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The cellphone temperance movement

October 1, 2011

[10th J.P.'s Moment of Common Sense, my weekly oratorial exposition on Broad View, KBZZ 1270 AM Reno.  Click on the microphone to listen.]

In case you haven't heard, our brand new cellphone law is now in effect. Starting today, the all-wise all-knowing state of Nevada says we may not use our cellphones while driving unless they're hands-free. The cops are going to issue warnings until January, and then they'll start writing us tickets that cost money.

God forbid that a man be able to call his wife and tell her he’s running late because he’s caught in traffic, or God forbid that a woman call home and ask her family if she needs to stop at the grocery store. Horrors! What a blessing that our legislators protected us from such dastardly conveniences.

This law is another victory for big-government nanny-staters, the people who never met a chance to meddle in other people's business they didn't love. And it’s another defeat for common sense and rational thought, because in spite of what you've heard from all the various and sundry special interest groups – most of them government financed – and all the self-styled and so-called safety experts – most of them also on the government dole – the evidence is clear that cellphone bans do not result in fewer traffic accidents.

Yep, you heard me right. Somebody has to have the guts to say it on the air. I'm sorry if it offends anybody’s over-stimulated sense of outrage, but facts are facts, people. Bans have been tried in numerous states, the data is in, and cellphone bans don't make a lick of difference. Those dimwitted busybodies in Carson City sold another piece of our freedom down the river for no other reason than intellectual laziness.

Is it asking too much for lawmakers to examine the evidence before they start telling us how to live our lives? Are they getting paid to just show up down there at the capitol, or do they get paid to do some homework and gather some facts before voting on stuff?

In the eighteenth century, the temperance movement fought against alcohol, marching in the streets, pressuring legislators, and generally making utter pests of themselves – sort of like the anti-cellphone crowd now. Spewing self-righteousness like spittle from Barney Frank’s jowls, they slowly but surely curtailed their fellow Americans’ drinking habits, ramming more and more restrictions on alcohol through state legislatures, until finally winning their ultimate victory: on January 16, 1919, Prohibition went into effect nationwide – alcohol use, alcohol sales, alcohol imports, and alcohol exports became illegal in the United States of America.

We all know what a mess that was. Americans kept right on drinking, but now they had to drink in illegal establishments. Gangs proliferated, thugs like the Kennedy family got rich bootlegging booze into the country, police departments were corrupted, and the doggone government missed out on a whole lot of taxes they were used to collecting on alcohol.

Prohibition was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933, and the self-righteous prigs of the temperance movement had to set their sights on new goals. Now, instead of outlawing alcohol, they spend their time trying to reduce the allowable blood level of alcohol for drivers to ever-more-ridiculously-low levels, raising the fines and penalties for DUIs to the point where a traffic ticket can literally ruin your life, and, because their urge to meddle has no discernable limit, they’ve added a couple new causes to their repertoire: secondhand smoke and cellphones.

Same prigs, slightly different issues.

You can tell it’s the same prigs because they use the same dishonest methods to push their agenda. With cellphones they cite so-called studies that claim 25% of crashes are caused by cellphones. Here’s where you need to use common sense, and understand the difference between correlation and causation. Lots of things are correlated but don’t have a causal relationship. More people died in car crashes in 1999 than in 1901, and more people drank Coca-Cola in 1999 than in 1901, but only a moron thinks that drinking Coca-Cola causes car crashes. The same thing applies to cellphones. Every single study that attributes traffic accidents to cellphones uses statistics which merely show a correlation. Just because a person was talking on a cellphone when a crash happened, that does not mean the cellphone caused the crash! Jeepers creepers, people, this is not complicated stuff!

Cellphone use has been skyrocketing for over a decade at the same time that accident rates have been decreasing, so right there you have solid evidence that cellphones don’t cause accidents. In addition to that, the Highway Loss Data Institute, which does research for the insurance industry, which is the people most concerned about what causes accidents because accidents cost them money, has studied what happens after states pass cellphone bans, and the bans have never resulted in fewer accidents. In fact, in three of the four states the institute studied last year, accident rates actually increased after the bans.

Gee, maybe talking on cellphones helps keep drivers alert.

Government will find endless reasons to steal our freedom. They’ll even make up reasons. If we want America to continue being America, we need to step up to the plate and fight each and every government attempt to control our lives, starting with this stupid, meddling, irrational cellphone ban.

Now that’s common sense.


"Many have passed the rocks of gross sins – who have suffered shipwreck upon the sands of self-righteousness." – William Secker

"Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits." – Mark Twain

From Reno, Nevada, USA       

April 9, 2012 - Hi! I wanted to know why most people don't take cell phone use more serious, because it's very likely causing bees to die, and if bees die - humans die. And what about factory farming too. We need more organic vegan people that don't use cell phones. That's one way to save the dying earth. Humans have to change now! Write a letter or get a land-line phone. - Anne, Michigan
J.P. replies: I don't know if cellphones are killing bees, but I doubt it. And I know that I have seen bees die without ill effect to any nearby humans. By the way, the earth is not dying.

October 5, 2011 - The police are already busy: ReReno's Blog - Donald R., Reno



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