The Myth Of Authority... "But There'd Be No Roads!"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Eric Peters via,

Along with the Myth of Authority – the idea that being ordered about by other people is legitimate so long as those people have given themselves titles or wear uniforms – there is this idea that, absent government, we’d never have things like roads.

Much less plowed roads.

It snowed hard over the weekend and I got to thinking about it as I watched the government plow trucks do their thing.

They do it very expensively.

It seems “free,” of course. The trucks rumble by and you aren’t sent a bill . . . for that. But you’re sent a bill – via the IRS, via your state-level IRS – for many other things, most of which (unlike roads and plow trucks to clear them when it snows) you probably don’t use, don’t want and – quite reasonably – would therefore rather not have to pay for.

Like, for instance, the estimated 10,000-plus nuclear warheads possessed by the federal government. Even if you’re not a Libertarian, it probably strikes you that a few hundred of them are sufficient for “defense.”

But we’re all forced to pay for as many nukes – and carrier battle groups – as the federal government decides it wants, even though we have little if any use for such.

The “defense” budget amounts to around $610 billion annually – nearly three times what China spends (appx. $216 billion) and more than seven times what Putin-rearing-his-head spends ($84.5 billion).

If the U.S. “defense” budget were to be cut in half, we’d still be spending as much as the dreaded Chinese and 4-plus times as much as the Russian bogeyman. Surely, sufficient for “defense.” Just imagine how much more money would be available for roads and plows to clear them. Things most of us probably would be willing to pay for and would pay for voluntarily.

Because we could afford to do so.

If, that is, we weren’t forced to pay for so many other things – like “defense” spending that amounts to more than what Russia and China and the entire axis of evil spend together.

Oddly, many Americans (especially Republican ones) believe “our military” is mendicant, like the ragtag Colonial Army at Valley Forge. That “we” must rebuild it. Because Putin, et al. Who – with his single operational Typhoon is going to challenge Uncle to nooklear combat, toe-to-toe, per Major Kong all those years ago.

People buy this stuff.


They pay for “rebuilding” (endlessly, excessively) the military – and lately, on top of this, the Homeland Security apparat. So there is less available to pay for things like roads and trucks to plow them.

Much less.

How many miles of new road could be paid for with $300 billion dollars – just half the current loony sum burned up on the “defense” budget? America would likely not be invaded or nuked in the meanwhile. The 10,000 nukes in stockpile will keep and if even nine out of ten of them are duds, probably 1,000 Hiroshima-plusses ought to suffice to keep Putin from rearing his head. But most Americans – trained to an extent that Dr. Goebbels, were he still around, would find startling – react exactly as required, siding with the government as it sticks its hands in their pockets yet again. Note that both candidates in the late election worked hard to outdo the other as the greatest champion of “defense.”

Even “small government” conservatives defend the defense budget – not grokking that “defense” is also government.

And very big.

Like the rest of the federal budget. It takes so much from us that we have very little left to spend on ourselves. On the things we need and want.

Most middle class people pay about 28 percent off the top in federal taxes; add more if you are self-employed and have to pay “your share” of the federal tax (it is actually called a contribution) toward FICA, also known as the Social Security tax. These taxes have the effect of making it very difficult to set aside money for retirement – because all your  working life, you are taxed to pay for the retirement of other people, many of whom do not “contribute” much and sometimes nothing at all. Regardless, the point is you could have provided for your own retirement – and probably, retired at a much younger age – if you hadn’t been fleeced at every paycheck to provide money for other people’s retirement.

All of us would be better off; and better able to help people who needed help. Non-coercively, too. Imagine that.


The faulty premise behind the anti-Libertarian argument that “we’d have no roads” and other needful things rests on the assumption – almost never questioned – that we would not have the money available to spend on such things, currently taken away from us to spend on other things.

Including “administration” (make-work government “workers”) and so on.

Imagine if you were allowed (vile, isn’t it, that such language is necessary?) to keep what you earned. Not 60 percent of it. All of it. To spend as you see fit, on only the things you need and want.

Probably, there would be roads. Very good ones.

And plow trucks, too.     

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Moe Hamhead's picture

That's like the Amazon chart!

peddling-fiction's picture

All roads would be toll roads.

Nothing wrong with that if you pay no taxes.

major major major major's picture

You could probably pay your toll with whiskey and herb though...

