Eat Your Veggies… Or Else!

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by Eric Peters EricPetersAutos.com

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NHTSA and the insurance Mafia want to see fines for not buckling-up jacked up to as much as $100 in order to “encourage” higher compliance with mandatory seatbelt laws.

Apparently, the $25 hit imposed at gunpoint that’s the current national average fine just isn’t sufficient. Neither are the DMV demerit points some states and (of course) the District of Columbia) assign if you’re found unbuckled and which the insurance Mafia uses as the basis for “adjustments” to your can’t-say-no-thanks, enforced-at-gunpoint insurance policy

Higher fines would improve “compliance” by 6 to 7 percent, according to (yet another) taxpayer-financed study of the obvious.

Threaten people with violence and — surprise — they’ll do what you say.

But the question more people ought to be asking is whether it’s right to threaten anyone with violence for such things as not wearing a seatbelt. And if that’s ok, then shouldn’t the system at least be consistent and hit people who don’t exercise — or who are grossly overweight — with fines as a well? Call it it the Tubby Tax. After all, the same reasoning applies.

Or at least, it ought to.

NHTSA and other buckle-up-at-gunpoint advocates argue that wearing a seat belt is “safer.” True enough. Just as it is also true that it’s safer to exercise regularly — and to not be grossly overweight. Why, then, aren’t couch potatoes and fat slobs threatened with violence by costumed goons? Is their “safety” of less importance than the unbuckled driver’s?

The beefy impose higher actual costs on society, too – in the form of major health problems such as early-onset diabetes, arteriosclerosis, degenerative joint diseases and so on than do unbuckled drivers — most of whom never impose any costs on anyone at all. Because most people don’t get into major wrecks, buckled or unbuckled. Which means, their seatbelt usage is irrelevant. Or at least, not necessarily “unsafe.” Being grossly overweight, on the other hand, all-but-guarantees premature death and significant health problems.

According to the Society of Actuaries, the add-on cost of obesity is nearly $300 million annually: $127 for medical care, $49 billion for productivity losses, and another $72 billion for disability payments. Hasn’t society got a “right” to insist that Large Marges and Sloppy Sams behave more responsibly? That they be encouraged — at gunpoint — to behave in a less “risky” fashion?

Meanwhile, a mere $8.8 billion might be saved if everyone buckled-up.

Chump change. It’s time for a War on Fat. A Crusade to the Gym. Daily physical jerks for all. Lower, Smith! You’re not trying hard enough! Anyone under the age of 40 is perfectly capable of touching his toes! Try harder, please!

Well, why not?

It’d be funny, except people — most people — miss the underlying point. This Piers Morgan-like, un-American notion of collective everything, always to be imposed at gunpoint. You’re not an individual, responsible for your own life — and so, free to decide how best to live it. You’re part of the collective. It owns you — and you own it. No one is allowed to own themselves. Your actions affect others — even though this “affecting” is only possible as a result of coercive collective policies that cause us all to prey on one another like a pack of hyenas.

A pack of intellectually dishonest hyenas.

Because — hyenas who revel in selective persecution based on arbitrary criteria.

There’s no reason, for instance, that fat people shouldn’t feel the full force of the state — if the reasoning used to persecute seatbelt-avoiders applies generally rather than subjectively and arbitrarily. Anything the individual chooses to do that can be convincingly argued increases his “risk” — or which might “impose costs on society” — must be forbidden at gunpoint.

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Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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