“You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments: rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws….” ~ John Adams
As I have mentioned before, I am an Auto Mechanic. As part of my job I test drive customer vehicles to verify a complaint, and to recheck my work when it’s completed. The other Technicians I work with do the same thing, so when Law Enforcement has set up a speed trap, or are actively running radar in the area where most of us test drive, word spreads like wildfire.
But this time was different….
My buddy walked down to me and explained to me that he had just got stopped by the cops. I thought to myself that he must have been speeding, or committed the heinous crime of rolling through a stop sign, or some other arbitrary traffic infraction so I asked him what he had done. He told me that he had done nothing wrong, but a roadblock had been set up, and he went through it. He told me that the road was blocked off in either direction, and they were stopping both sides of the road. He explained the roadblock was rather large, and it was a collaboration between Local and State Law Enforcement. I asked if any Military was present, he said no, but said they sure did look and act like the Military.
He was not in his personal vehicle when they stopped him, and he was also wearing gloves. Technicians wear gloves to protect themselves from chemicals, and other substances that could cause harm. He was asked to produce his license and registration. He pulled out his license, and held up the work order explaining to this Jackboot that this was not his vehicle. He pointed to the Honda emblem on his shirt, and also pointed out the rest of his uniform. The Officer then asked if there was anything in the van that he should know about. My buddy responded, again, that this was not his vehicle, and he has no idea what’s in the van. The Officer then noticed that he was wearing gloves, and for some odd reason became very alarmed. The officer asked him why he was wearing gloves. He said it’s for protection from oil, brake clean, and other harmful fluids in the shop. The officer then asked him if he was sure that was the reason he was wearing gloves. My friend, at this point puzzled, responded with yes. The Officer then took his license and work order and walked away. He came back in about two minutes and told him he was “cleared to leave”. It’s important to note that the armed State Employee who was busy interrupting the daily commerce of everyone who happened to drive down that road was concerned by my friend’s uniform. How bizarre, an armed man standing in the middle of the road with the rest of his armed gang was alarmed my a man trying to fix this person’s vehicle.
I asked him why they were stopping people, and he said they were looking for suspended licenses, expired registrations and vehicle inspections. I asked him if that was the official reason, if that was the story he had gotten from the cops. He said no, but many of the numerous cars that were pulled over on the side of the road had expired vehicle inspections, and registrations(he is a State Inspector, it’s part of his job to notice these things). I asked him what he thought of the roadblock, and he told me he didn’t mind it, because he wasn’t doing anything wrong. At this point the Activist in me wanted to grab my Best Friend (who I work with), and my camera to go and film this Tyranny, but the Father in me told me it was a bad idea, and that I was sure to end the day in a cage. Besides, we had started to build quite the audience of people anxious to hear about the roadblock. I thought to myself what a great opportunity to inject some freedom principles into the conversation.
After the story was retold we all sat around discussing what happened. The usual grumbling ensued, you know, the kind that usually follows any cop story. I asked the group if the cops have the right to do this, and EVERYONE responded with a yes. They said basically, yeah, it sucks, but they believe it has to be done for protection against drunk drivers and “illegals”. I asked about the Bill of Rights, specifically the fourth amendment, and everyone gave me a blank stare like they were waiting for me to tell them what their rights were as human beings, so I did….
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
I then explained how this roadblock was a violation of individual rights, and completely illegal. I then heard a voice say, “Oh, no it’s not, it’s completely legal”, it was a co-worker of mine who is a former Sheriffs Deputy, he was walking up with three other men. At this point the conversation had swelled to more than ten individuals. I was anxious to hear this man’s explanation on exactly how this sort of thing is “legal”. He said as long as there is a pattern, and not random, it’s legal. He said as long as Law Enforcement was stopping every third car, or every red car, or every truck, it was legal. He said this is how it was legal to set up DUI checkpoints and still be Constitutional. He explained to the group that driving was a privilege, and that you give “implied consent” the moment you enter your vehicle and motor onto public roadways. Anyone who has read my articles knows I hate the phrase “implied consent”, and I was itching to question him on his logic. I asked him if it was legal for Law Enforcement to search every red house or every third house. He said that was different, because driving requires a license, owning a house does not. I asked him if I could opt-out of the mandatory tax that goes to fund the roads I am privileged to drive on, and he told me no. I wanted to clarify for the group, so I repeated, “so, let me get this straight, I am forced to pay for these roads under penalty of law, but it’s a privilege that I get to use them?” I then asked, “tell me, how can an Officer force me to produce my license when I have done nothing wrong? Isn’t that unreasonable?” He said the reason this is legal is because the State issued that license and it’s really not mine, it’s State property. I then questioned the need for drivers licenses, since I can be made to hand over State property at any given time, do I really need to have it?
When I questioned the need for licenses the crowd kind of mumbled, and some started to question where I was going with this, I mean, licenses make us safer, right? I posed a question to the former Sheriffs Deputy, “if the State licenses me to drive a vehicle, and I prove myself unfit to operate that vehicle, I crash and severely injure a person and destroy property, can the State be sued?” He said no, that’s a job for the insurance companies to handle. I then asked, “OK, so what’s the purpose of the license?” He said, “Well, it’s just needed.” I pressed on, “No, why do we need them? If a private company is the entity that takes care of rectifying the loss of life or property, why do we need the damn license?” He said, “well, insurance companies won’t insure you without a valid license.” I then asked, “isn’t that called Fascism?” I then addressed the group, “can anyone give me one good reason for the licensing of drivers?” I also reminded them that they were all Auto Mechanics, and that they needed no licensing when spinning wrenches, even though what we do, or fail to do could kill people. I could see the light bulbs starting to turn on at this point.
I returned to the point I was trying to make about the searching of houses. I asked the group what would happen if they stopped paying their property tax. Most of the group responded that if the failure to pay went far enough, the property would be seized by the county. I then asked, “well isn’t this a privilege then? Isn’t owning a house a privilege?” All that’s needed now was the license, and bang, the State could randomly search your house, and it would be completely legal. The former Deputy chimed in and said, “all these Officers were doing was following orders.” I was waiting for that old line to come out. I reminded this man that he once took an oath to defend the Constitution, and not to enforce the laws that dance around the Bill of Rights. I am an anarchist, and I see the Constitution as nothing more than a blueprint for a perpetual slave machine, but when it comes to freedom, I’ll take what I can get. I asked one more question of the former Deputy, “there are more than 20,000 gun laws on the books even though 2A clearly states–shall not be infringed– if a law was passed where you were made to turn in your guns, would you?” He reluctantly said, “yes….if it’s the law, I must respect it.” I said, “no you don’t have to respect it, the Bill of Rights does not grant you rights, it merely protects the rights you naturally have.” He said he was “impressed”‘with my knowledge of the Constitution and we both agreed to finish the conversation over a couple of beers.
I told the group that we are losing our rights one by one. One man spoke up and said, “we are not losing our rights, they are just trying to protect us so that we have more rights.” I asked him to enumerate just one right that he thought we were not losing, he couldn’t name one.
How can we say we are losing our rights if the majority of Americans don’t even know what rights they have? How can we say we are losing America if the majority of of Americans don’t even know what the idea of America was?
“When men yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon.” ~ Thomas Paine