Reader Question: The Right to Drive?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Bill asks: What do you think about “the fight for the right to drive?” Is this merely an updating of the constitutional right to a horse?

My reply: I think no one has the right to a horse! I think people have a right to buy one,if they want to – and also a right to travel.

The latter is the crux of the issue.

Americans have been conditioned to regard travel  – even on foot – as a conditional privilege conferred (and legitimately regulated) by “the government.” Which of course is just an evasive euphemism for the busybodies and control freaks who have acquired a legal monopoly on the use of force – and use its threat (and actuality) to enforce their busybody/control freak ideas.

At any rate, the point is it used to be accepted in principle that every free citizen had a right to travel freely. That is to say, without being arbitrarily molested by government goons – i.e., having your travel interrupted by a government goon who forces you to produce “papers,” looks you over, asks annoying questions and so on.

This was the idea once upon a time in America, which is becoming very much like East Germany

It seems to me that if the principle is sound, it ought to apply as much to travel by car as by foot.

Certainly, it ought to mean presumptive innocence of wrongdoing.

Put another way: The mere fact that one is traveling – whether by car, foot or otherwise – ought not, as such, to be sufficient cause to require that the person traveling demonstrate to the satisfaction of a government busybody that one hasn’t committed an illegal act.

Certainly absent any prior reason to suspect them of such.

Thus, a person merely waking down the street should not have to produce “papers” on demand – or answer questions. He ought to free to travel.


And the same for people in cars or on bicycles, etc.

So long as no harm has been caused – and there is no specific reason to suspect a crime has been committed – no driver should be required to submit to arbitrary “papers” presentation, questioning or interference with his right to go about his business.

Americans used to enjoy that right – before it became a conditional privilege.

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. well now ok. im not sure the old west movies would be quite the same with horses with license plates attached to their asses

  2. One other aspect is the fact that the Constitution in the first amendment implies you have a Right to Travel. By stating we have a Right to Peaceably Assemble it must me assumed we have a right to get to the assemblage.

    By saying driving, or travel of any kind on “public roadways”, is a privilege is to say we are under house arrest unless GovCo grants us permission to leave. Talk about The Land of the Free…

    • In as much as transportation has been a weapon since before the days of the chariot, it is also guaranteed by the second amendment.
      The problem is that nobody is willing to be the extremist who wants the bill of rights enforced.
      It’s not nice, it’s icky, and some of the things I imagine other people (often darkies…) doing scares me and I am willing for them to be controlled…

      • I’ve been seeing that argument a lot over the last few months and every time I’m just like “yeaaaaah, well, considering how much respect the Second Amendment gets these days, how about we leave that well enough alone for now?”

    • Mark, you seem to be under the impression that the first ten amendments to the US Constitution, aka “BIll of Rights”, has the Federal Government CONFER or GIVE “rights” to the people. IT DOES NO SUCH THING!

      Indeed, rather, the rights stated, at least the first eight, are constraints upon the Government (at first it was considered only binding on the Federal Government, but following the Federal conquest of the Confederate States of America in 1865 and the subsequent passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, the states and municipalities are supposed to be likewise bound. And just to clarify that these rights are not circumscribed, the Ninth and Tenth Amendments were passed, with the Ninth stating that just because a right is not specifically mentioned doesn’t mean it’s “disparaged”, The Tenth explicitly reserves all powers not specifically conferred on the Federal Government to the several states and/or the PEOPLE. Of course, along with the Second Amendment, they’ve been ignored into nullity.

      The most important thing to remember is that the Founders consider your rights to be given to you by God, and not any Government, and they are “inalienable”, that is, they cannot be arbitrarily taken away, but only under penalty as prescribed by law and administered with due process. That’s why the Second Amendment, after explaining the purpose (“As a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state…”), states it as “THE RIGHT (to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed), as in it was ALREADY THERE.

      So certainly you have a right to come and go as you Goddamned well please, to cross state lines, and so on. It’s reasonable that you don’t have the right to just enter a military reservation, or that by doing do you’ve consented to search and/or detention as the installation commander and those under his command see fit. But don’t confuse your right to travel with your “privilege” to operate a motor vehicle. Yes, you can go on horseback, or drive a horse-drawn carriage, or WALK The states designate driving a privilege b/c they can take it away in an administrative fashion, like using a points system and traffic (non-criminal)courts. If it were a “right”, you’d have to be prosecuted for a crime. The fact that all states widely make getting a license a fairly simple and inexpensive proposition and have yet to arbitrarily deny licenses, even to folks that are unpopular with the Powers-that-be (like Alex Jones, and someday Eric may be considered like him!). Hence why most Americans confuse driving as a “Right”…but give the bumbling, bureaucratic states this: at least they make it so available that we CAN confuse it as a “right”!

      I’m more concerned about how the Goverment, with it’s arbitrary “No-Fly” list, is wrongly restricting the ability of folks to FLY via common carrier (i.e. airlines). It’s one thing to go through the gauntlet of TSA yahoos at any airport. It’s another when people whom are on the “out’s” with the PTB mysteriously find themselves on the “No-Fly” list, a “gift” from GWB, our 43rd President in the wake of the staged 9-11 tragedy.

