Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


I will discuss the libertarian ideology at greater length soon, but here's a quick item to ponder. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration finds that deaths of motorcycle riders in Florida rose by 81% when Florida repealed its mandatory helmet law. Libertarians call these laws paternalistic and a violation of personal freedom. After all, it's the rider's own life that is at risk when (usually) he chooses not to wear a helmet. Bikers are grownups, why is it any of our business whether they choose to wear a helmet. Oh yeah -- "The . . . study also found that motorcycle injuries have become more expensive to treat. The average hospital cost to treat a head injury was $45,602, more than four times the $10,000 in insurance that nonhelmeted riders are required to carry."

Also, dead and brain injured people can no longer support their dependents. In fact, brain injured people often require that other people take care of them. So, is it really just a question of individual freedom? What about my freedom not to pay taxes to take care of brain injured motorcyclists?

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