Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The freedom of the open road

I’ve heard a few people say that before they submit themselves to the indignity of another airport, they’ll drive. The TSA’s bad touch is the final straw. Flying is out. Now the TSA wants to set up shop in more and more train stations. Even buses require ID. The security state is tightening its grip.

So we think we can just take our car. Car and motorcycle commercials promote the idea: freedom of the open road.

It’s an illusion and getting less free by the day. Americans love the open road. Heck, I love it myself, but I’m no longer think if it as freedom. There was always a certain element of myth to the idea, but the reality is worse than ever.

There’s the entry price: a vehicle capable of highway speeds. Add in license, registration, inspections, and insurance. Fill up the tank with expensive and highly taxed fuel, and you are ready to go. . .

. . . on the roads built and maintained by taxpayer money, and occasionally tolls. Follow all the driving rules or an officer of the law in a car with flashing lights will take what little freedom you have away.

That’s bad enough, but most of us pretty much got used to it. Mostly we didn’t mind following rules that made sense. We have to have some guidelines when we come to a four way intersection. For the sake of public safety, there are rules.

Okay then, outside of all that, the roads are open and free, right? Not so fast. Enter the ever more intrusive and common police roadblock. It’s bad enough the local cops do it. Of course, state police and sheriff departments conduct them too. Other government agencies get into the act, Immigration, Border Patrol, and I hear the TSA wants to do them too. Don’t you just love the ever expanding government beast?

How about biking or walking? Plenty of places are off limits: the Interstate Highway, many bridges and tunnels, and many of the roads you could legally walk on will get you killed in traffic.

Freedom of travel was never free, but it’s certainly gotten worse.



  1. I have noticed new interstate exits to new coverd pull offs. Looks like border patrol check points but suppose any agency could have put them up.

  2. Big brother has been here for quite some time. Most just didn't notice.

  3. There has been a Border Patrol checkpoint on northbound US 77 just before Sarita for as long as I can remember. 20 years ago it was just a metal roof over some pull off lanes, like a truck weigh station, and I don't think it was open 24/7. Today it is. And that metal roof now has offices under it. The place is swarming with BP agents. On both the north and southbound lanes there are elaborate camera/sensor setups. Every single northbound vehicle is stopped, checked over by a dog, and the driver questioned about their citizenship. Did I mention that Sarita is over 100 miles NORTH of the border? Welcome to Gulag Amerika...