Laboratories of Democracy – Part III My Travels in Blue State America

Blue state ignominies had a pattern; they were not merely random malevolent acts.

Laboratories of Democracy – Part III

My Travels in Blue State America

By: George Noga – April 4, 2021

This is the penultimate posting in our series; if you missed (horrors) either of the two previous posts, please go to our website: Next week (April 11th) is the series finale, Bonfire of the Blue State Vanities. That is one you don’t want to miss!

My wife and I once took a vacation, driving from our home outside Orlando to Cape Cod and then back to Washington from whence we took the Auto Train home. We drove via Florida, Georgia, Carolinas, Virginia, Washington, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut and finally Massachusetts.

We have driven extensively throughout the USA, including in all 50 states; but had not driven in the deep-blue northeastern states in decades. Everything was copasetic as we navigated north through Virginia. Once we hit blue states, we began noticing petty (and some not so petty) ignominies inflicted on motorists by government. It didn’t take long before we sensed a pattern and understood these were not merely random acts of malevolence. We began to compile a list, some of which are included in this post.

The most ubiquitous outrage was the doubling of fines for any reason and often for no apparent reason. In red states, speeding fines (and just speeding fines) are doubled in designated work areas when workers are present, as the rationale is to protect workers. Not so in blue states where all fines are doubled whether or not workers are present and even for infractions like an expired tag. It was all about raising revenue, not safety. Altogether, fines were doubled in most of the miles we drove in blue states.

Another frequent abasement was rest stops or, more pointedly, the lack thereof. Blue state rest areas were few and far between and many lacked facilities. In Connecticut they were renovating rest rooms; however, they closed consecutive ones instead of spreading them out. It was necessary to exit interstates to find commercial rest stops, requiring 30 minutes – and the rest rooms were only for those who buy gas.

And then there were the roads and bridges. CNBC ranks seven blue states worst in America in infrastructure (including six we drove through) while red states hold down all the top spots. There is an inverse relationship between tax revenue and quality of infrastructure due to union pensions displacing money that should go to infrastructure and also due to stratospheric construction costs – again due to unions. We did not use airports on our trip, but travelers rank blue state airports worst in the USA.

Our list of blue state indignities was extensive; following are ten of our favorites.

  1. We were not allowed to pump our own gas in New Jersey and Delaware.
  2. In some places signs read “Up to $10,000 fine for littering”.
  3. There were street signs only for cross streets; good thing I had GPS.
  4. There is a police presence in all work areas, even for mowing grass.
  5. Lanes were blocked at rush hour – for no apparent reason.
  6. There was a 3-mile line behind a street sweeper – escorted by police.
  7. Exits are not numbered by mileage like in the rest of the USA.
  8. Some parts of interstate highways are toll roads.
  9. There were scores of uber-dangerous double merges.
  10. Strangely, some rest stops were limited to vehicles over 5,000 pounds.

Why this jeremiad about asinine blue state indignities? First, it sharply contrasts differences between red and blue states. One can viscerally sense the miasma upon crossing from a red into a blue state. Second, it shows how insensitive, even hostile, governments in blue states are to the comfort, safety and convenience of their citizens. Third, it shows government is a malevolent force in small, as well as in large, matters.

If states truly are laboratories of democracy, the blue states I travelled through are quintessential examples of failed experiments. Their ignominious behavior explains why Americans are voting with their feet to get the hell out of blue state America.

Next on April 11th is the series finale: Bonfire of the Blue State Vanities.

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