Why is America So Divided? Look at the Highways

Bad drivers are parasites. They feed off the competence and focus of good drivers. When I say “bad driver” I’m referring to people who are willfully negligent — the people who text while driving, stop abruptly at 55 mph because they want to make a U-turn, or because they don’t know where they are, and the like.

Such people are parasites because they’re relying on the qualities of self-preservation and competence in others they have failed to develop in themselves, at least while on the road.

It’s infuriating, but it’s also a metaphor. Like the people who vote for vicious anti-Semites, fascists and Communists. The rest of us — who are rational — must pay the price for these dangerous and reckless voting decisions. And they can count on the rest of us to (at least sometimes) carry the more rational candidate over the top, as happened with Donald Trump in 2016.

As with reckless voting decisions, so too with reckless and negligent driving conditions. You can’t fix stupid. Only the stupid person can CHOOSE to become reasonable, reliable and smart. But once stupid reaches a certain point, there appears to be no going back.

The ultimate irony — whether it’s the road, politics or anything else — is that the negligent curse us (the capable and self-responsible) for the very qualities they’re counting on in order for survival. The people who drive negligently are often the very same ones who promote the idea of altruistic selflessness, and who condemn the idea of self-preservation. Yet if it weren’t for the self-preservation values of the people paying attention on the highway — and voting for Donald Trump rather than Alexandra Occasional-Cortex or Bernie Sanders — they’d be in even deeper trouble than they already are. They should thank us, not curse us.

I sense a civil war brewing in America, but it’s not a regional conflict, like the first Civil War. And it’s not primarily political, either. The battle seems to be between the capable and the incapable. We have different levels of intelligence and capability. It takes all kinds, and that’s not the problem. It never was. The problem is the conflict between the deliberately negligent — the willfully ignorant — versus those who seek to be reasonable, self-responsible and intelligent. Between those who want to know, and those who would rather not know. Between those who strive to be all that they can be, and those who simply want to rest on their laurels and let others do all the lifting. THAT’S the problem.

Perhaps the ultimate justice would be for such people to get what they deserve: Full and unfiltered accountability for their actions. In practice, this would mean letting Alexandra Occasional-Cortex win Speaker of the House, and Bernie Sanders win the presidency. Let America become Venezuela, with airplanes outlawed in 10 years and grocery shelves empty in two. Give them what they want.

Ditto for the road. Stop paying attention and let them deal with getting crashed into because self-responsible people stopped paying attention for them.
The problem is that those of us who still value self-preservation are not prepared to sacrifice ourselves in that way. And for THAT quality of self-preservation, we are roundly condemned as “selfish” and evil. By the unfixable stupid people who vote for terrorists or who drive recklessly on the highway. Ironic, isn’t it?

If you want to understand why the world is such a mess — and what must happen for it to correct itself — then look no further than the highway. The truth is out there.


Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1, and see “Michael Hurd” on MeWe.