John Dryden insisted that "virtue is its own reward," but it probably didn't occur to him that often virtue is a tremendous pain in the neck and points lower.

One of my first exposures to this phenomenon involved the federal 55-mph speed limit, enacted by Congress as a response to the energy crisis and, I thought, universally disliked. I thought wrong. Almost immediately, an amazing number of persons, apparently enamoured of the speed limit and anxious to appear conspicuously law-abiding, parked themselves in the left lane at 52 mph and refused to get out of the way. The wags at Car and Driver magazine dubbed these misbegotten souls the "Anti-Destination League", and even today, with the double-nickel only an unpleasant memory in most states, members of the League still clutter up the wrong lane of the freeway.

These slowpokes, at least, managed not to get hoisted on their particular petard, which puts them a couple of ticks ahead of a few Republicans in the House of Representatives, anxious to make an issue of the President's philandering, and never suspecting that their own little, er, "indiscretions" would come to light. The House is obviously not made of glass, but the qualifications for throwing stones are lost on some of these characters. Perhaps they were too obsessed with their own virtue? As Dr. Laura might say, "Get over yourselves." Of course, these days she's more likely to say "Please don't download my nude photos."

The Vent

4 November 1998

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 Copyright © 1998 by Charles G. Hill