I’ve been taking the occasional punch to the kidneys here at Sustainablog. That’s okay. I’m not alone, and it’s par for the course for those who put their real face, real name and real, considered thoughts out to the public.
But some recent comments, especially about the Drive 55 campaign that has been in the general media again lately, have me thinking about some particular gaps in our common understanding and, therefore, overall communication.
Interestingly enough, I’m not even an advocate for a change in speed limit laws. I’m not against such changes. But I’m not pushing for them, either.
What I am is a facilitator of a discussion about the matter that is under consideration for the purpose of saving fuel, money, and lives.
Apparently, for some people, “suppressive” laws that save fuel, money and lives is a hot-button issue, one they won’t take lying down. (After all, it’s not global warming, HIV/AIDS, poverty, unconscionable war, cancer… Okay, I may be feeling a bit cantankerous with this nonsense at the moment, I admit.)
And I’m only blogging this, a third post related to the notion of a law that would revert speed limits to 55 miles per hour, because I am fascinated and perplexed by the lack of substance in some views on the topic.
A commenter – and not the one who called me a “commie,” though likewise an anonymous opinionator who may have wanted to; and not the white supremacist whose comment didn’t reach daylight of the blog for obvious reasons – said there should be no governance for the well-being of the citizenry…”Period.”
(That paraphrasing is not an exaggeration; check it out for yourself at the recent post of mine that got this started here…St. Louis to Chicago: Putting a 55 M.P.H. Drive to the Weekend Road Trip Test.)
No governance, i.e. government intervention and control, of the, supposedly, total freedom we Americans all enjoy?
Contrary to what said commenter commented upon in his comment, which implied limits of 70- and 80-m.p.h. are acceptable to him/her, a limit at any speed would mean governance, the very thing s/he opposes.
Should S/He Have His/Her Way of No Government…
That means no traffic lights, no lanes painted on the roads, no road signs, no laws against theft, murder and abortion, and no Securities and Exchange Commission to track and punish the swindlers, and no Food and Drug Administration to make sure our ultra-processed foods are “healthy” and safe for consumption.
That means no law enforcement to call when the neighbors are acting out late at night, no prisons to house the criminals, no Social Security and Medicare, no compensation for injured workers, no one to force insurance companies to pay out to us when we need them to.
That means no control of our national borders, no war against terrorism, no F.B.I., no “illegal” to go before the word “immigrants,” or Green Cards to go to immigrants deemed worthy of an implied “legal.”
That means no free, public education for the kiddies who become adulties, no military to kill our enemies, no President to (mis-) lead the public or taxes to provide for road maintenance and oil subsidies…
This is becoming Dr. Seussian.
And we could go on all day, night and many more days with this game. But for those inclined to take in information fully and process it fully, it should already be clear that we are all living with governance for the well-being of the majority.
It’s a must to have some governance. It maintains the fabric of society.
Now, whether that needs to include the reversion to a slower speed limit is debatable. Of course.
Choose to Drive 55 M.P.H./Choose Not to Drive 55 M.P.H.
I mentioned in an earlier post a comment I read at USA Today, in which the commenter angrily reminded everyone you can drive whatever speed you want, even a slower speed, even down to 55 m.p.h. No change in law is necessary to do so.
And so I did, as I posted before – again, St. Louis to Chicago: Putting a 55 M.P.H. Drive to the Weekend Road Trip Test – and drew a bit more fire for my “commie” ways.
This brings me to a side-point of public education’s current state of disrepair, which produces citizens of such arguably limited thinking power and communication skills as to bypass thought for antiquated and ill-placed terms of loathing.
Can we really afford to have our school systems lose more funding through non-governance and non-governmental taxation, and get even worse results?
The bottom line is the need for and use of governance is going nowhere. For some folks, it seems they may just be realizing it’s there at all.
For those who are – and have been – awake, it’s worth remembering that such insignificant changes, such as a speed limit reduction, need not be considered soul-crushing suppression.
Maybe they even do some good. Maybe we even need some more directives to get the masses to act in better Earth- and society-conscious ways, instead of making this such a battle of Me-versus-We.
Then again, what do I care?
I’m just a discussion facilitator.
Gas Hole the Documentary: History of Oil Prices and Alternative Energy
The Illusion of MPG: Is It Really A True Measure of Your Car’s Mileage?
The downside of the internet is that people feel free to say things they would never consider saying to a person’s face.
A couple months ago, I wrote an essay for the New York Press about being one of the only white women in a predominately Dominican neighborhood. I stopped reading blog comments about it after I read the one in which someone gleefully hoped the post would be updated once I was inevitably raped and/or murdered.
Don’t let the internet idiots get you down. Keep up the good work!
While the discussion is worthy, a national 55 MPH speed limit is not. Enlightenment and technology are the answers. Every person, should they choose, can learn how to get the best mileage (>25%) from their vehicle.
Eliminating the rush-rush mentality is key. Changing the way your brain operates will change the way you drive, reduce the amount of fuel you use, and put dollars back in your wallet.
Well … that’s my story and I’m sticking to it … =)
I thank the authorities for 80 mph limits in West Texas… I cherish 55 mph limits on the back roads. Safe(r) driving, in my mind, should come first and foremost in the speed limit list of priorities – for the most part I agree with the limits (even if I rarely go them.. I’m a few mph under because my speedometer tends to lie). Life at a slower pace is nice, I’d love to see the scenery more, but when you’ve got a 10 hr drive twice a month, there’s only so much sympathy your bladder and spine have for fuel.
Hehe well said. Too many people assume that just because you write something, you must believe it. Personally I don’t believe anything I read, especially what I write myself.
Being pedantic, there is a difference between governance and government. James Rosenau has some good work on “governance without government”. Particularly relevant in a world where we all care about, well, the world.
On your subject, maybe we should allow people to drive at any speed they want, but deny those who drive over a certain limit any health care, insurance or vehicle recovery…
“Can we really afford to have our school systems lose more funding through non-governance and non-governmental taxation, and get even worse results?”
That’s a tough one. I am right-winger who thinks the school systems get plenty of economic support via skewed taxation. They just make poor decisions regarding how they use it. I am sometimes appalled at low teacher pay, but given the quality of the graduates they produce have to ask if they really deserve more. There are so many discussion points entwined in the public education debacle, you could write encyclopedic volumes about each. However, one problem that can no longer be discussed – much less addressed – is laying some of the blame upon the students. Many schools have lost control of their institutionalized population. Here is one of many articles:
Now, please don’t infer any racial digs since the article focuses on predominantly black schools. I could just as easily have cited the movie “The Blackboard Jungle” as an example where an excellent black teacher was trying to control a classroom full of white criminals. How do you control a bunch of untouchables?
@ Kristen — Thanks. And sorry you had that experience. Such hostile lunacy makes it difficult for me to have faith in humanity. But I guess we have to.
@ mpgomatic — That rush-rush mentality is precisely what I was referring to in an that earlier post of mine about appreciating the relaxation aspect of driving the speed limit. But calm, cool, and collected seems not to be the way around here. People only seem to know anger, stress, confrontation. Anyway, I’ll keep working on swapping the rush-rush out for calm-calm. Thanks for the comment.
Trolls are trolls. Sorry for them that their lives are miserable and they can’t engage in civilized discourse.
I prefer “pinko” to “commie” personally.
I choose to drive my 1984 Mercedes 300SD at 55 when I’m not bicycling to work. My mileage has improved about 10%. I stay in the far right lane. I’ve yet to encounter aggressive behavior on the road because of this. I can’t answer why people choose to behave like an ass when there is no mechanism of accountability. Just wanted to let you know that I agree with your views.