Oakland, CA — While the question of "Who will build the roads?" is typically presented as a problem that only government can solve, all too often, government does nothing to solve it, or, in some instances, makes the problem worse. Every election year we listen to the politicians all preach about the crumbling infrastructure and how they will fix it. And, every year after each election, the American people never see those promises come true.
Because the state is notoriously horrible at doing the jobs they claim to do, an anonymous group in Oakland, California has taken it upon themselves to fix the problem. Because fixing potholes without the approval of the state is illegal, these self-proclaimed "pothole vigilantes" strike under the cover of darkness in the dead of the night.
The group has a GoFundMe account set up and resident of Oakland donate to it. Folks with dangerous potholes on their streets can then request that the vigilantes fix it — and that is exactly what they do.
What started as a mission between two friends quickly grew into a much larger movement that gained national attention and dozens of volunteers. In a short film posted this month to Facebook, residents of Oakland expressed their praise for the group in the comments below it.
They have to do this because our government is corrupt and fails us all. It is in our hands to make things right for ourselves. Government officials only care about making money while plunging us deeper in debt. These guys are REAL ones.
This is great! I'm thrilled that people take it upon themselves and just make it happen... I'm disheartened that our tax dollars and government neglect these issues. It costs so much less to prevent and patch these problems than it does to deal with lawsuits and harm caused by their existence in the first place.
thank you for the time and effort you guys are contributing to Oakland It doesn’t unnoticed. Makes me wonder if I’ve driven over filled potholes that you guys have fixed I’m sure I have.
The work by this group cannot be understated. While so many folks think we need the government "to build the roads," projects like this dispel that claim by showing that work can get done through voluntary measures and without theft via taxation.
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Despite the fact that many people believe roads would cease to exist if they were not funded by the government, private charities and businesses have actually been able to serve this function in isolated circumstances when they had the freedom to do so.
As TFTP reported in 2018, Domino's Pizza took to solving pothole problems by encouraging customers to nominate their towns for pothole repairs at pavingforpizza.com. So far, they have gone to all 50 states and repaired roads in dozens of cities.
Another perfect example of this very situation was in the news a few years ago on Hawaii’s Kauai Island, when private citizens performed a $4 million road repair job for free—in just 8 days. When a need arises in a community, people naturally come together and take care of what needs to be done; they don’t need someone forcing them to do it.
"We shouldn't have to do this, but when it gets to a state level, it just gets so bureaucratic, something that took us eight days would have taken them years," said Troy Martin of Martin Steel, who donated machinery and steel for the repairs. "So we got together—the community—and we got it done."
In one Michigan community, people took these matters into their own hands instead of sitting around and waiting for the failed government to do it. In 2015, residents of Hamtramck, Michigan—a community in the heart of Detroit—started an effort to fill in potholes and repair roads themselves.
Critics of taxation are often asked, "who will build the roads?" Apparently, there are those who believe that in the absence of the state, humanity will suddenly become incapable of laying down a dirt path or connecting roads into an interstate freeway. These people discuss the creation of government roads as if the construction was simply due to the kindness of government and not made possible by the theft of taxation.
However, what the government really does is collect money from private citizens under the threat of violence, then use that money to employ those very same citizens to build infrastructure. The reality is that the people could build infrastructure themselves for less money if they coordinated with neighbors and other communities and they would do a far better job at it.