1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/13446/dancing-for-the-state/

Dancing for the state

August 1, 2010 by

Ohio law requires new drivers under the age of 18 to complete a state-approved driver education course consisting of “a minimum of 24 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours behind the wheel.” So it should come as no surprise that there are a host of private companies providing state-approved driver training. But what are these companies really providing – selling – and what is the consumer really buying?

My son is scheduled to begin the classroom portion of the “training” program – six four-hour classes held two evenings a week for three consecutive weeks. Wondering what occurs during each of those four-hour classes, he talked to a friend who recently completed his sentence … er, program.

It turns out the instructor showed movies and otherwise attempted to entertain fidgety kids for four hours at a stretch. Nothing of substance was taught. But nothing of substance was desired.

You see, the school is selling a completion certificate that the state will recognize. And the driver is purchasing the same. So the class is merely a ruse to satisfy some nanny regulation, and nothing more.

The beauty of this system (from the point of view of the private companies) is that, even though the movies shown during the class are available free online, only state-recognized companies can provide the certificate. And only the certificate matters.

Of course, the behind-the-wheel time is no more instructive. So the young driver is out 32 hours and the parent $300.

The only beneficiaries are the companies providing the classes. Oh, sure, plus some nanny do-gooders throughout Ohio who sleep a little more soundly knowing their regulation is still in effect.

My hope is that the real winner is the cause of freedom as young drivers quickly recognize another instance of silly government interventions and hold the state in contempt. I certainly hope they do not mindlessly play along, assuming that it is our lot to dance for the state whenever called to do so.

{ 42 comments }

Jake W. August 1, 2010 at 10:43 pm

I got my driver’s license in Idaho. The high schools in my district offered a driver’s ed. course that gave you academic credit towards high school graduation (which I thought was ridiculous) and a driver’s certificate at the end.

苍井空 August 1, 2010 at 10:54 pm

我也要加紧写文章了

RTB August 2, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I agree.

Seattle August 1, 2010 at 11:11 pm

For some reason I feel like I’ve seen this exact same blog post before. Weird.

Brad R. August 1, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I’m required to do something very similar every year to keep my law license current. The attorneys attending these lectures read the newspaper, do work for their clients, and even play video games in their iPhones.

When you think about it, college isn’t so different.

Mikey McD August 2, 2010 at 3:46 pm

College is a choice.

katrina halili August 2, 2010 at 1:17 am

just see my website…thanks

guard August 2, 2010 at 3:05 am

We have to bow down in order to get our food.

newson August 2, 2010 at 4:22 am

kiss the ring.

J. Murray August 2, 2010 at 5:24 am

They can kiss a different part of my anatomy.

bob August 2, 2010 at 3:11 am

do work for their clients, and even play video games in their iPhones.

J. Murray August 2, 2010 at 5:25 am

This has been going on for a long time. I went through that driver’s education course in 1997 in Texas. It was basically the same thing. Show unrelated videos, drive around the parking lot for 8 hours. What’s worse, it was during summer vacation.

river August 2, 2010 at 5:58 am

This is clearly not just a driving education program for minors; it’s obvious that there’s an underlying reason for implementing such a program. One obvious reason would be for the state to rake in more revenue. In a program like this, revenue will be generated as long as minors seek to drive (which they will, because getting a license is something many teenagers want to do and currently enough of them are sitting through these four-hour driving classes). Though I can’t say I’m familiar with the current financial state of Ohio, I know a lot of states are drowning in debt. California’s budget deficit is resulting in the price of various services being hiked up. The public education system is becoming much more costly, and students are even being charged for services they don’t use as part of their base tuition. In addition, the state is trying to raise revenue by constantly increasing the prices of traffic violation tickets. Sometimes it really makes one wonder what the governmental institutions are actually trying to achieve with their programs.

Franklin August 2, 2010 at 7:49 pm

They are giving the people what they want.

An emperor’s shield is not the armor held by his forearm; it is the millions who will throw themselves between him and the arrow volley.