      Of course, who’s to say that with cars have “Brains” that can be “possessed”, like the castaways on “Gilligan’s Island” when that wacky little professor turned them into obedient zombies in order to facilitate robbing a bank stateside (BTW, what do you mean, “Ginger OR Mary-Ann? No wonder the Professor wouldn’t fix the goddamned boat!), that someday the PTB won’t just arbitrarily shut your ride down so it won’t move if you make them mad, and, much easier, cut off your “sail fawn” and Internet access? Geez, just imagine if the Ost-Deutsch Staatssicherheitsdienst had today’s technology to work with!

      • Doug,

        I agree that the Bill of Rights don’t confer rights to us at all; they merely ARTICULATE rights we already have, rights given to us by God Himself.

        As far as the Bill of Rights originally pertaining to the federal gov’t, that’s technically true, but functionally irrelevant. That was irrelevant because the state constitutions had their own bills of rights, if you please. For example, all state constitutions had provisions echoing the Second Amendment.

        I love how ‘conservatives’ carp about Democrats’ efforts to take our rights away, yet don’t even NOTICE when Republicans (e.g. Bush Jr.) do likewise.

        As for the panopticon you reference in your final paragraph, Alex Jones has been talking about this a lot lately. He, Milo, Laura Loomer, and other PITAs to TPTB were banned, en masse, from Facebook and other digital platforms. It’s only a matter of TIME before your nightmarish scenario comes to pass…

  3. People forget that it wasn’t this way in the recent past. Drivers licenses were not even required as late as the 1930’s. And they didn’t start claiming it was a “privilege” that I recall until the late 80’s/early 90’s.
    It makes me ill. I own the car. I paid for the road. I have the right to drive my car on the road. All the abuses follow from them getting away with this simple usurpation.

    • If you read the Black’s Law Dictionary definition of a license, it’s a fancy form of permission granted by the gov’t-IOW, a privilege.

      • Black’s Law dictionary is a useful reference.
        But then there is a great deal of precedent that a right cannot be converted to a “privilege”. “No state shall convert a liberty into a license, and charge a fee therefore.” (Murdock v. Pennsylvania, 319 U.S. 105) “If the State converts a right (liberty) into a privilege, the citizen can ignore the license and fee and engage in the right (liberty) with impunity.” (Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham, Alabama, 373 U.S. 262)

        There are, of course, other cases to cite but I leave you to Duck Duck Go for that.

        So the best scholarly interpretation I have seen is that a “driver’s license” is an occupational license for chauffers and drayage. Which unfortunately is within the privileges granted to government by the constitutions.

        So, Mark, you are correct but I humbly submit that you’ve missed my point.

        • Ernie,

          I got your point, and I agree with you. THat said, your case law notwithstanding, the fact is that our right to move about is a DE FACTO PRIVILEGE. I didn’t say it was right; I didn’t say that was how things should be-not at all. That said, if you try to exercise your rights FOR REAL, you’ll be hut, hut, hutted at the very least. You’ll likely end up in jail, along with various and sundry other sanctions too. If you try to cite that case law in court, the presiding judge will likely shoot you down, if not cite you with contempt of court.

          One or two of us driving sans a license will get in trouble, and our point will fall on deaf ears. The only way to effect REAL change is for thousands of us to do it all at the same time.

          • Hey Mark,

            “…the fact is that our right to move about is a DE FACTO PRIVILEGE. I didn’t say it was right; I didn’t say that was how things should be-not at all. That said, if you try to exercise your rights FOR REAL, you’ll be hut, hut, hutted at the very least.”

            Correct, you’re getting dangerously close to the anarchist insight. There is no such thing as legally “limited government”. The definition of government precludes this possibility. An institution that claims and exercises a monopoly on judging its’ own actions relative to the law exists, by definition, outside of the law.

            Government is limited by the beliefs, cultural attitudes and willingness to resit among the populace, not by law. To paraphrase William Lloyd Garrison. “minarchism in theory is eventual totalitarianism in practice”.

            BTW, did you get a chance to read that Joseph Sobran essay I linked to awhile ago?


                • Jeremy,

                  It turns out that I HAVE read Sobran’s essay before, but it was good to read it again. All I could manage the first time was to get a whiff of its essence; now, after a second reading, I have somewhat of a CLUE about his points.

                  What’s astonishing is that, even before I found this site, I’d already come to many of the same conclusions he did. Like Sobran, I didn’t WANT to go to where my logical trains of thought were leading me-for example, what he says about the Constitution.

                  When he says that the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was a coup d’ etat, he’s right. The delegates were charged with tweaking the Articles of Confederation, not with their wholesale replacement; they were sent to improve it, not trash it. They invoked the doctrine from the Declaration of Independence that, when gov’t becomes unsuitable, then it’s to be thrown off. What’s that, but a coup? The 1787 convention was a soft coup, pure and simple.

