Mandatory technician licensing: it's a matter of public safety

Yes, again we're going to argue about automotive repair licensing, but for the sake of full disclosure I will reveal the following:

  1. I not only support licensing, because it would make the roads safer, but also because it will help increase the salary of technicians.
  2. I voted for Michael Badnarik, Chuck Baldwin and Virgil Goode in the last three Presidential elections. If you do not know who they are, chances are that you are not as serious about reducing the size and scope of government as I am.

However, let's get back to automotive. The following is a synopsis of criticisms of a previous blog where I suggested that DIY auto repairs were making the roads less safe.

"Keep government out!"

"I believe that more people have been killed by Politicians with pencils than by DIYs!"

"The VERY LAST thing that I want is MORE GOV'T involvement in ANYTHING!!"

I'm glad to see the Tea Party is alive and well, but let's remember that their philosophy is rooted in "Natural Law," which supposes that the government ought to not deprive people of "rights" whenever possible.

How extreme do we get with this principle?

Should the government regulate the roads that people drive on? Then why not the people who fix the vehicles that drive on those roads?

Personally, I don't really care if the person who cuts my hair has a license, even though by law to cut hair for profit the stylist needs one. Heck, I would even say if you want to go to a quack doctor without a license, go for it. Then why would I care if a technician has a license?

The difference between a doctor and stylist, and the technician, is that if you choose to go to an ignorant doctor and he kills you, that's YOUR problem. It affects no one physically other than yourself. If you get deficient work done on YOUR car and your brakes fail and you hit my car, now it's MY problem. This is why we have driver's licenses.

Anyone who has read John Locke knows that our nation is founded on a philosophy of restricted government that only interferes in matters of personal property. So, for the same reason your next door neighbor can't throw his garbage on your lawn, that same neighbor should not be allowed to put other people's lives and property at risk.

Why? If gross negligence only affects the negligent individual, then who cares? It's when that individual's negligence hurts someone else that it becomes a problem. This is when licensing for doctors, stylists and selling liquor make zero sense, but licensing for auto repair makes all the sense in the world.

One final response to a comment. One reader wrote: "Do you really think a license will stop a Saturday afternoon brake [job] by either the owner or a guy down the street?"

No, any more than illegalizing drunk driving makes drunk drivers disappear. However, if a license was needed to simply buy parts, just like a MACS license was needed to buy R12 back in the day, we will have less of the problem that we're trying to eliminate.

Keep up with the comments, it has been fun.