Of Men and Kings.

We are involved in what is probably going to be called the election cycle which either ended our republic or restored it.

Every day, nearly at every hour, we can find the so-called experts attempting to explain what is happening in this presidential election process and trying to predict the outcome.

One thing that most of the “experts” seemingly fail to acknowledge is that history has an uncanny way of repeating itself. Some do compare what is going on in the US today to history from the last century, and a few go back to the Roman Empire. I think that today we need to go back just a little further.

I will be quoting 1st Samuel Chapter 8 in my comparison to today, as the incident described therein is an apt analogy to what is taking place in our lives today.

To set the background, Chapter 8 takes place at the end of the period of Israeli history in which they had no formal government as we would understand it today, but instead had judges to settle their disputes and to supply leadership when necessary.

Unfortunately, during this period they were repeatedly oppressed and antagonized by other people, most notably the Midianites and the Philistines. In short, the Israelites weren’t great, and they seldom won at anything. They were losers.

They were losers because they chose to leave their principles behind and follow their desires. They were not losers because of bad leadership, they were losers by way their own personal choices.

Now begins our story from Chapter 8:

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel. The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they serve at Beersheba. But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

How like today’s political world that sounds! Aren’t these some of our chief complaints about our current politicians? Perversion of justice rather than equal justice for all, and the enrichment of themselves at the expense of the people?

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

In today’s words, “We want to be great again, but it’s not our fault that we are losers, it’s the fault of our leaders. Give us a powerful leader, a king, and he will cause us to be great again. We want a country, and we want to win!”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected as their king, but me. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.”

From the very beginning of our republic, we were warned by wise men everywhere, not the least being the founders themselves, that we would have a republic as long as we could keep it. We, collectively, chose not to do that. We chose to go about our daily lives, chasing our desires rather than our principles, while trusting politicians to keep our republic for us. We couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to what they were really doing.

Now that we have seen the indications of the level of damage that has been done, seen the level of debt we are in, seen the loss of freedom which we mistakenly took for granted, and heard ourselves branded losers, we have entered into a state of denial and chosen our scapegoat. The establishment. The man. The status quo.

We want a king! A king who will give us a country. A king who will make us great. A king who will make everyone see that we are winners.

Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifty, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves, and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for your own use. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

“Did you say something, Samuel? We didn’t hear you. A king will make us great.”

The words of Samuel sum things up rather well. The king will have an army to keep his power. The king will decide which course our lives will follow, based upon his needs, not ours, and not our desires. Self determination will be a thing of the past, as will our ability to follow our own dreams. We will keep the amount of our wealth, or our possessions, which the king does not want for himself and his favorites, leaving us the least desirable portion.

Our freedom will be gone.

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

“We still don’t hear you, Samuel. Did you say something? Look at how green the grass is in Sweden. Look at how powerful Russia is. Did you see all of the money those Saudis are flashing around? We want a king to give us comfortable surroundings We want a king to fight our battles for us. We want a king to make us rich.

We want a king!

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord. The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Everyone go back to his town.”

Most of us know what happened after this. The Israelites got their king, and although they had some good times, for the most part their kings were detrimental to their wealth, their security, and their freedom, eventually leading to their downfall, their exile, and eventually the holocaust.

Up until this point I bet you thought that I was alluding to a particular candidate and what may lay in our future. Maybe just a little.

I am not referring to a possible future. This has already happened to us. We asked for a king, and we received what we wanted, except in the form of a myriad of little kings instead of one big one.

We used to have unlimited freedom of life, liberty, and property. Now, our little kings control our healthcare, our travel, much of our wealth. We own property only if we pay the kings their taxes. We think that this is the way it is supposed to be. We have forgotten what it was like prior to the arrival of the little kings.

What will we do next? Are we brave enough to expel the little kings and return government to its place as a servant, exerting the daily effort ourselves to ensure our freedom and our lost greatness by maintaining control of our own destinies as the founders hoped we would?

Or will we ask for yet more powerful kings, hoping they will do this for us, and go back to our blissfully ignorant life of chasing our momentary desires?

The little kings of socialism, the little kings of the status quo, the big king of fascism, none of these will look out for us, they will all look out for themselves.

