L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 82, July 24, 2000
Letters to the Editor
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In my eternal quest to explain to people in all walks of life how much freedom has been lost, I have found an interesting phenomenon. Many people don't want more freedom. They'll settle for less and be happy and safe.
It's incredible on the surface of it, but lots of folks I talk to are outright panicky about taking away government control from our lives. When it comes to drug laws, I might as well be speaking Greek. It seems to make sense that if you remove the motivation for criminal activity, and people commit less crimes, that would be a good thing. Prohibition-style laws against drugs (a victimless crime) would create a free-marketplace reducing the cost of drugs, and making our average strung-out freak less likely to commit crimes to get money. As a matter of fact it may very well open up jobs in horticulture, allowing subsidized farmers and opportunity to grow something that people would buy. I'd bet many homeless people would pitch tents for a job like that.
When I ask people how they feel about Motor Vehicle registration, they hate how they are treated when at the DMV. People generally resent the fact they pay so much for so little. Funny thing, they say the same thing about insurance, too. When faced with the concept of the abolition or re-organization of these monolithic beaurocracies, they panic. What about licencing? What about my personal plates? Where do I wait in line? Please, work with me a little here.
Insurance is a good thing when you can use it. Why shouldn't insurance carriers handle licencing, as they already have all your vital data? (I have a problem with that, too.)Using insurance seems to be a bit of an arcane art, too. Paper in triplicate to DMV, the local Constabulary, AND Insurance paperwork to boot. Just this small consolidation alone would save thousands of trees. That should satify the Sierra Club.
My listeners are aghast as I ask why cars have registrations, and they can't tell me why. Some explain that the Police need them, others say so they can pay taxes on their property. When I explain that they are registered so they can be taken from their rightful owners, the concept eludes them. They seem to be clear on gun registration, though. Imagine that.
It is a fundamental concept visualization problem, that goes down to very basic levels. Most people cannot function outside the boxes that government has built around them. An interdependency exists between people and their pet government to the point that the tail wags the dog. The government was designed FOR THE PEOPLE, like the piece of paper says, not vice-versa.
The most precious documents on the planet have become adulterized that they are being reduced to the level of pieces of paper. That's a sad commentary. Don't let it happen here, please. Talk to your friends about it, while we all still can.