Libertarians should ride motorcycles

Motorcycles as political statements?

Let the inaccuracy of my lowercase-l “libertarian” evidence underlying political apathy. If any combination of my words offends, know this: I do not care enough to offend, and I do not care if an offense is perceived, only inasmuch as it suggests a failure of my writing.

Parallels between both groups daily manifest in my interactions with either, to the point that I’m nearly convinced “motorcyclist” and “libertarian” mean the same thing.

At the core of it is a desire to move forward absent the impedance of others. It is assuming complete responsibility for one’s own fate; life, death, and getting to work on time. It is rejecting the coddling protection of nanny crash standards to wring out life’s juice from its core.

Fear dissolves beneath the faith that risk mated to talent breeds reward

Like libertarians, motorcyclists are oft perceived as dangerous, nihilistic. But we don’t hold contempt for order, we survive in it. Common misperception paints us selfish thrillers, in black and red. The liberty to weave paths between two-ton steel traps is lunacy to caged captives. But, hand gripped tightly ’round throttle, outside knee pressed into gas tank, head tucked inside with eyes fixed on the goal, it’s not lunacy that drives us, it’s control. Fear dissolves beneath the faith that we can take care of ourselves, that risk mated to talent breeds reward.

Motorcyclists suffer if we crash. Others, meekly separate from liberty, suffer daily to ignore the inevitable reality: We will die, every one of us. Tragedy, by definition, is fiction. Should a man suffer the consequences of his actions, that is not tragedy. That is reality. Motorcyclists value the choice of the individual because we are all intimately connected to consequences. We recognize the dulling effect of dividing action from painful effect. Safety is assumed granted, attention and effort lose relevance. Drivers drive shitty. Bad decisions made.

Staunchly individual, yes, yet ceremoniously communal. Motorcyclists share passing waves, acknowledging a common endeavor, a shared slight of safety in pursuit of Earth’s best. And while we honor the individual’s choice to risk it all, we reach out to riders in need. A bike on the shoulder attracts fellow riders eager to help, not content to wait for “someone else” to deal with a problem. We don’t rely on mandates or permission to solve life’s troubles, rather humanity.

We stretch our necks at the mercy of chance. We believe life lives better practiced than preached. We ride motorcycles. All libertarians should.


by Mark Ryan Sallee

I'm Mark Ryan Sallee. I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area, where motorcycles rule. Quality excites me. Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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