I bought a crash helmet in 1962, the year I bought a used Honda Dream 150. I drove in my parents’ car to Bell, California, and bought a Bell helmet at the factory. Honda and Bell helmets have done very well since 1962.
I did not ride my motorcycle without wearing my helmet. It even had a plastic face shield. I knew what a head injury could do.
At least 20 years later, I heard a radio talk show host discussing a proposed state law mandating helmets for motorcycle users. He was opposed to this law. He was challenged by a caller who told him that crash victims would be taken to public hospitals, where they would receive treatment for head injuries. The taxpayers would have to pay for this treatment. So, to reduce this expense, the state should pass a crash helmet law. The talk show host switched sides. He saw the logic of the case.
So did I.
Here is the logic of the case, as debated by the Crash Helmet Guy (CHG) and the laissez faire guy (LFG).
CHG: The state ought to have a law mandating that all motorcycle riders should wear a state-approved crash helmet when riding their motorcycles.
LFG: Why is that?
CHG: Because, if he crashes, he might suffer a head injury.
LFG: Or he might not. Probably, he won’t.
CHG: But he might.
LFG: That is true. So what?
CHG: What do you mean “so what?” We are talking about brain injuries here. We don’t want people to be brain dead.
LFG: No, we don’t. But why is it our responsibility as voters to keep people from becoming brain dead?
CHG: Because we pay taxes.
LFG: I don’t follow.
CHG: We pay taxes to run hospitals.
LFG: That is true.
CHG: Voters have an obligation to reduce waste in tax-funded hospitals.
LFG: Yes, they do.
CHG: So, to hold down head injury costs, voters should pass a crash helmet law.
LFG: You mean like seat belt laws.
LFG: There is an easier way to cut costs in tax-funded hospitals.
CHG: What is that?
LFG: Stop funding them with taxes.
CHG: You mean close them?
LFG: Not necessarily. Just stop all payments.
CHG: But that would mean that taxpayers have no responsibility for sick people.
LFG: As taxpayers. As individuals, that is a matter of conscience. As taxpayers, they have no responsibility.
CHG: But that would mean the state could not use this argument for mandating seat belts: “This will save the state money.”
CHG: But if the state cannot justify mandatory seat belts, then it could not justify mandatory crash helmets.
CHG: But we need a mandatory crash helmet law.
LFG: Why is that?
CHG: To protect people.
LFG: From whom?
CHG: From themselves.
LFG: You say that politicians must pass laws, enforced by bureaucrats, to force people to be responsible.
CHG: Of course.
LFG: Who defines responsibility?
CHG: Politicians and bureaucrats.
LFG: So, they know what’s good for us.
LFG: So, citizens must do what the state says.
CHG: If they know what’s good for them, they do.
(For the rest of my article, click the link.)