I have not posted an article for almost two weeks, so I decided to put this together. For the younger ones in my audience, horseless carriage is an old term for an automobile. Occasionally there is a road accident here in Orange County, Indiana, where a car or truck hits an Amish buggy. This happens periodically in my neck of the woods.
Before cars were invented, there was no problem. Everyone moved via horsepower, at a slow enough speed that traffic accidents were rare and usually not fatal. There were no driver’s’ testing and licensing, as riding a horse or driving a wagon generally did not endanger others. There was no government mandated purchase of driver’s insurance, as there was no need for it as horsepower did not create traumatic wrecks.
Further, automobiles require decent roads to operate at their optimum speeds –at least gravel and preferably paved. Paved roads were not needed when travel was by horse. Widespread ownership of automobiles by the citizenry necessitated higher taxes to build (expensive) blacktop/paved roads for their cars to use. Part of this taxation took the form of driver’s license and license plate fees –which also number citizens for easier identification (control). Hmm.
Further, drunk people riding a horse do not pose a threat to others, and a drunk in a buggy poses little danger to alert people. But a drunk man in a 3,000 pound car hurtling down the road at 60 miles per hour does pose a threat to others on the road. Enter the highway patrol. Now police drive up and down these roads in cars looking for people to pull over for safety reasons –or just plain minor traffic violations. While not legal, cops can basically demand a motorist pull over at their will, at which point they may try to conduct a “fishing expedition” to see if the motorist is somehow involved in an illegal totally activity unconnected to driving.
All of these licensing, identification, taxation, and police power issues are based upon the ownership of automobiles. We took a step that opened up consequences that we never envisioned. We have accepted restriction of our God given liberty so that we may drive cars.
Now those who wish to live like their ancestors, such as the Amish, negotiate roads with high speed automobile traffic. On two lane country roads where people know Amish live, this would not be much if any of a problem. But on state highways with speed limits of 55 or more, this is not really safe for the Amish or for motorists –especially after dark. Normal vehicle operation by an alert driver is not always enough, if one tops a hill at 55 mph and buggy is only 25 yards in front of you and there is oncoming traffic and little to no road shoulder. That is when bad things happen.
Americans have complicated their lives. The few like the Amish who wish to opt out are still in danger from living in a system hostile to them. Americans have created a legal and financial nightmare for themselves, and a danger for those who wish to live like America’s Founders. What a mess. Can it be rectified? Perhaps, but probably not fully rectified unless we all went back to horse power for travel –which might occur after an EMP or really large financial/social collapse. Until then, the mess continues…
© Copyright 2017 by Joseph Charles Putnam of Orange County, Indiana. All rights reserved.