Not all apologists are necessarily on the dole. Most citizens believe this is the role of the state, and most state employees believe in their cause. As Ryan says, the rule base becomes etched into the “local culture” (precisely!) where the only ones questioning this are the “crazy anti-government” folks.

Swapping out a bureaucrat for the better bureaucrat happens every couple of years. That’s relatively easy compared to the true answer — not a man but a mindset, driving a sea change of culture. And cultural paradigms evolve over decades, centuries.

Discouraged? Don’t be. Simply an illustration of the gargantuan task ahead. Most on this site are courageously up for it, nevertheless.

Ryan August 2, 2010 at 7:26 am

That system has been in place in Ontario for decades. Yes, it’s ridiculous, but no, no one has ever stopped to question the system. Once enough of these things take root, they become a part of the local culture. The only people who stop to ask questions about it are the “crazy anti-government” folks.

Thank your stars that you at least don’t have a graduated license system (yet).

Sam August 2, 2010 at 7:34 am

No 16 or 17 year old child would be allowed to drive on my private roads so you should feel lucky/lame that the state has the monopoly and is so foolish in your area to let them loose on your highways and byways.

J. Murray August 2, 2010 at 8:34 am

So wrong, so very very wrong. Private roads would not reject 16 year old drivers. They may even accept younger drivers than that. It’s all about balancing revenue with costs. Private roads could very well charge a price high enough to counter any increased costs (maintenance, paying for damage to other customers, reduced patronage) of the younger driver. Additionally, special youth-friendly roads could pop up, allowing younger drivers a place to practice away from normal traffic patterns.

This falls under the premise of just because you lack imagination and creativity doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

Old Mexican August 2, 2010 at 9:42 am

Re: Sam,

No 16 or 17 year old child would be allowed to drive on my private roads

IF you had a private road, then that would be your valid choice.

[...] so you should feel lucky/lame [sic] that the state has the monopoly and is so foolish in your area to let them loose on your highways and byways.

What makes YOU think that other people’s private roads would not allow 16 or 17 year old drivers as well? You assume too much when thinking that everybody else would be as foolish to turn away The Green as you would.

mpolzkill August 2, 2010 at 9:45 am

‘Twas the State that made 16-year-olds so.

tralphkays August 2, 2010 at 11:51 am

Ha-ha, very good Matt.

Old Mexican August 2, 2010 at 9:39 am

Of course, the behind-the-wheel time is no more instructive. So the young driver is out 32 hours and the parent $300.

Now we get to the why – it is nothing more than a State-sponsored racket.

Jake August 2, 2010 at 10:01 am

Agreed, and I’m sure the Ohio gov. gets a healthy cut of that $300.

Much like emissions testing here in the Atlanta area, where a yearly emissions inspection is something like 30-40 dollars, over 20 of which goes directly to the local gov. Simply a form of taxation disguised as a “service”.

George August 2, 2010 at 9:56 am

“Of course, the behind-the-wheel time is no more instructive. ”
Why?

I took some lessons in order to shorten the waiting time to get a license to drive without an accompanying adult, and it WAS indeed instructive. Do you think a private road system would just allow all sorts of drivers to drive around willy nilly? Then stop complaining and pretending that everything the state does is automatically bad, and try to come up with some better justifications and alternatives.

mpolzkill August 2, 2010 at 10:02 am

Would anyone ever say:

“Stop complaining and pretending that everything muggers do is automatically bad, and try to come up with some better justifications for keeping your money and alternatives for the mugger.”

Wait, I bet Michael would.

Gil August 2, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Libertarians would spew if private road owners were more liability-conscious and didn’t allow people to drive until less they had far more stricter driving-training than the state which would stop most people personally driving on private roads. Presumably they’re hoping they could sign some of waiver whereby the private road owner would not be liable for any accident caused by the driver. However, I do agree with you that Libertarians are presuming private road owners are going to let people drive mostly willy-nilly (“Stoopid guvmint telling me what speed I should do or how much I can drink before I drive!”).

