Drivers need to prove that they are able to drive safely, and some additional vetting for non-adult drivers is reasonable. However, some Objectivists seem to feel many driving laws are a violation of rights of the individual. As an example, some Objectivists submit that speed limits, at least on a public road, are unethical. Should I not have the freedom to drive as slowly or quickly as I see fit, according to my own personal motive? And if, by chance, I slam head-on into another vehicle at 140mph of twisted metal and torn flesh, should I not be responsible for the damage I've caused? Their point being: Aren't speed limit laws implementations of that evil principle of equating the potential with the actual? I could drive 90mph and kill a child, yes; I could also drive 165mph, without a limiter perhaps, and cause no harm or injury to anyone. For the same reasons that I should be allowed to build, maintain, and use a weapon, shouldn't I be free to speed?
Of course, this all applies to a public road. I understand that if roads were privatized, it would be up to the owner of the road, in agreement with the motorists.
I would appreciate clarification on how exactly driving laws would work in an Objectivist society, where roads are properly privatized, as an ethical concern, rather than purely a legal one. (i.e. the right for the private owner to set the driving laws governing his roads)
The question states: "if roads were privatized, it would be up to the owner of the road...." The question thus identifies the key fact that makes the issue more complicated: the concept of a "public" road, which means a road operated and maintained by the government (probably necessitating tax levies on the adjoining land owners and/or others in the general vicinity or community). Objectivism regards road operation and maintenance as outside the scope of the proper functions of government. Like so many other activities of governments nowadays, roadways should not be the province of government at all, other than indirectly by way of upholding the individual rights of the roadway owners and providers.
Ayn Rand said it very succinctly when she was asked, "What about other public needs? Do you consider the post office, for example, a legitimate function of government?" She replied, memorably, "Now let's get this straight. My position is fully consistent. Not only the post office, but streets, roads, and above all, schools, should all be privately owned and privately run." Her answer went on to discuss the principle of separation of state and economics, and the proper functions of government, concluding: "Everything else should be privately run and would be much better run." [From "Playboy's Interview with Ayn Rand," published in Playboy magazine, March 1964, p. 12 in the pamphlet reprint.]
answered Oct 21 '10 at 00:43
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