On Driving

“I think it should be harder to get a license,” I was saying. “There are too many bad drivers on the road. Driving is a privilege, not a right.”

“That is the legal theory under which our licensing system operates,” Mr. Magundi responded, “but as a moral principle it is completely wrong. You and I are among the fortunate few who live within an easy stroll of public transit. If everyone had that choice, your principle would be sound. But in fact most Americans live in places where it is simply impossible to get to work without a car. As long as our economic system demands that everyone must be gainfully employed; as long as we build suburbs with zoning laws that actually prohibit businesses within walking distance of residences; as long as we refuse to provide transportation for those who cannot or will not drive—while these things are true, driving is a necessary prerequisite to making a living. And making a living is a necessary prerequisite to living at all. If one cannot live without driving, then, morally speaking, driving is a right, not a privilege, and no legal theory can supersede that moral truth.”

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3 thoughts on “On Driving

  1. The Supreme Court might well agree – after all, the Constitution states there is a right to travel within the US as well as a right to bear arms. I therefore suggest that we abolish all requirements for drivers licenses as unconstitutional.

  2. Your theory presupposes that everyone has a right to make a living. If that were true then jobs would be handed out on the basis of racial and gender quotas, not on the basis of skills, experience or education.

    Wait a minute. . . . . . . Never mind.

    1. There are libertarian philosophers who disagree, but Mr. Magundi says that he believes the right to life to be the foundation of all other rights. We have decided (he says) that it is in our economic interest not to make it possible to live without “making a living,” a term that would not exist if it were possible to live without it; therefore, “making a living” is a right, and whatever is absolutely necessary to “making a living” is also a right. It should be remembered that these are moral rights, not legal rights. Mr. Magundi is not such a fool as to believe that the Supreme Court would enforce moral rights without a legal basis.

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