Wolfgang Wiebach's Light Musings on Heavy Subjects

    How to raise lawless kids

     I'm sure most of us subscribe to the notion of law and order. Well, at least those of us who are smart enough not to dabble with drugs; and who are either employed or retired and hence have no way of cheating on their income tax. We are shining examples of law-abiding citizens. Since children learn by the example set by their elders, they should grow up likewise.
    Somehow this doesn't always work out as expected. Although kids are otherwise smart enough, for example when it comes to open child-proof bottles or figure out the parental lock code of the cable TV, they smoke and drink under age, dabble in drugs, or commit crimes even worse for which they would spend their life in prison before it even began if an inexplicably forgiving criminal code did not provide all sorts of exceptions and excuses for the little monsters.
     There is one act, however, that you, dear denizen of righteousness, might possibly overlook. When was the last time you drove at or below the speed limit? I mean not when stuck in traffic, or in ice, snow or the gloom of night, or with your car about to conk out. No, on a nice, clear, open road? Let's see, was that on your vacation in 1978 in Colorado going up Pike's Peak when you were admiring the view?
    American children riding in cars with parents learn from their earliest days, and through daily reinforcements, that laws do not necessarily need to be obeyed, particularly (a) when they are inconvenient, and (b) when it looks one might get away with it. Laws are just a nuisance and a bunch of rubber paragraphs.

    Let me hasten to point out that I don't blame the parents, but the speed limit laws.

     First of all, low speed limits as we have them in this country do not enhance safety. When, many years ago, a speed limit was imposed on one section of the German Autobahn, accidents went up. Sure, because drivers were bored and felt that nothing could happen driving at the enforced low speed.
    Secondly, uniform speed limits do not save gas in an efficient and equitable manner, since they do not punish the gas guzzlers by a lower limit and reward the gas misers with a higher or no limit.
    Speed limits as we have them fill no useful purpose, except perhaps help to pay the salaries of the local police. But at what cost?
    It is said that America's productivity is low, despite the long working hours still in effect. Could this have something to do with the enforced crawl of the long-distance traffic?
    Americans die at a high rate of heart failure. Could stress be a contributing factor, caused by having to observe the speed limits on the daily commute and especially on the weekend drive in the country, which should be a pleasant and relaxing experience but can't possibly be?
    The American speed limits represent exactly the type of capricious and oppressive government action that America is quick to denounce when observed with other matters in other countries. America is a police state on its highways.
    Worst of all, these speed limits make our democracy a farce.
    What sort of democracy is this where punitive laws remain in effect and are relentlessly enforced which 95% of the population hate and, due to the necessities of life, are daily forced to brake?
    America is fighting bloody battles in other countries to introduce its presumably magnificent democracy, but this democracy fails miserably in the daily life at home.

    And lest we forget, speed limits let the kids grow up without regard to law and order.