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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Roads and the T Bill

Here is a reaction to Republican complaints about the $6.6 billion Transportation Bill as if Republicans are opposed to roads and want the transportation system in disrepair. Such a view is a gross misrepresentation of the conservative position.

Conservatives have solid reasons to support roads. Chief among them is our belief in private property rights which is foundational to the Bill of Rights. Consider the connection between private property and roads.

Imagine each of us owning ten acres of land without any roads. None of us could move off our property without trespassing on another’s. To visit a friend on a piece ten estates over, we would need to receive permission from each of those ten property owners. This state of affairs would require considerable negotiation to move about as well as enforcement to keep violators from crossing our property.

Public roads are the means by which we can move from our private property to another private property without trespassing or asking permission. Along with the legal concept of private property, we have developed the legal concept of a public corporation, whether that of township, city, county, state or federal entity.

All citizens of a public corporation can use the roads which are owned by that corporation. Because all townships and cities are political subdivisions of a state and all states are members of the United States of America, all citizens have the privilege of traveling on roads throughout the nation.

Generally speaking, humans are not hermits, but gregarious. Public roads give private property owners the means by which we can exercise our right of free assembly economically, socially, politically and religiously, which is acknowledged in the Bill of Rights. This alone is sufficient cause for us to have an adequate system of roads.

Roads enable each of us to engage in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, our unalienable rights given to us by our Creator, not government. Roads enable us to exercise our freedom, keeping us from being a prisoner on our own private property. Our unalienable right to freedom implies the need for roads that all citizens can use. That implies the need for us corporately to design a system of public roads that serves our unalienable rights.

Many of us blissfully traverse the highways each day with nary a thought about these fundamental concepts, concepts that should be common to Democrats and Republicans.

Conservatives have no intention of disrupting this time-honored interplay between private property and public ways. No Republican desires to go back to the township mud ruts of the 1950s. Any Republican would admit major sections of highway 95 in the county need rebuilding. County Road 20 has seen its useful life. Republicans are not interested in unsafe bridges that jeopardize life. Republicans do not take a back seat to anyone on these issues. It’s an insult to read a Democrat implying such and such a Dem has lost the argument before he gets started.

Wade Vitalis is correct when he ". . . argue[s] that public investments in . . . transportation . . . have helped create . . . wealth" (see Post Review comment section here). Roads give us access to free markets to engage in commerce. However, roads in the USA are not the king’s highways, nor the roads of a communist state, a socialist state or a democracy. They are the roads of a republic.

Democrats have forgotten this. Liberals have adopted an ever-increasing socialist attitude toward all of life, including roads. They revel in a top down nanny state imposition on the serfs of all things transportation. We Republicans aim to conserve the connection between private property rights and public roads in the context of a republic, in the context of competition in free enterprise. This implies we conservatives aim to have functional and safe roads.

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