For the typical American, ages sixteen to eighteen are the transition years—the years where we leave the freedom of childhood to embrace the responsibilities of adulthood. We leave our playful dreams and accept society’s expectations, to choose a university that will offer some degree of “approved” value. We forget the liberties of the American Dream and believe the lies that we must not ask for permission to do anything except that we are told we must do.
And our dreams matter only as long as they are “legal”.
I don’t want to lose you here, but I’m just going to say it: Our culture has ingrained an excitement for that which is unnecessary, telling us that it is indeed very necessary, crucial, vital in order to pursue the happiness that one can only have by following certain paths dictated by government and the society stemmed from it.
Bear with me and let me explain; let me justify what may have just sounded over-the-top conspiratorial. But I request this only: read on, not with a defensive mind, but with an open mind willing to understand what I mean.
Today, I’d like to explain why I believe the driver’s license is a violation of my rights. First, I will say, I do have my driver’s license. But I was not excited for it. Yes, I was happy to drive. But I wish I’d never had to decide, “This is a battle I will not fight, because there are bigger fish to fry.”
Yes, I chose to lose this battle to fry bigger fish. And yet, I will write why I wish I would never have had to make the choice.
Most rights are usually taken away during a time of “crisis”. Almost whenever there’s an issue we become like the Israelites in 1 Samuel 8, crying for a king, for someone to lead us, protect us. We forget the words of Benjamin Franklin.
“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor SafetyBenjamin Franklin
We forget how the king that the Israelites asked for burdened them with an unjust and a hard rule. We forget the importance of liberty and beg to be granted safety from the consequences of our own choices and actions.
People, when faced with fear, are almost always the same. They fear death so much they would rather live a lesser life. They are so full of fear, they beg for any illusion that promises safety.
The early 1900’s were a time of great change. Many believed God’s son would return at any moment. The world was changing, expanding, growing, shrinking at such a fast rate that humanity did not know what to do with themselves. Some, such as the Mennonites and Amish, deemed the change as immoral. Some saw it and knew it to be very good. Others, though tempted by its goodness, were frightened by its largeness.
Electricity, telephones, television, cars.
Though life improved, people were still frightened. For with these new conveniences also came new horrors. Though technology and knowledge progressed humanity, they were still controlled by ignorant fear.
First, did you know that some places back then and even now required licenses for bikes? Always, for anything and everything, man has tried to say that rights weren’t safe, they needed to be regulated and supervised.
Cars were good. But people did not know how to drive them. And some even would make their own cars. Death had always been real. But car crashes were a new sort of death that terrified the masses. And the media played on the novelty of this.
In 1901, New York was the first state to require that an auto be registered—the idea was that the car would be approved as safe for the road, not merely a motor put into a buggy. By 1918 all cars were required to have license plates.
Oddly enough, though the reasoning was that a car would have to be a real car, most states didn’t even inspect their vehicles. And at first people made their own plates. And a couple years later when they were state issues, you simply paid for the tag and stuck it on your automobile (unless you lived in one of the states that did do inspections). Oddly enough, many states still do not do auto inspections. Oddly enough, Americans don’t seem to care. They do what they are told, they buy the tags, and they put them on their automobiles.
We are told we have the right to own property. And yet we pay for that which we own forever or risk losing that which we own. (A few states do have lifelong license plates). If one truly owns property, it is theirs. If a country is truly free, full of sovereign individuals under no monarch, they need not pay. If they do pay, they do not own that which they believe themselves to own. If they do pay, they do not own anything, and do not even have the right to own anything, but they are paying for the privilege and permission to use that which a higher power has granted.
Rights are not granted; they are inherent. Ownership is paid in full and can’t be lost by not paying.
Car crashes still happened, though many of the automobiles were now real cars that didn’t fall apart in the middle of the road. Because drivers were still not educated drivers.
The first states to require licenses were Massachusetts and Missouri in 1903. And though the idea was to ensure that drivers would be safer, there was no test required. In fact, all you had to do was pay twenty-five to fifty cents and you would have a license mailed to you. It did absolutely no good, except now you had a permission slip. As if that somehow made it safer to drive. Finally, the two states required driving tests respectively in 1920 and 1959.
There were those who would chauffeur, who would make money driving people around. Sometimes these people did not know how to drive, simply owned a car. And so accidents happened and the populace freaked.
In 1910 New York passed a law requiring all those who were livery drivers to pass a test. The idea in many states was even if it was wrong to require the normal driver to have a license, those who made money driving people around should at least be legitimized. Three years later New Jersey was the first to say that all drivers must pass the exam.
The rest of the states followed suit, at first just issuing licenses, then also requiring tests for the licenses. The last state to require both the license and exam was South Dakota in 1959. Even Henry Ford got a license to drive in 1919.
And all over the world it was as sporadic and different as the States. Some countries to this day do not require a license; some require only a payment for a piece of paper without exam; and some places, like Germany charge around $2,000 and have many intense courses that one must pass before being allowed to drive.
Eventually and in most places, the archaic documentation has grown ever more complicated, requiring a photo for identification, and extra proof for identification, until now where we are faced with the Real I.D.
“But what is wrong with all this?” You may ask. What is wrong with trying to make our roads safer, more secure?
“Would you have that the roads be a mess of disorder, with no regulation, education, or supervision?”
Yes … but no.
It doesn’t have to be so black and white. We don’t have to give up liberty in order to have security. It is possible to have both. And we needn’t be granted either. It is possible to have a free and safe nation.
But how, if not with an exam, vehicle registration, and driver’s license?
As in with all things, if we do not educate our young, most of them will grow up to be reckless, ignorant, and unfit for society. As in with all things, they must be taught how to live life.
We all know a sheltered youth is a hazard to future. And so we teach them. We teach them to read, to write, to think. If we are wise, we teach them about guns and sex, how to respect both. We do not require a license to have sex; we educate. Education is the best prevention for premature death.
“But,” you may argue. “Education doesn’t stop car accidents.”
You are right. But neither do licenses. We still have car accidents. In fact, it still compromises a huge portion of our deaths. Despite all we do, death can not be prevented completely. We understand this with our licenses. Why do we not understand it without licenses?
“But it’s not only about the death. It’s about about taxes. Roads have to be paid for.”
But how can you rightfully take away a man’s property because of any reason, especially if he doesn’t have license? Is this not one of the reasons we left England, a place of debtor’s prisons?
“But it’s also needed for identifition?”
Are you free? If you are truly free to travel, if you are truly free to own what you will, you would not be required to show identification. You belong in America. You do not need to have documentation, as if you are owned.
“But how are the authorities to know that you belong here if you do not have identification?”
Is it right to infringe on the citizen’s rights because criminals do bad things? And, besides, how would this suddenly become about identification, when it started out as a security to prevent reckless driving and inadequate automobiles? Or how is it right to take away a man’s license for reasons unrelated to driving? Such as not paying child support?
If we are truly free, we will be educated, not granted permission. If we are truly free, our rights will not hang on whether or not we’ve paid dues and hold papers.
You can’t prevent death. But when you put the responsibility of your safety into the government’s hands, and when you forget that you are the one that that is in charge of preserving what it means to be American, you have proven that you neither understand nor value liberty.
And yes I have a license. I have paid for permission to exercise what ought to be my basic rights. Much of my income goes to paying for things I already own, because if I don’t it will be taken away.
But just because I have chosen to be subjected does not mean I don’t recognize the tyranny and injustice of being violated.