                  In any case, I bookmarked his site this time, so I can go back and read it again. That’s the kind of heavy, cerebral stuff that needs a few readings to really GRASP…

                • I think Sobran was right about one thing: the Articles of Confederation would have been better. They put the central gov’t on a tight leash. The Constitution loosened that leash far too much, which allowed our soft tyranny to come in to being…

              • Hey Mark,

                I just read it again, as I do every 6 months or so. It is moving and humble, it lacks bombast, it paints a painful intellectual journey that eventually eschews all delusion. But, it is never vindictive or petty, despite the horrible treatment he received at the hands of William Buckley.

                This passage explains his reluctant conversion to philosophical anarchism.

                “Murray died a few years ago without quite having made an anarchist of me. It was left to his brilliant disciple, Hans-Hermann Hoppe, to finish my conversion. Hans argued that no constitution could restrain the state. Once its monopoly of force was granted legitimacy, constitutional limits became mere fictions it could disregard; nobody could have the legal standing to enforce those limits. The state itself would decide, by force, what the constitution “meant,” steadily ruling in its own favor and increasing its own power. This was true a priori, and American history bore it out.”


        • Hence why Sen. Booker’s (aka “Spartacus”) proposal to require Federal licensing for gun ownership is blatantly unconstitutional. The Second Amendment asserts that the Government cannot “infringe” the pre-existing RIGHT to keep and bear arms, PERIOD.

          • You’re 100% right, of course. However, the Second Amendment has been trashed for decades. Yes, it says that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that’s as clear and unambiguous as it gets. That said, no one stopped them when they passed the Firearms Act of 1934, the GCA of 1968, et al. They all blatantly infringed upon the Second Amendment, but no one stopped them. Hell, even SCOTUS legitimized them!

            I think that, if anything should have been opposed, it was the background check. Why is the background check so ONEROUS? Because it amounts to asking for permission, that’s why. How so? When you go to the gun store and fill out the 4473, the salesman calls an anonymous gov’t bureaucrat who says, yes you may buy that gun, or no you may not-based on what some databases say about you. I don’t know about anyone else, but that smacks of permission to me; if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, talks like a duck… well, you get my point. To me, it’s axiomatic: if you have to ask permission to do something, then you do not have the RIGHT to do that something-duh! It galls me that gun owners didn’t fight this much, if at all.

            What REALLY galls me are the people who loudly and proudly proclaim that they’re LEGAL gun owners. Mark Levin used to do that, and it made me want to puke! What’s a real travesty is that he claims to be a Constitutional scholar. What these people are saying, in essence, is: “Wow, look at me! I was a good little boy; I jumped through all the gov’t hoops, got patted on the head, and the authorities allowed me to own a gun!” Wow, I got gov’t permission to do what’s really my RIGHT-to keep and bear arms.

            I don’t like CCLs for the same reason; a license is nothing but a fancy form of permission. You know who pushed for them orginally? The NRA! That’s right; the NRA, that august ‘guardian’ of the Second Amendment (okay, sarcasm off), pushed for CCLs. They also helped craft the GCA of 1968 too.

            Those are my thoughts. But yeah, I’m from NJ originally, so I KNOW how what Cory Booker is like; for those of us who know him, we’re not surprised. I only hope and pray he doesn’t get in the White House any time soon. Do YOU want the USA to be like Newark, NJ? Didn’t think so…

          • and only gold or silver could be money and no taxes on wages and so on and so on. It doesn’t matter what is written. Those in power simply won’t abide by it and they face no real threat for it.

    • Exactly, Ernie.

      I, too, remember the change of language; the sudden “privilege” talk. It is so easy establish “public opinion” in a country controlled by a handful of information conveyance mechanisms. All of them controlled by the same people. They simply decide that “A” will become the topic of everyone’s conversation; and that the conversation will trend in a certain direction. Then the media is saturated with this conversation. Within a very short time, the public – like a flock of ducks – all honks and clucks the tune.

      A very good recent example of this being the sudden obsession with “transitioning.” Three years ago there were trannies and not much conversation about them. All of a sudden, Bruce Jenner was everywhere – and now the country is obsessed with sex confusion!

      This was not accidental.

    • The right to travel by common conveyance was accepted in the 18th century and best I can tell long before that. It was only with the automobile, the scary new technology, that government made its move. Then after it had licensing and so on it pushed people’s perception that it was a privilege. Then it started tying all sorts of things to having a DL. Also at the same time the slippery slope, the acceptance was used to cover other sorts of personal land based travel.

      With the masses convinced its a privilege the masses now attack anyone who questions the narrative. As such I have to approach very carefully. First I agree with them and write that it is now an effective privilege. Then I explain how that happened and the implications of it. (government being able to demand anything for its grant of privilege) Then I ask if they really think that driving is a privilege. I get crickets. Not the usual ridicule, name calling, etc but silence.

      They can’t do their usual routine because I’ve agreed with them regarding the present practical condition. They can’t fault the history because it is correct and they are too lazy to go learn it to make a rebuttal there anyway. And if they want to attack my conclusion they have to find an alternate definition of the word “privilege”. I don’t know if makes anyone think or not. But at least its an effective route to go.


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