fight city hall, the saying goes and its true. Youre
at their mercy and are forced to play by their rules. When
you get a traffic ticket, for instance, you have to pretend to agree
with the premise (i.e, that the law you were charged with violating
is fundamentally legitimate) but you should be let off because of
some extenuating factor, such as poor signage or your speedometer
wasnt reading accurately. Your honor, I didnt mean
. Its degrading to have to play out this pantomime
but theres not much choice because resistance overt
resistance is futile.
is still possible. And it can make you glad.
There is a
stop sign at the terminus of a T intersection I know very well because
every day I run that stop sign. Well, sort of. As I approach the
T, I look left you can see down the road a good half mile
and if no ones coming, I make my right turn without
coming to a complete stop beforehand, as required by the law.
Theres no good reason to come to a complete stop other
than it being the law. And I do my best to evade and
ignore the law when the law conflicts with
reasonableness and common sense and because I chafe at obeying
anything just because. There is no reason to
come to a complete stop; you lose momentum and that wastes gas
no small thing these days. If one can see that theres no opposing
traffic, why stop?
because its the law.
There is a
traffic light at a certain intersection. If you sit at this intersection
waiting for the green light to make a left turn you will wait a
very long time. The bureaucrats who time this signal have it set
so that it does not give the drivers waiting to go left a green
light for 5 minutes, from one cycle to the next. And it often skips
cycles so that opposing traffic gets the green but you
dont. If you obey the law, you may be sitting
there for as long as 10 minutes staring at the empty road
in either direction, servilely obeying a light.
run this light because I find the prospect of just sitting
there for 5-10 minutes for absolutely no reason (other than the
law) to be idiotic. My time and the $4 per gallon gas
in my tank are valuable to me. Much more valuable than obeisance
to the law. So, if my V1 radar detector (also against
the law) and my eyes tell me theres no cops and
no traffic and its safe to proceed, I will proceed.
And boy does
it feel good!
Not just the
getting away with it, either. (Though that is enough
all by itself. Each time you get away with it, you amortize
the costs of the times you didnt. So, for example,
if I speed every day and get away with it, the occasional
ticket I get works out to mere pennies per offense.)
But there is
also the empowering satisfaction that comes of exercising ones
own judgment and of exercising initiative as opposed
to the doughy, filmy-eyed passivity that the law demands.
Too bad so
many Americans have forgotten what it feels like.
the rest of the article
[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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