Control mobility – free movement – and you have controlled the population. Their other rights are automatically cheapened into functional irrelevance if the right to come and go without permission and free from interference is denied.
And so it has been.
It took a couple of generations, but most Americans seem to implicitly accept the idea that travel – even on foot – is 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 somehow acquired a legal monopoly on the use of force – and who use its threat (and actuality) to enforce their busybody/control freak ideas.
One of these ideas is that movement beyond the threshold of your driveway – or the door to your apartment – is a kind of implicit permission-seeking from these control freaks and busybodies – who by dint of getting us to accept that we need their permission to move beyond the threshold of our driveways and doors explicitly assert their ownership of everything beyond the threshold of our driveways and door.
Including, of course, us.
We are their livestock – animals to be ear-tagged and corralled, our movements strictly supervised. Not free men.
Which of course, they are. Can you think of any which remain inviolate? Which have not also transitioned – somehow – into conditional privileges? We are now obliged to get a permission slip to do almost everything we used to be free to just do – including travel.
We need permission to practice our trade, to carry the means of self-defense, to transact business – even to speak our minds. All of them restricted by dint of requiring the by-your-leave of the busybodies and control freaks who constitute “the government.”
We didn’t used to have to beg permission to exercise what were once the acknowledged rights of free men.
That is to say, without being arbitrarily molested by government goons – i.e., having your travel arbitrarily interrupted by a government goon who forces you to produce “papers,” looks you over, interrogates you about where you have been and where you are going, etc.
Before the 1980s, Americans weren’t subjected to such degradation – to such tyranny, which can be defined as the exercise of arbitrary power.
People who hadn’t violated any laws, who were merely going about their business, enjoyed a comforting feeling of being secure in their persons and effects, as the old-timey language styled it.
One could travel across the entire country and – provided no laws were broken – never have to deal with a government goon. Because of this fact, there weren’t any government goons. There were peace officers; sometimes called cops or police. They concerned themselves with criminals, who were few in number and self-identified by committing crimes.
They did not treat every citizen as a presumptive criminal.
But then the law changed.
America became very much like East Germany in that Americans were no longer free to travel. Now, the courts ruled, Americans could be subjected to random stops by arbitrary authority – just because they happened to be there – and required by law to produce their “papers,” suffer their vehicle and its interior to be at least visually inspected by a government goon looking for an excuse to inspect it more thoroughly, have intrusive questions asked by the government goon – and so on.
This was deemed “reasonable” by the courts – which made the argument that the “compelling interests” of the busybodies and control freaks who constitute “the government” trumped the people’s rights.
And so a right became a conditional privilege – via a stroke of judicial fiat. Arbitrary power asserting the legitimacy of the exercise of arbitrary power.
The 190 proof essence of tyranny.
Americans were at a stroke placed in exactly the same position – in principle – as a prison inmate. Neither are free to travel. Both must have permission to travel, a priori – and produce evidence of their having obtained this permission upon demand.
How is a citizen forced to stop at a checkpoint materially different than a prisoner forced to stop at a gate, show his ID tag to the guards, pass muster and so on before the gate clanks open an he is allowed to proceed?
If there is a difference, it’s one without much distinction.
Which is why it is so important to recover the right to freely travel.
This will require resurrecting a concept much trampled upon:
Presumptive innocence of wrongdoing.
The mere fact that one is traveling – whether by car, by foot or otherwise – ought not, as such, to be sufficient legal cause to require that the person traveling demonstrate to the satisfaction of a government busybody that he hasn’t committed an illegal act.
Certainly absent any prior reason to suspect him of such.
A person merely walking down the street – even if it’s the middle of the night – should not have to produce “papers” on demand – or answer questions. He ought to be free to travel.
And the same for people in cars or on bicycles, etc.
So long as no harm has been caused – and in the absence of specific reason to suspect a crime has been committed – no one should be required to submit to arbitrary demands for his “papers,” or endure questioning or any other interference with his right to go about his business, freely. Because to require him to submit to such arbitrary authority is the difference between a free man – and two-legged cattle.
That used to be understood.
It needs to be remembered.
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