Fathead Slim's picture
Fathead Slim (not verified) peddling-fiction Jan 10, 2017 8:03 PM

Yeah, I could deal with that. Where I live, I pay taxes on gas, and the tags for the car and yearly property tax on the car, and tax on the insurance for the car, all on top of paying tolls as well.

Just paying tolls would be a break for me.

peddling-fiction's picture

A neighbor of mine, when I lived back in Finland in a rural area, had a Unimog with a snowplow, and cleared it himself because the road we lived on was not heavily used.

We chipped in for gas and some extra. Problem solved.

Rusty Shorts's picture

When Christopher Columbus discovered Cuba, there were already roads in North America.

xythras's picture
xythras (not verified) Rusty Shorts Jan 10, 2017 11:22 PM

Is because we also take care of that parasite Israel. Somewhere around 30% goes there and to those jews with stocks in MIC companies

But we have some bad ass future army girls:

Manthong's picture

"The Roads Must Roll

..a little different perspective…
..a blast from the past…

I read this when I was a kid.

Heinlein… no wonder I am so whacked.


..but go figure .......  "grok" made it into the dictionary.




Presumably no DMV terrorist fees either. 

Jack's Raging Bile Duct's picture

Not true. People need customers to have access to their businesses. It would just be another cost of business. People would still pay for them, directly or indirectly, but this setup would deliver the most efficient amount of road.

Furthermore, major highways like Eisenhower built wouldn't exist. We'd be taking aircraft everywhere, with dirigibles and trains moving major cargo. People would own less cars. It's always fun to present that argument to watermelons.


With .gov, we have bridges to nowhere and Cali high speed rail clusterfukks

mkkby's picture

Every privately built road/bridge I've ever seen has a "no tresspassing" sign or a gate.  Let's not be retarded.  I know that's difficult for most of you. 

No public roads would likely mean you walk everywhere.  Oh wait -- you can't walk across most private property either.  So I guess everyone stays put all the time.  You are rich and have a lot of your own property, right Homer?

But at least we didn't pay taxes.  Doh!

Yukon Cornholius's picture

Governments never shrink. They only expand. Until they die. 


Got Silver?

mary mary's picture

There's a salmon-scented girl and she gives my heart a whirl and she lives up in the Yukon far away.

She has skin you'd love to touch but you cannot touch it much because her fur-lined parka's in the way.

Ooga ooga ooga which means that I love you.  Dresses make of doeskin and coats of caribou.

You can talk about your Clementine and sing of Rosalee but the squaws along the Yukon are good enough for me.

(I don't know the author.  I think "squaw" is meant to be derogatory, but I also think "cracker" is meant to be derogatory, and I am proud to be a "cracker".  So apologies if I offended anyone.  Hope not.) 

shovelhead's picture

Prolly salmon flavored too.

flaminratzazz's picture

I have a pretty good idea what it would smell like.

The shit house door of a tuna boat

BabaLooey's picture

You are a WIZARD flamin!



I haven't heard that since my Uncle Ed was playing it on his radio fixing his old jalopy!

mary mary's picture

Oh... THANK YOU!  That made my day!   :-)  :-)  :-)

The Navigator's picture

Salmon-scented, salmon flavored, either is favored.

Thank you Mary Mary

I enjoyed it very much.

Squaw isn't derogatory - it was a word to mean woman or wife, neither is derogatory; both are high titles in my world.

mary mary's picture

Thanks.  And many thanks for the thought about wife being a high title.  :-)

kbohip's picture

I think that though both candidates talked a lot about defense, one was actually talking about DEfense, while the other was talking about OFFense.  Judging by Trump's dasterdly peaceful talk about Russia, it seems so far he intends to stick to that course of action.  Hopefully he continues to.

Yukon Cornholius's picture

He's sounding more and more intent on a war with Iran. His (((team))) is working hard to ensure it.

mary mary's picture

War against Iran IS war against Russia.  War against Iran would be another Syria, but 10 or 20 times larger.  Stupid.

Besides, Iran isn't hurting anybody.  Iran isn't hurting my family, or my town, or my State.  Mind your own business.

(not you, Yukon.  The USA.)

Golden Showers's picture

But we have to give Isreal nukes and pay for Isis. Freedom costs a buck 05.

TwelveOhOne's picture

"Freedom costs a buck 05." -- after they've lent you only a dollar.

