Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Allyagottado Folks and the Sleep-Inducing Speed Limits

In the space of five hours, one day in March 2015, one single radar of the Danish police on a tiny part of the Copenhagen highway earned (sic) so much money that it made front-page headlines in the press of Denmark. But what was telling was not that the authorities had earned two million Danish Crowns ($290,000!) in less than a quarter of a day, it was that — although Ekstrabladet was of course oblivious to this — there had not been a single traffic fatality at that point that day, let alone a single accident.

There cannot be 35 different ways of interpreting that piece of news. If it doesn't suggest that speed limits have little to nothing to do with safety and are a scam — or at the very least that they are (far) too low — you can call me King Alfred the Great.

Not only is there a clear racket associated with the radar scheme — if this does not fit the definition of the word extortion, than what meaning does that word have? — but governments of all states and countries and on all territorial levels could be charged with going against their raison d'être (the protection of the populace) and making the road more dangerous for all.

What is the first cause of mortality on highways throughout the world, and certainly throughout the West? Contrary to what Kim du Toit and many of his readers seem to believe, it ain't speed (speed kills, right?).

It is drowsiness.

It is sleepiness.

What causes sleepiness, or drowsiness, if it ain't a sleep-inducing speed limit (or, rather a sleep-inducing slowness limit)?

"Speeding": it sounds like a factual, straightforward word, but think about what the sub-text means. It suggests a bad thing, a reckless attitude, driving fast, too fast. But too fast for what? Too fast for whom? (well, yeah, right: too fast for the State, for the politicians, and for its bureaucrats — but besides that?) As the above example from Denmark points out, thousands upon thousands of Danish drivers had been "speeding," i.e., had been driving "too fast," i.e., had shown themselves to be irresponsible and foolhardy (disgraceful!) — and were duly punished (hooray!) — although the tempo of thousands and thousands of cars caused not a single accident for a single one of them and neither harmed or inconvenienced anybody, inside or outside the vehicle.

How old are these speed limits these slowness limits, anyway? In many parts of the world, they haven't changed, or barely, since their introduction in the early 1970s — almost a half-century ago. Indeed, one can speculate whether the 55-mile-an-hour limit would not have remained the same in America if some states had not led a revolt against the federal limit until it was overturned in 1995. (You don't believe that motor vehicles are much different from 44 years ago? Okay. Do you know what a telephone from the 1970s looks like? Try comparing it — turn that dial! — with the cel phone that you use today and see if you can spot any differences.)

Why were speed limits slowness limits introduced in the first place? For safety reasons? No, they were introduced on purely economic grounds — in response to the OPEC-created oil crisis of 1972 and 1973. Throughout the West, the measure came with promises that it would be dismantled within a year or so — certainly one of the most egregious example of bureaucratic creep in the history of the world. (Why would any people — especially, individualistic Americans — agree to so low, to so ridiculous, a limit as 55 mph unless it was because it was believed to be a temporary measure?).
Update: In some places — mainly Red and/or rural states, I would venture — things have gotten better, a reader writes (thanks to HC), and the speed limits the slowness limits have risen, such as on this Utah highway South of Fillmore
Now, a word for Kim du Toit and all the people who reflexively defend the authorities — I am speaking of those I call the Allyagottado folks — who, normally (apparently, with this one exception), are people on the political left (Allyagottado is respect the speed limit slowness limit, Allyagottado is never pass 55 [or whatever] mph, Allyagottado is spend two to three hours more on the road (while increasing the number of vehicles on said roads and therefore the risks of a bottleneck and therefore those of an accident), Allyagottado is not fall asleep at the wheel, Allyagottado is not be (never be) late, Allyagottado is — humbly — pay your (well-deserved) fines, etc):

The basic thought of the Allyagottado folks, the true wish and desire of the Allyagottado folks — whether they are among our leaders or among the population — is that citizens are, or that they should become, automatons, robots.

With airbags, ABS brakes, and other modernities, shouldn't the speed limit slowness limit be raised (albeit only on highways, of course)? On Germany's Autobahn (no speed limit at all on most of the network), after all, driving up to, and past, 100 mph is a lark, and the Germans have lower death-per-million fatalities than many other neighboring EU countries.

What people do not realize is that the expression "speed limit" is a perfect example of George Orwell's Newspeak. For every person (rightly) ticketed for (truly) speeding, you get 499 people ticketed for not driving slowly enough. Thus, as we have been seeing, a truer expression ought to be "slowness limit."

Another thing that people do not realize is that the vast majority of people who get tickets for "speeding" (sic) don't do so because they have been careless or unconscious or dangerous or scofflaws. On the contrary, most of the time they have been perfectly responsible.

Indeed, the very reason that the vast majority of drivers are ticketed is PRECISELY because they had NOT been "speeding" (as in "acting carelessly"); they had been adopting the speed, or the tempo, of their vehicle to the realities of the road. In other words, they were ticketed for… acting responsibly, perfectly concentrated and conscious of their environment, with their eyes fixed on… the road!

Think about it.

Responsible driving for any person using his brains and common sense, is
1) looking primarily at the road and
2) watching out for moving entities
(other vehicles, pedestrians, animals, etc…) —
which signal the presence of humans or other living beings.

What the Allyagottado folks demand is for us to
1) look primarily at the interior of the vehicle
(the dashboard and its various tachometers) and
2) watch out for fixed objects (traffic signs, etc),
lifeless objects with no soul.

Which way of driving is the most intelligent?

Which of the two drivers is more caring for his fellow beings?

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