Five years ago at Eternity Road, I wrote:
A colleague of your Curmudgeon’s made a piercing observation the other day. Imagine, he said, that a group of policemen have come to your house determined to execute a warrantless, causeless search and seizure. When you cite your Fourth Amendment guarantee of the right to be free of such, the head cop says, “Okay, just give us $100 and we’ll let you be.”
Has the cop acknowledged your right to be free of arbitrary invasions of your property, or has he merely extorted you? If the latter, how does this differ from the registration and licensure of guns?
If something is yours by acknowledged right, why should you have to meet conditions to get or keep it? Why should you have to pay a fee or meet extrinsic, State-specified requirements? Especially considering that the fee and requirements are set at the State’s pleasure, and can be made so high that practically no one can afford to exercise his “right.”
An old anecdote, most frequently attributed to Francois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire), has the philosopher ask an aristocratic Parisienne, “Madame, would you sleep with me for a million livres? When the doyenne responds in the affirmative, Voltaire asks, “Would you sleep with me for five livres? Outraged, the woman screams, “What sort of creature do you think I am?” To which the philosopher calmly replies, “We’ve already established that. Now I’m trying to determine your price.”
Aristotle is nodding as we speak. Inclusion in the category of prostitute does not depend upon how much one charges for one’s services. The genus of “prostitute” is “a human being;” the differentia is “who sells sexual services for payment.” This is how we define: we make absolute distinctions between some things and others that are unlike them in significant ways. Definitional differences are differences in kind.
Similarly, a right is an absolute possession: a property that inheres in its possessor by reason of his nature. It is not and cannot be conditional. (Defenders of the spurious “right to vote” have a great deal of difficulty with this concept.) If you possess a right, you need no one’s permission to exercise it.
By that standard, our governments recognize just about no rights, their lip service to the contrary notwithstanding.
Give that a moment’s thought.
This morning, by way of Random Nuclear Strikes, we have a new direction to explore in the abridgement of rights:
Two California busybodies David Schel and Sharon Tekolian are trying to get Colorado to put an initiative on the November ballot that would require mandatory pre-wedding education before couples could say “I do.”
The proponents, who have chosen lucky Colorado as their first state on which to inflict their scheme, say the intended purpose of the act is to “better prepare individuals going into marriage to fulfill their new roles as spouse and potentially as parent, to furthermore protect children given that marriage is the foundation of a family unit.”…
The California duo’s amendment would require widows and widowers who are remarrying, as well as divorcees, to take the classes. So, let’s get this straight: Millie, age 78, and Sam, 82, met each other after they lost their spouses of nearly 60 years to death. It seems that they, not some therapist certified by the state, could be teaching a class on enduring marriages.
What’s particularly risible about this isn’t the requirement laid upon elderly Millie and Sam above; it’s the idea that a marriage license has any detectable effect in our time. Unilateral no-fault divorce is available to spouses in every state in the Union; therefore, no marriage contract is enforceable against an unconsenting party. More, there is no de facto way to compel a connubially-inclined couple to apply for a marriage license, as no state enforces a law against fornication any longer. More still, “palimony” precedents and parental rights and responsibilities granted to non-spouses as remote as sperm donors have utterly effaced any legal import pertaining to the married state. So what’s the point?
Give that a moment’s thought.
Here’s a piece from Oleg Atbashian that will have you laughing…at first:
Comrades! Much evil has been done by the NRA and gun-toting non-persons who seek to undermine the power and authority of The Party™. Indeed, reactionary scum have shot up malls and schools, in clear defiance of posted signs and laws prohibiting murder and weapon possession. The solution of course is simple, and will enhance state security.
All persons shopping at a mall must undergo a strict background check, be issued a shopping license, and demonstrate good cause for entering a mall.
Unlicensed persons will be refused entry to a mall, which will reduce crime, as only licensed shoppers will be inside the mall.
Children will be taken out of schools, and placed in high security education camps, where only authorized persons will be permitted entry and access to The Children™.
Parents who cannot secure a visitation permit will not be allowed access to their children until after they graduate.
These common-sense safety measures are needed to end all mall and school shootings across America. After all, if it saves just one life, it’s worth it.
Funny, yes…until you reflect that the reasoning is identical to the reasoning for the imposition of a licensure regime upon any and every human activity that falls into the State’s clutches.
Licensure, when it first appeared, applied to very few things: mainly the practice of medicine and law. The rationale was “the public safety:” the protection of the layman from the quack practitioner of little or no actual skill. That rationale now applies to trades as unthreatening as the braiding of hair.
A case from some years ago, to which I was privy simply as an observer, involved a state official in Massachusetts who entered a unisex hair salon and demanded service. The attendant on duty politely asked if he could wait for the specialist in his sort of hair, who was expected to arrive shortly. When the official saw the attendant give immediate service to a subsequent arrival, he had the state police shut down the salon, invoking the state’s licensure laws for his authority.
Yes, the official was a Negro.
Whether it goes by licensure, permittage, or any other name, the imposition of State selectivity upon the exercise of one’s rights is merely a back-door method for denying those rights. The denial need not be uniform across all persons; indeed, that’s seldom the case. To make a licensure regime palatable, there must be a licensed or “grandfathered” group of practitioners to whom the State can point and say “See! You still have your rights; just do as they do and get a license!” That privileged group acquires an interest in maintaining the regime, especially in those cases where the ability to earn depends upon the possession of a license.
This is not free enterprise as I understand the term. But as bad as that is — and it’s very bad; ask the women who tried to make a living braiding hair and were told they had to acquire expensive cosmetology licenses before they could do so legally — when the rationale can be applied to non-commercial activities and arrangements, it acquires a new magnitude of ominousness.
Do you think I’m exaggerating the danger? Then consider this: the Dishonorable Charles Schumer, ever eager to shove his face in front of a camera or a microphone, has proposed that the federal government fund the provision of tracking devices for autistic children.
We’re already on the way to a licensure regime for parents. Consider the number of cases each year in which “child welfare” workers deprive a parent of his children on the grounds of “the best interests of the child.” Consider how difficult and expensive it is to get such an action reversed. Consider how many such abductions have morphed into prosecutions of the parents, as some “expert” succeeded in eliciting “recovered memories” of abuse from those minor children, unshielded against “expert” manipulation by those who love them.
But Schumer has told American parents that they need have no fear: his bill would make the acquisition and use of his trackers entirely voluntary.
Do you have enough to think about for this morning, Gentle Reader?