Mr. Universe's picture

Just think about that for 30 seconds, twice as long as most Americans. If every $1 had $.05 of debt attached to it each time it was loaned out after twenty times the debt would be more than the amount printed on said fiat currency. The answer? Abolish debt based currency? Silly Rabbi, Fiat is for Goys. Issue more.

One of these is not like the others..'s picture

The less money that flows though my life, the happier I seem to get.

The money is made, organised and belongs to someone else.

It inserts itself wherever possible (at a price) in between us, and our hearts desires.

Learn to get what you want (learning how to only take what you need is a big part of it) directly. (Yes, without "paying" for it wherever possible, and if you HAVE to use "money" use cash). 


VWAndy's picture

 If we were not pushing the gravytrain my guess is nobody would need to push this hard.

El Vaquero's picture

This is my tread pattern:


I happen to think that paved roads are another example of wasteful government spending.  

mary mary's picture


Paved roads are nothing but subsidies of the automakers and the auto dealers (and the roadbuilders).

not dead yet's picture

Back in the late teens and and early 1920's the only decent way to travel outside of the big cities was by train or horrendous tracks that led to nowhere. It was the government that went on a road building spree to connect the cities and allowed the locals to build their connecting roads. No private company had the deep pockets to do this and if we waited for the private sector to build them piecemeal we would still be waiting. It put America on wheels and created the middle class that is now declining as we give away what made us great. While some wail and knash about bailing out the car companies they ignore the fact that it was the car companies that not only put us on wheels but helped create the industrial giant that the US once was and it was the leeches who skim the cream off all of our efforts by trading paper who almost brought the whole world economy to it's knees and dried up financing making government help inevitable lest millions of people go unemployed and the backbone of the US economy go belly up. Now the auto companies in just a few short years are back to health enjoying record sales and profits and along with their employees paying taxes. The giant that created millions of jobs and supplied the world with goods, and war material when Europe destroyed their industries in 2 world wars. Or how about when the government electrified the rural areas, the electric companies refusing to do so because of the negative returns, bringing electricity to farmers who not only bought electricty but created jobs by buying coolers and milking parlors, jobs for electricians and electrical suppliers as they electrified there homes and operations, and other equipment which allowed them to be more efficient and more able to eventually buy the huge equipment they now have freeing millions from farm work. We now have the internet that spans the world which the government created because the private sector saw it as a money pit until the government made it viable now everyone is in. The amount of money spent on equipment and research by the private sector for the internet is staggering and employs millions. Plus we all reap the benefits. John Rockefeller built his empire running his competitors out of business or buying them out by using new technology. Do you really think John D would have continued to use new technologies in his monopoly once his competitors were vanguished and new ones crushed. NOT. 

If you really believe your ignorant comment you should immediately park your car, never ride a bus, never leave home, and start growing your own food and making your own clothes as those same roads bring you everything you have in life and have given you access to a variety of goods and services that are cheaper and more plentiful with faster delivery. I may pay taxes for those "subsidized" roads but I also don't have a toll booth on every other corner to pay for those roads were they private. Or pay an extra toll bill every time they plow or fill a pot hole. A local government entity builds and maintains the roads and that's it. On a toll road we have toll takers, even though many have electronic tolls requiring one to buy a transponder, on the spot supervisors and managers managed by a further layer of managment or two then a board of directors and lobbyists at the statehouse then having to pay people to do the billing or count the money then send out bills and hope to collect payment and secretaries and computers and equipment golore and on and on. Then there's the wasted gas and peoples time when those toll roads turn into the worlds largest parking lots for hours every day as rush hour squeezes through the toll booths.


Mr. Universe's picture

Don't forget how the manufactured depression gave FDR a way to conscript a workforce to build such roads (and primed for war). As much as I marvel at our road system, it is a disaster and a giant boondoggle. Thanks for the history lesson though even if somewhat myopic. I suppose it's the mindset of , "gee I can't afford to do something so I'll FORCE others at gunpoint to pay for the progress I demand."

Muh roads? where are muh roads?

mary mary's picture

Thanks (and upvote), but I still think the same thing I wrote above.  

1. I remember when a nearby city had trolleys.  Then one of the auto companies bought the trolley company and shut it down.  It had plenty of customers, but of couse the auto company couldn't sell them any cars, because they didn't need cars, as long as they could use the trolley.  So... I'm all for new and better technology, but when the new technology turns into a monopoly, then I am against it.