Jim August 3, 2010 at 6:25 pm

No, that wouldn’t be libertarian (At least not the kind who read Mises) saying that. It would be the wrapped in a Gadsen flag America “patriots” playing Red Dawn in their backyard everytime a new gun regulation is passed who believ the US constittion was God-sent and not the work of liberal thought. Actual libertarians are much different.

Les Smith August 2, 2010 at 10:37 am

Sounds very similar to continuing education requirements for my real estate and insurance licenses…

Ken August 2, 2010 at 10:39 am

@mpolzkill, heh.The only beneficiaries are the companies providing the classes……and I am certain that those companies lobbied energetically when this legislation was written and enacted in Columbus. See how wonderful the regulatory regime is? It even creates economic opportunity!

But the important thing is that G_d’s Anointed are looking out for us.

mpolzkill August 2, 2010 at 12:10 pm

For thine is the kingdom,
the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.
Amen.

tralphkays August 2, 2010 at 11:59 am

My daughter just went through this charade and got her license. Interestingly our insurance company offered a different course that we were free to accept or reject as we wanted. On completion they rewarded us with lower insurance rates. Unlike the government mandated program, this one actually made her a better driver, and because I had to participate, surprised me by improving my driving as well. Freedom actually works.

Walt D. August 2, 2010 at 1:40 pm

“Simply a form of taxation disguised as a “service”.”
Spot on – follow the money. Traffic school in California has also become an online cottage industry – just pay the fine and an extra “fee” in exchange for not having a moving violation on your record.

Karthik Annaamalai August 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

I agree. I am currently going through the license process in California and have not learned much, yet still had to pay for an instructor and such. However, I wonder if there is any other option for the government. They cannot rescind the requirement because they still want people to learn the rules and traffic laws. Sure, the government could pass stricter regulations on the information that a driving school needs to teach, but that would simply lead to driving schools finding loopholes in the system. Loopholes will always exist and we have to do our best to cope with them.

Fephisto August 2, 2010 at 1:52 pm

But…but…the education is PRIVATIZED.

*roll eyes*

Craig August 2, 2010 at 6:04 pm

What hits me — besides the obvious creation of an industry by state-orders — is the hardship this places on low-income people. For a kid from a poor family, $300 must be an almost insurmountable expense. I suppose, though, that an army of bureaucrats has been put in place to grant scholarships and waivers to the deserving.

And so it goes.

Franklin August 2, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Heh, exactly, Craig. To address the consequences, we simply repair it, make a new rev, sew a little patch, bolt on a new feature, engineer extension arms, add-ons, adjustments, fixes, a little more here and there, not to worry, we’ll get it right, we’ll get it perfect, just another turn of the screw, addendum, committee, credit, rider…. until Frankenstein’s monster has the power to squeeze the very life out his own maker.

By the way, loved the Lloyd Dobbins “and so it goes” tag. Was a big fan of his a long time ago.

Gil August 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm

If they can’t afford $300 then how are they going to afford even a half-decent used car?

BioTube August 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm

So do they just use their parents’ cars in your wonderland?

Jim August 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Just took this course in Ohio. Needless to say I came away much more informed.

Well thats probably because I was reading FA Hayek in between classes.

carts August 26, 2010 at 11:56 am

I hated those courses! I remember ‘beer-brand beer’ being bought my kids who eventually got into a drunk driving situation and the movies from the 1960′s where you were told to honk at every intersection to alert other drivers you are barreling towards them lol.

carts August 26, 2010 at 11:57 am

I hated those courses! I remember ‘beer-brand beer’ being bought my kids who eventually got into a drunk driving situation and the movies from the 1960′s where you were told to honk at every intersection to alert other drivers you are barreling towards them lol.

Kris August 26, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Getting Driver License here in the Philippines is very easy, As long as you are 18 years old and you know how to drive you can get the Student Privilege. But you need to attain seminar first on safety and correct driving.

Magnus August 26, 2010 at 12:26 pm

You get a state-issued license and then you’re targeted as a criminal for it.

http://nfa.ca/operation-zero-tolerance

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: