launched a crackdown Friday morning on children being left inside hot cars. This follows the heat-related deaths of at least eight children nationwide in just the first week of August.  
Another horrible problem solved by the state, right?

Give me a break.

As near as I can tell, the nanny agency that is launching this "crackdown" is the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (USDOTNHTSA). USDOTNHTSA's budget for fiscal year 2012 is here. Read it at your own risk. It's 195 pages long and it details how our federal nannies will employ about 700 people and spend $860-million this year keeping us "safe," including helping some 21st century Lucy Ricardo remember her kids are in the back seat.

David L. Strickland
Ray LaHood
The guy to the left is the head of the USDOTNHTSA operation, David L. Strickland. He makes over $165,000 per year and change.

Strickland's boss to the right, Secy. of Transportation Ray LaHood, makes about $200,000 per year.

Carol Darr
24 more big shots comprise the rest of the USDOT front office. Their pictures are here if you want to take a look. The lowest person on the totem pole is Carol Darr. She makes over $127,000 per year.

According to his blurb on the USDOTNHTSA website, Strickland is a real safety go-getter:
Since being sworn into office on January 4, 2010, Mr. Strickland has overseen the development of the first national fuel efficiency program, helped establish ejection mitigation requirements for automakers, and brought national public focus to child passenger safety issues including the threat of heat stroke from hot cars [emphasis added] and back-over deaths and injuries.

The USDOTNHTSA is running yet another campaign that Strickland is in charge of. This one is designed to keep drivers from falling asleep at the wheel. It's called: "Wake Up And Get Some Sleep." If you want a brochure to peruse the next time you find yourself sleeping and driving on the Interstate, you can order one here.

Does anyone out there really believe spending almost a $-billion a year on this nonsense is Constitutional? If it is, then federal spending on just about anything is Constitutional and we're totally screwed as taxpayers.

How about we abolish the NHTSA and the USDOT?

Do you agree? Or are you one of those armchair conservatives who rants and raves about the size of the federal government but then objects to cutting anything?

"But it's for the good of our precious children!" you say. "Lives will be saved!" you say.

Really? You actually think so?

The federal government is a gigantic bee hive of do-gooders who believe we're a nation of irresponsible imbeciles who will kill ourselves right and left on highways and in "hot cars" unless it comes to our rescue like Mighty Mouse. In truth, we're a nation of 300 million pretty smart and competent individuals. Last year only 33 of us or so turned out to be morons. So far this year, 23.

If you're thinking a billion dollars spent to save a single life is worth it, you're missing my point.

Good grief! You can't have it both ways! You can't advocate for individual rights and personal responsibility, for private property and personal liberty, and at the same time insist the nanny state treat us like two-year-olds.

You know why? Because the more you allow yourself to be treated as a two-year-old, the more you'll start acting like one. The inevitable result? Next year 50 or 100 kids will die in "hot cars" despite the latest nanny state "crackdown."

The way a free, adult society works is each of us accepts responsibility for what we do or don't do. We act voluntarily. We trade voluntarily. If you think a 20 second radio spot will "fix stupid," you're free to spend your own money on it, but you're not free to spend mine...not without my say so. Or you can team up with individuals who think like you do and buy a radio ad together. But you can't petition the government to coerce me into cooperating with you!

(Sigh) You still don't get it, do you? You still don't see what harm there is in letting Uncle Sam steal a few bucks of my hard-earned tax money and spend it to save a few lives.

Oh well. Have it your way. But be sure to "Look Before You Lock."

As we travel down the fast track to Spain, Italy and Greece, the last thing we Americans need is another "hot car" fatality.


LD Jackson said...

Wow, a man after my own heart. I heard the same advertisement you did and thought about the same things.

First, it completely escapes me how any mother or father could actually forget they brought their children along for the ride. I just can not wrap my head around that.

Second, where do we draw the line and tell the federal government they have no business interfering and "making us safe"? How much of our personal responsibility are we willing to pass along to Washington? Do we continue to let them "make us safe" until we no longer have the choice of making our own choices? This is much more of a slippery slope than any of us may realize.

By the way, Sherman. Check your email. I sent you a message this afternoon.

Sherman Broder said...

Your point about the slippery slope is right on the money. Government encroachment into our private affairs has never been greater than right now. It's aggravating, costly and, ultimately, will turn us into Russia.

Jim said...

Forgot? FORGOT!!! They didn't forget anything. They are self-centered idiots that think their children are a nuisance and a bother. They deserve to be bound and locked in a hot car to die the same way. That would get people to "Think before they lock".

Until we go back to being a republic of states, nothing is going to change. I am not holding my breath.

Sherman Broder said...

You're right about the "republic of states." Was it you that recently wrote the piece on the Articles of Confederation and the Anti-federalist papers? We should never have drifted away from the Articles. We should have listened to Patrick Henry, Brutus and the rest.

Jim said...

Indeed we should have. One of these days I'm going to do a post on Patrick Henry . I still have to read several more of his speaches to the Virginia Assembly for the ratification of the constitution.