2. I don't think there were hardly any private roads in the USA during the time before automobiles took over, so I don't accept that point. 

3. I also understand that the government also pushed a lot of people off their land with eminent domain to make way for rural electrification. 

4. I also remember just a few years ago when a nearby city passed an ordinance requiring anyone who wanted to sell cars as a business to own 5 contiguous acres of land.  That was the big established auto dealers keeping their monopoly safe from new upstarts and small mom-and-pop competitors. 

5. Lastly, the local newspaper has been talking about mass transport ALL MY LIFE, but, although it would be an easy thing to do, it never gets done, because it's all baloney and no actual intent.

"There are no monks in my band.  There are no saints in this land".  Red Hot Chili Peppers

peddling-fiction's picture

Looks good. Nice area. I like dirt roads as well. Makes it clear that a 4x4 or truck is the way to go.

TwelveOhOne's picture

If you're arguing about how many nukes we should have, to me, it sounds like arguing over how many unicorns we should have.

Do the research: nuclear explosions don't exist.  Radiation exists, definitely, but the explosions were caused by other means.

I could be wrong.

Sam.Spade's picture

Tomorrow at noon, assuming the sky where you live is clear, go outside and look at the sun.  Stare it it for ten minutes.  Then look away.  The burned spot on your retina will forever be proof to you that nuclear explosions do exist.

TwelveOhOne's picture

Ah, no.  There's no proof that the sun is an exploding nuclear device.  It's far more likely that it's an energy transference medium.  See the Thunderbolts project -- closer to reality, except they haven't accepted the firmament.

Then again, Operation Fishbowl was tossing nukes at the firmament, so perhaps we are able to cause huge explosions absent incendiary portions...

wisehiney's picture

For the first 200 or 275 years of this country's existence, neighbors took care of the portion of roads, bridges and ditches that were near their property.

I am willing to do my part.

As for .gov and bankers.......

       Hack and cut,

           Slash and burn,

              Starve the fucking beast.

GreatUncle's picture

It's relative you pay for the ability to trade with those local to you, not this community spirit shit they tell us.

It is all bollocks though.

Mother nature mightily pissed off, she up to her ass in useless concrete roads.

mary mary's picture

Yes.  That, too, was "defense" spending.   The irony!  :-)

Still Losing Money's picture

a stupid article written by a clown who wouldn't survvie 5 minutes without his government supplied "freebies"

eric complains that there is no road, then he complains that he has to kick in some bucks to pay for the road that he will use and wants, then he complains that there isn;t enough money to build the road and then he complains that there is no road.....

Fathead Slim's picture
Fathead Slim (not verified) Still Losing Money Jan 10, 2017 7:59 PM

I know Eric. He doesn't get any "freebies". Speaking of kick, Eric could kick your squirmy little ass. Stop whining about Eric.

shovelhead's picture

I'll bet you don't know Jack.

TuPhat's picture

I don't know Jack or Eric, but I didn't agree with the article.  We do spend too much on the military but expecting only the border states to provide for national defense because they are on the border would be ridiculous.  My house isn't on the border so I shouldn't pay a dime for defense.  Perhaps just  make all the roads toll roads so that any invaders would have to pay a toll would keep them out.  Maybe only the people who live in the desert in Arizona should keep illegals out.  We all know that would not work out any better than what we have now but no federal gov. at all is not the answer.

CRM114's picture

The problem is not the military, it's the civilians. They spend so much on committee meetings to decide what font to print the manuals in that they end up having to cancel the Main Battle Tank.

mary mary's picture

One problem is the revolving door, through which Generals retire to become highly-paid officers and salesmen for Military Companies, and maybe also, for a little side cash, become highly-paid "military expert" talking heads on MSM, telling us they are "very afraid" and they think we need to start bombing a few more countries to protect our families from those little old Russian ladies in tennis-shoes.

Fathead Slim's picture
Fathead Slim (not verified) mary mary Jan 10, 2017 7:57 PM

Well, you know... little babushkas are kinda scary with those tennie pumps and all. I saw this map one time and it turns out that Russia is right across a little frozen up lake looking thing from Alaska.

I was shook.

New_Meat's picture

Tina Fey can see Russia from her house.  She said so.