Life Lessons From I-95

Posted by Larry Miller on June 24, 2012 under How | Be the First to Comment

Having just returned from about a road trip of about twenty four hundred miles, much of which took me up and down Interstate 95, I came to the conclusion that the highway could illustrate a lot about our society today. This is the stretch of road immortalized by Jim Croce’s Speedball Tucker with the line, “95 was the route you were on, it was not the speed limit sign.” Some of the observations are not particularly profound, yet we deal with them daily.

The People Set The Pace

This is true whether the speed limit is 50, 55, 60, 65 or 70 mph. When traveling down the highway with many others, there is a tendency to find a pace that people are comfortable with and can negotiate with relative safety and ease. The striking thing about this pace is that the difference between a 50 mph stretch and a 70 mph stretch is much less than the legal restrictions would lead us to believe. I understand that there are civil engineers, traffic studies and the like that governments use to determine what they believe is a safe speed in each setting, but the reality is that the upper limits come much closer to the actual will of the people than tighter restrictions placed on us for our own good. These are just a few of many rules and regulations placed on the people that may occasionally cost us a few dollars, but generally are harmless beyond the irritation value. Other rules and regulations actually run counter to the needs and desires of the populace… yet we still permit them to continue with little or no protest. No, I did not get a ticket along the way, in case the reader was wondering.

We Are Being Watched

Of course we are being watched. Sometimes we see the smokies hiding in the bushes. Sometimes they come out to pick some unsuspecting driver out of the pack. Sometimes this selection is richly deserved as there are those who can’t quite seem to live within the pack determined velocity. You’ve seen the type that constantly weaves from one lane to another, hoping to get ahead of one more car, yet not really getting much further down the road. Sometimes they cut things a little too close and cause an accident or pile up… usually if there is a fatality, it isn’t them. We need the smokies to keep a semblance of order on the road. Yet, they are just the tip of the iceberg with the surveillance society we have become.

Cameras are everywhere, our banking activities are scrutinized, as are our Facebook and Twitter accounts. We are told it is to keep us safe from terrorists, but to listen to our national government, they are more concerned about tea partiers, returning military, pro-lifers, etc. Of course, these are the people least likely to harm the country they love… but most likely to try to bring down a destructive administration.

Liberal Ideal Number One: Doing Something That Makes You Feel Good Often Harms Others

Did you ever come up on a construction zone and all lanes of traffic are moving slowly to the merge point necessary to get everyone past a closed lane or two? Then, suddenly the other lane starts moving faster and cars are passing you by, while you sit there wondering what is happening. Often this is because one or more people in your lane see a turn signal, and it makes them feel good to let someone in ahead of them… then another and another. They get the warm fuzzies, having made the decision that we all should be held up because of their good deed.

It’s kind of like the penchant progressives have for giving people goodies from government funds.  It makes them feel good, but it really isn’t charity as everything they give is taken from people by force… even if their charitable interests lie in other directions.

Having escaped from the Garden State twenty some years back, I don’t discuss the experience much, however, I have to say that the people of New Jersey have this situation figured out… and it works pretty well. It may be a bit nerve wracking to the uninitiated, but when you are on one of a dozen or so lanes approaching the Holland or Lincoln Tunnels into the Rotten Apple, most drivers just run down to the end and merge. Driving in there is enough of a nuisance, but the aggravation is not increased by the guy in front letting twenty seven cars in line ahead of you.

Liberal Ideal Number Two: If I Don’t Want Something, No One Should Have It

Another manifestation of the liberal mindset is the guy cruising out in the left lane doing the speed limit or slightly lower. It’s kind of like a rolling chicane. It causes people to weave around the person who thinks no one should be going over the government selected limit and they are doing their best to impede anyone with the temerity to exceed this speed. These people are an annoyance and a danger to those around them. It is kind of like progressives who don’t want a gun to protect themselves, and are doing their best to see that no one else has one. Unfortunately, not everyone has the same level of comfort with putting their well being in the hands bureaucrats and legislators.

Be Prepared For The Unexpected

One of the less pleasant aspects of travel these days is when one comes upon a car a hundred feet off the road among the trees with about a dozen people gathered around. No one seemed to be panicked, but it was a distressing way for someone’s trip to come to an early end. It could have been the result of one of the impatient fools bobbing and weaving through traffic, a miss timed lane change, a mechanical malfunction… whatever it was, the excursion off the highway was certainly unexpected. That the people survived, was a testament to the preparation of wearing seat belts.

On another level, we need to be prepared for all sorts of things from a hostile government that sees us as more of a threat than people who fly air planes into buildings.

You Do Not Have To Be Good At What You Do To Achieve Recognition

Perhaps the life lesson that was most surprising came as we passed Exit 190 at Dillon, SC. The set of on and off ramps was named the Ben Bernanke Interchange. Why the good state of South Carolina would recognize the Federal Reserve chairman in this manner is beyond comprehension.

The well below market interest rates he is inflicting on the country and the world are encouraging borrowing, discouraging saving and destroying the freedom of retirees who were depending on income from their investments and savings… but are down to almost nothing as the low rates give them little to live on.

Of course Bernanke is not alone… we have the Kardashians… and Obamas.

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