Thursday, 18 February 2016

Road Users – A Parable

Road Users – A Parable

In the U.K. we drive on the left on our roads. This is not simply a matter of custom or social convention, but it is enshrined in law and written in our Highway Code, the booklet studied by every driver as a guide for all road users.

Nevertheless, a group of Liberal Motorists have decided that this rule is an infringement of their personal freedom and a dictatorial restriction on their right to choose.  “We should be free”, they argue, “to drive on the right or left, or even on both sides at different times. Some of us are by nature right hand drivers, and it would be unloving to force us to drive on any other side.”

Some of the Liberal Motorists have argued that although the Highway Code does speak of driving on the left, we should interpret this contextually.  Some passages, although mentioning the left obviously do not mean us to take this instruction literally - by “left” it actually means “right”. Others have argued that this practice of driving on the left is historically conditioned and now, in a more enlightened age, we realise that it is better to drive on the right.  The fact that British cars have the steering wheel on the right, (for left side driving), is no counter argument - we can simply mechanically adjust the layout of the controls and move the steering wheel to the left.  Indeed it is every Motorists right to have this done at State expense.

Some Liberal Motorists are more radical.  They acknowledge that the Highway Code consistently and universally requires motorists to drive on the left. They do not seek, by subtle arguments, to reinterpret this fact; they rather assert that as modern drivers we are no longer under the authority of the Highway Code and can simply reject its rules and thereby allow driving on the right.  They claim that they have great respect for the Highway Code, but that this respect is shown not by slavishly following its directions, but by following the underlying “spirit” of the Highway Code which obviously encompasses driving on the right. Besides, it is argued, certain more enlightened countries have already moved to driving on the right.  We must go with the flow and follow the spirit of the age. They also argue that this issue is not a matter of fundamental importance and surely liberty of opinion and practice should be extended to all Motorists on this issue.

Thus some Liberal Motorists simply ignore the Highway Code, others have tried to have the Highway Code amended, others have convinced some left side drivers that we can accommodate both views within the Motorist fraternity, and still others have simply taken a unilateral decision and have started driving on the right. It has even been argued that in the progress and development characteristic of the new age of enlightenment that anyone who refuses to recognise the right to drive on the right should themselves not be given a driving licence; they should be denied the opportunity to become Motorists because of their narrow, backwards and discriminatory attitude.

Meanwhile, some traditional Motorists, having grown tired of the constant debate, and the chaos, confusion and carnage on the roads, have decided that in future they will take the train!

Matthew 11:15, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

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