or The Autobahn, The Interstate, and the 6 Foot 7 Inch Policeman, or Why the Autobahn is safer than the US Interstate, or The National Speed Limit is a Tool for Nazi Thugs
I was going to start my 5 part series on lunatic hypermilers and the decline of western civilization today, but I got pulled over on my way to work by a very tall and aggressive trooper, and now I’m writing about the poor state of the American highway system.
You know it and I know it, everyone goes over 65, the police need only to wade out into the pool of innocents and pluck 2 or 3 out a week and shake them down for cash; it’s so ingrained into our national conciousness that we don’t seem to think that’s odd. But honestly, think about it; what value does a law have if no one obeys it? It just makes a mockery of the country where the law exists. I’d be laughing right now if it weren’t for the jackbooted marauders prowling the highways at this very moment looking for poor innocent working men to harass and extort.
Federal speed limits were put in place during the oil crisis of the 70s, supposedly to save energy and money and be great for the economy and all that silly nonsense. The truth is there were unintended consequences of that law, as there always are. It cost this country billions of dollars a year in increased travel time and money wasted on tickets and court dates, an actual net decline in economy…but the worst thing that it created was the aura of fear around police. I don’t want to get scared everytime I see a cop on the highway, but I do, and I’m willing to bet you do too. There’s something very wrong when the general populace is afraid of their police. Make no mistake, at this point, speed limits in the US are a strong arm tactic for filling the county treasury.
After debunking the energy argument, the fear mongers will then tell you that the real issue is accidents. Horrible car wrecks with flying detached limbs and blood and gore and all that business. “Drive fast and you’ll get decapitated, young man”. There is this misconception in the US that speed automatically equals death, that your speedometer is a scale for how anti-social you are. Anyone over 80 mph is a bad bad man.
The truth is that the German Autobahn (the place with no speed limits) is actually safer than the US interstate. For every billion kilometers of American interstate road, there are 5.1 fatalities; on the Autobahn, that number is 3.7.
The Rechtsfahren – aka the “Drive Right” law.
That’s the only real traffic law you need to know about on the limitless parts of the Autobahn. The Rechtsfahren basically says: “Stay to the right, pass on the left, and if someone is faster than you, get out of their way”. That’s it.
And that’s why the Autobahn is safer than the interstate, because of the quality of the driving. We have uneducated drivers who don’t understand the concept of staying right, and who are constantly fearful of getting pulled over and robbed by men with guns. This is the situation in the United States.
Don’t get me wrong, I love America. It’s dangerous not to these days, you might get snatched away to Gitmo. But I honestly do love it, whats left of it.
Nevertheless, the Autobahn is my spiritual homeland, even though I’ve never been there. It’s the Israel for driving fans. One day I’ll be able to go out to a little shack out in the countryside next to A95 and live my life in peace with only one rule:
Drive Right, pass on the left.
You have to remember that no matter what the high school driving manual tells you, driving is a right, not a privilege. For something to be a privilege, that means it has to be given to you. Aside from the obvious killing and stealing and otherwise breaking the law, the government doesn’t tell me what I can and cannot do. The government didn’t give me a car. I bought my car, I paid for it myself, it belongs to me and it’s my right to drive that car. Driving is no more a privilege than jumping or walking or riding a bike is. You are not a slave. Do not be afraid.