Rights to the Road Leads to Anomie

One who is an artist, knows that sometimes constrainst themselves can free us.

How so?

Let’s consider the opposite: doing art with no rules. Instead of being liberating, as one might assume, no rules in art can lead to a feeling of hopelessness. When everything is possible, nothing seems worth doing.

In 1897, “Durkheim used the term anomie to describe this temporary condition of social deregulation, and anomic suicide to describe the resulting type of self-inflicted death; but in one sphere of life, he added, anomie is not a temporary disruption but rather a chrome state. This is the sphere of trade and industry, where the traditional sources of societal regulation — religion, government, and occupational groups — have all failed to exercise moral constraints on an increasingly unregulated capitalist economy.”


What this means, is the Durkheim, in his research found that the people most likely to commit suicide were those who were disconnected from society. One thing that can make one feel disconnected is lack of boundaries that is unlimited freedom.

Thus, those people who speak only in terms of unlimited freedom unwitting advocate for mimizing one’s chance at happiness and even laying groundwork for conditions where one is likely to commit suicide.

I feel that in the United States, the Left is especially lost regarding morality, and that they have given away any chance of moral authority by fearing limits to freedom and fear of talk of morality itself.

I feel that this fear has allowed people to feel that cycling itself is immoral. I feel this way because people sometimes find cycists “disgusting” and primitive morality came from feelings of disgust.

What does this have to do with cycling?

Well, for one, the whole notion of fearing environmentalism is wrong because this is a form of morality which everyone can relate to. Whether or not God created the Earth, the Earth has created us, and we’d be stupid and ungrateful AND IMMORAL bastards to ruin the planet.

When I see people who hate the environment, I wonder if they’d slap their mother around because the Earth is mother to us all.

Also, I feel that the whole idea of “rights to the road” and “freedom to ride everywhere I want on the road” is creating a feeling of anomie where if we can ride everywhere, we wind up riding not at all. Look at how often those who whine the most about Rights, ride. Not testing these “rights” much.

If we are “restricted” by cycle tracks, I feel that this is a healthy restriction. A cycle track means that the government and society in general is inviting us all to cycle. When I see a six lane road with no shoulder, I don’t feel this invitation.

When I hear about the whining of the “nanny state” I wonder who raised these poor people. Nannys are loving and helpful. It’s arrogant to feel that we are so independent as to be totally disconnected from all of society and as Durkheim pointed out, these people who hate their nannies are so disconnected from society as to have a much higher suicide rate.

So I say, if we are going to be restricted, let’s do it all as a society, riding side by side in cycle tracks as riding off the road is the Right thing to do.

Those who go off on their own, we’ll give them their space, but also let them know that the door is still open, there’s still room in the fold. And if they kill themselves we’ll be sad, but mostly we’ll have the proper amount of love and equanimity.


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