Rampaging Presumptions

by Don Boudreaux on May 26, 2004

in Regulation

Today’s e-mail brings an announcement from Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation announcing a Memorial Day weekend crackdown on motorists who aren’t buckled up. (Predictably, the e-mail’s subject line is the irritating slogan “click it or ticket.”)

I could fume about the paternalism of regulations that mandate seatbelt use. I could expostulate against the notion that someone’s failure to wear a seatbelt is an externality justifying regulation by government. I could pitch a fit and, risking cutting off my nose and my face, avoid wearing my seatbelt over the Memorial Day weekend as my own personal protest against such officiousness.

But I’ll rest content to quote the final two sentences of Thomas Sowell’s Knowledge & Decisions:

Freedom is not simply the right of intellectuals to circulate their merchandise. It is, above all, the right of ordinary people to find elbow room for themselves and a refuge from the rampaging presumptions of their “betters.”

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