If we are brave enough, and find the determination, ambition, and resolve, we can restore the Constitution and the rule of law, becoming free again in the process. If not, we will soon cease to be subjects of the government and become slaves to it.

Advertisements

Your body, the State’s.

National flag and merchant ensign of the Germa...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Government spending
Government spending (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

During the Third Reich, the National Socialists viewed the body of an individual as the property of the state. Anyone who harmed their own body was not only costing the state money through healthcare and loss of productivity, but they were weakening the state as a whole. there was little or no thought given to the merits of banning free choice or punishing those who did not follow closely enough government instructions.

Nearly eighty years later, how do we compare to this? We are forced to wear seatbelts because if we don’t the resulting injuries might have to be paid for by others. Guns are targeted because, ostensibly, someone might get hurt, although there is much more to this subject. Large soft drinks and high calorie foods are vilified because heart disease and obesity might have to be paid for out of tax revenues, which takes money out of the government coffers. Are these and a host of other activities which are either threat of being banned or are now banned a sign that the government really cares for us, or are they a sign that the government does not wish to part with its precious tax revenue to help us more than minimally necessary? Is the end result a government, which like the Nazis, will declare us state property, necessary to the functioning of the state, and therefore subject to all sorts of state edicts about how to act, how to eat, how to exercise?

Look at the trends within Germany between 1920 and 1940 and compare them to what has been happening in this country over the last several years, and draw your own conclusions.

Natural Rights.

John Locke, by Herman Verelst (died 1690). See...
John Locke, by Herman Verelst (died 1690). See source website for additional information. This set of images was gathered by User:Dcoetzee from the National Portrait Gallery, London website using a special tool. All images in this batch have been confirmed as author died before 1939 according to the official death date listed by the NPG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. These were natural rights listed in the Declaration of Independence. This was inspired by the writings of John Locke, in which he included as natural rights, “Life, Liberty, and Property.”

Can a government legislate these rights? No. These rights are beyond the purview of any government. These rights are inherent to every human being. Although most, if not all, governments seek, and eventually gain, the power to control these aspects of a person’s life, it is neither moral nor just for that government to do so. The only person who can legitimately modify or remove these rights is the person in question. No one else, be it family, friend, religion, or government, has that authority. A person can surrender all or part of their own rights, but only if it is done by their free will and full understanding of the consequences.

I will insert here that I am not in this piece going to be discussing the role of parents in relation to their children. That will be another subject.

Back on track, there are two questions frequently asked of me as a way of challenging my position. One refers to the power of the government to punish non-compliance, while the other usually involves a statement such as, “They are doing it for your own good.”

Granted, the government has the power to inflict a wide range of punishments. Unfortunately, all too many people equate power with authority. There is a significant difference. Power, in regard to government, is the ability to use force, coercion, or intimidation to influence actions of individuals or groups. Authority, for government, is the right to engage in an action. Since a government is not a human individual, it has no natural rights, only those rights given to it by the people in the society to which the government is attached. Government by consent.

So what if the majority of the people involved install a government, and assign, for example, the authority to that government to restrict travel by requiring passports (subject to approval, of course, by the government), limit the items with which you can travel (TSA regulations), and charge a fee to everyone who travels (gas tax, excise tax, tolls, surcharges, etc.). What of the person in the minority who did not approve of or agree to this system, do not these things violate their natural right to the liberty to travel? What of the person who can not afford the fees to acquire a passport? What of the person incorrectly assigned a place on the “no-fly list?” What of the person who can not enjoy the full fruits of their own labor because, in part, they have to divert some of their efforts in to the raising of monies to pay for the taxes and fees associated with the owning of a vehicle and the acquisition of the fuel to power it? Yes, these people’s rights are being violated by the majority who have installed a system of government with the power to do so. Agreed, the people who installed this government have a legitimate moral right to subjugate their own natural rights to this government, but they are moral criminals, rights thieves, if you will, for forcing this subjugation on those who are unwilling to freely surrender their own rights.

We have clear justification, then, for refusing to comply with a legislation which infringes upon our rights, but should we choose non-compliance we must do so with the certain knowledge that the government does have the power to punish us, even though it has no right to do so. At every peaceful opportunity, by speech, vote, or non-compliance, if we believe in natural rights, we should seek to diminish the power of the government and its ability and inclination to infringe upon our rights.

