A bike bridge too far

As a student of history, I must admit that being on the right side of history (i.e., attuned to the long-term trends) seems to mean being on the political left side-at least in the sense that the list of human rights-guaranteed-by-government has grown inexorably in modern times. The growth of government has historically been a leftist objective.

Sometimes growth has arrived one at a time: women's suffrage, for example; and occasionally in bunches: three of the Four Freedoms of FDR were new ones. Sometimes they're just a more generous form of a previously recognized new right-housing, for example.

Medical services have now progressed (my choice of verb has political identification) from voluntary charity to mandatory entitlement in recent decades.

All the left's efforts have in common dependence upon the broad-based tax or, if you prefer the original doctrine in translation from the Russian, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need".

Each new human right used to be pretty basic: the U.S. Second Amendment, for example, or the Seventh Amendment. Some of them used to be half entitlement and half user-fee based (like public education in Vermont), but more recently some of them are getting-dare I say-a bit frivolous such as bicycle bridges.

The creators of such things as bike bridges don't recognize this; they don't call bike bridges a human right-instead, they prefer to define them as public improvements which in their "logic" should be paid for by all, even if they're only used by a few.

When the nation was young, such things were almost entirely user-fee based, which explains why the first national public improvement, known as the Cumberland Road, was equipped with toll booths. If you didn't use the Road, you didn't pay.

Similarly, there's the circa-1825 Erie Canal which was financed by tolls through 1882. The first interstate highways -the Pennsylvania and New Jersey turnpikes-were bonded and toll-funded.

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