Nameless riders and Supreme Court Justice

Few months ago I went riding to Eastern Washington, then just hopped over to Idaho and Montana for a full day exploration. Did this loop via Hwy2 – Troy – Bull Lake and finally back to Washington via HWY200/2. Needless to say, Montana is gorgeous! Had stopped more than a few times for breathtaking views and also for fuel. Basically exquisite views to fuel the weary senses and Chevron to fuel the motorcycle. Like a lot of other journeys, this also involved riding through stretches of rustic towns. Even though the area was novel to me, for the curious onlookers at the gas stations I was just another motorcyclist! Just another nameless rider, even though looking jaded from journey, exhibiting frequent unexplained bursts of enthusiasm to navigate those winding roads, often at uncomfortable speeds!

Might sound romantic, but unlike traveling in a car or truck, there is a degree of anonymity to motorcycling. Doesn’t matter where you live or what you do, during those long journeys your identity turns into that of a rider! It’s sort of like the famous veil of ignorance, the unique life circumstances of a motorcyclist hidden beneath all that protective gear! There is also a degree of comfort in that anonymity. It’s like you’re admired or derided or just ignored purely for your riding, not for other incoherent factors. There is a justice in that objective evaluation.

As usual, to paraphrase Prof. Hayek, man sort of became civilized when we invented such an unbiased evaluation based on rule of law, instead of rule of status — like class, occupation, ethnicity, race, tribe etc. But, our primitive instincts constantly surface in most ironic ways. More recently, in spite of my best efforts to avoid news, I couldn’t escape the recent Supreme Court justice appointment. As usual, even with of all her individual accomplishments, headlines were constantly celebrating Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s characteristic which is an accident of birth!