Well, why not?
If the way
is obviously clear in both directions, if its obviously safe
to enter the intersection, make your turn and proceed. . . why not
It is (usually)
illegal to make a left turn on red. Sometimes, a right turn, too.
is it illegal?
Law assumes a very low standard of competence and applies
it generally. If you think about it, this least common denominatorism
is another form of collectivism. The individual his
merits, his skill, his initiative and judgment all irrelevant.
You can literally be Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (or Danica Patrick), a
superbly skilled and scrupulously conscientious driver whose actions
were impeccably safe and still you will receive a ticket
and all that goes with it, including the smear of unsafe
driving if you are caught ignoring a red light
ignoring The Law and using your own eyes and skill and judgment
instead. You are expected required to sit like
one of Pavlovs dogs, not merely awaiting the green signal
but (and this is key) paying no attention whatsoever to the flow
of traffic in the lanes you are hoping to cross. You are not encouraged
to monitor the situation, to use your own eyes to see whether traffics
Just wait for
the light. Good doggy!
wanted are three things: Docility, passivity and (most of
These are the
true underlying principles of American traffic law not safety.
If this were were not the case, then good drivers who for good
reason ignore pointless traffic signals the classic example
being an endless red light at an obviously empty intersection where
its clear to all theres no other traffic around for
miles would not have to fret the possibility that, while
no traffic is present, there might be a cop hiding in the
bushes, patiently waiting for some not-fully-conditioned individual
to use his senses and exercise judgment rather than demonstrate
blind obedience to The Law.
When this individual
goes to court, the question at issue will never be whether his actions
were safe. Whether it was reasonable to ignore the
traffic signal and proceed. The accused could literally provide
a video of the entire incident that clearly showed no danger to
anyone; that he exercised the appropriate caution before proceeding,
that at no time was he in any way putting himself or any other motorist
in danger. None of that matters. Only The Law and mindless,
literally mindless, unquestioning obedience matters.
In fact, the
worst possible sin (in the eyes of the system) one can commit these
days is to use ones mind to question, and to
act accordingly, based on reasoned judgment.
conditioning has had a widespread soporific effect. A dulling of
the American spirit. One sees the results not just on the road,
but everywhere. People most people just do as they
are told. They almost never ask why anymore.
act based on their thinking.
shuffle along in a kind of stupor.
It is why driving
has become such a depressing and aggravating experience.
People are no longer expected to pay attention to anything except
The Law. Not to conditions, not to the traffic around (or behind)
And more subtly:
Do as you are Told.
the mindset of modern America and an American people that
is much more like the Weimar-era German (or Soviet)
people than it would probably like to believe. A people that is
reflexively deferential to authority (examples: TSA groping/scanning;
random checkpoints etc.) that not only does not
question but gets its back up at those few who do question.
Or worse, who
the typical American would probably say in response to this column:
Why, he is encouraging people to break The Law! Does he want
to legalize drunk driving, too?
And yet, it
was once (a long time ago) precisely the opposite quality that defined
Americans. They were individuals and they questioned.
Our culture and society once upon a time encouraged them
to question, too. If something did not make sense, it was ignored
and even ridiculed. People who thumbed their noses at stupid,
tyrannical laws and those enforcing them were admired.
are expected to Submit and Obey, regardless. It is The Law.
the populace is not kept in check by overt force. Instead, as in
New World, the populace has been infantilized and is kept
perpetually distracted by idiot games and gadgets. There is also
soma for those who think too much in the form of various anti-depressants
and so forth. In the book, non-conformists and freethinkers were
exiled to an island isolated spots around the world where
they were finally left in peace to do as they wished.
That may be
the best we can hope for those of us who for whatever reason
havent been effectively conditioned to automatically Submit
and Obey, who dare to think and act accordingly.
I suppose its
better than the lethal chamber reference by Huxleys World
Controller, Mustapha Mond and much more so than Orwells
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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