Open Letter to Mothers against Drunk Driving


  • Walter Block Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair in Economics. College of Business Administration. Loyola University New Orleans



Although I shall be criticizing you, even severely, please do not take this amiss. I mean your organization no harm. Quite the contrary. My two children, in their early 20’s, are both new dri-vers. I would suffer more than I can tell you if anything were to happen to them as a result of drunken driving. I am thus a sup-porter of yours. I am on your side. Please take what I say as no more than friendly amendments to your plans and proposals. Some of the following critiques may sound harsh, but friends do not mince words with each other in life and death situations, and I would like you to consider me a friend of yours. We may disagree on means, but certainly not on ends.

First, you must expand your scope of operations. While drunk driving is of course a major calamity on our nation’s roads, it is far from the only one. There are quite a few others, even besides the «big three» of speed, weather conditions and driver error1.

What difference does it really make if our children and loved ones die in a traffic fatality emanating from drunkenness or any of these other conditions? Happily there is no need to change even the MADD name if you adopt this suggestion. Only instead of the first «D» standing for «drunk» it could refer to «death,» as in Mothers Against Death Drivers. All of these things —alco-hol, drugs, speeding, malfunctioning vehicles, badly engineered roads, weather conditions, whatever— are threats to our fami-ly’s lives. Why single out any one of them?

A possible defense of the status quo is to borrow a leaf from the economists, and defend the present, limited, status of MADD on grounds of specialization and division of labor2. True, no one organization can do everything. Better to take on a limited agenda and do it well, than to take on too much and accomplish little or nothing.




How to Cite

Block, W. B. (2004). Open Letter to Mothers against Drunk Driving. REVISTA PROCESOS DE MERCADO, 1(1), 251–258.