“But it is for your own good!” I could easily violate my own anti-profanity rule in response to that one. As far as I can tell, this response is only used by those who have failed, or refused, to fully consider the entire situation. Who better to determine what is for the best for a person than that person? Is there really anyone wise enough, or knowledgeable enough, to direct another persons life? Certainly many think that they are, but who would you rather trust to make your personal decisions, yourself or someone whom you have not even met?

By way of demonstration, I will submit that I personally refuse to buy health insurance, and have held this position for some time. Even before everyone began to talk about insurance in the time of the Obamacare debacle, I was criticized by some for cheating the system by not paying in to it. They claim that if I became injured, for example, and received treatment, everyone else would have to pay for that treatment. This seems to be their most prevalent and effective argument for the system of forcing people to pay into a system which they do not want, and was most probably one of the most effective arguments which led us to Obamacare. I counter this by explaining that if I receive a service from someone, and they desire payment in exchange, then I am obligated to pay. I am morally obligated to pay the individual or entity providing the service, not a third party such as a government bureaucracy or an insurance company.

At this point I am usually accosted by phase two of the attack. “What if you can’t afford it, or if you die, who will pay for your funeral?” First, this may sound cold and heartless, but if I have no family or friends to voluntarily see to the disposal, I will no longer care if you just push my carcass out of the way and leave it to nature. I would, however, recommend that you find a way to do something more sanitary and cosmetically appealing. I would do the same for you had you no family or friends to see to it.

As to the question of cost, I will answer this with one of my own. Why is it so expensive in the first place? Could it be the high cost of higher education, which is so lucrative that the government itself recently acquired the student loan business? Maybe the insurance companies have too much control in the setting of prices and the selection of services? What about the role of the pharmaceutical industry? Perhaps the government’s judicial branch, made up principally of lawyers is giving too much leeway to other lawyers to profit through legal litigation? Are the taxes levied on the health care providers, or the insurances which they are mandated to purchase, driving prices up? It is well past time that we began looking to items such as these to find the causes to the unfortunate state of our health care, and quit trying to fix it by adding still more layers of mistakes.

That being said, I will pay out of pocket if I can, or make other arrangements if I can not. A person receiving a service, knowing that a payment for that service will be expected, and who intentionally fails to pay is intentionally violating the natural rights of the provider(s) to experience the fruits of their labors. This is where the argument supporting a system of taxation in exchange for services falls apart. The proponents of this system would have us believe that by engaging in this we are helping people. But are we really helping them, or are we simply transferring this “rights theft” to someone else? The taxation system which is touted as necessary and humane for helping those who can not, or will not, pay for services or goods actually steals (for lack of a more honest word) from others to pay for the original theft of service which occurred when someone accepted the service with no intention or ability to pay. (Look again to the previous paragraph for a few of the causes for the high prices). This theft of service should be what is identified and addressed rather than covered up by yet another theft in the form of taxation.

(It is also worth noting that a person is well served by learning how to treat their own minor injuries and illnesses on their own, thereby having less need for a healthcare provider for these situations)

I apologize to the reader for inserting the lengthy explanations above, but I did so to forestall the questions which would be raised by those seeking to avoid the main subject, that of natural rights. Although our current government was founded by people who thought it important to speak of natural rights in the Declaration itself, these rights are no longer widely held with as much esteem. This must change, and change soon, or as people forget that they once were allowed to enjoy these rights they come into danger of accepting their roles as assigned by others. The modern day serfdom sought by authoritarians everywhere.

As for myself, I will do my part to protect all of our natural rights by bringing attention to them through the keypad. In the future I hope to cover some of them more specifically as I am able.

.

Organized Crime in the 21st Century.

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science an...
Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science and Society Picture Gallery: Al Capone (1899-1947), American gangster, 17 June 1931. ‘Al Capone sent to prison. This picture shows the Bertillon photographs of Capone made by the US Dept of Justice. His rogue’s gallery number is C 28169’. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another development occurred a couple of days ago which, although far from unique, is to me a prime example of the workings of what has become the best group of racketeers in at least recent history.

Most people have surely heard of it, but I am sure that the majority of people, when hearing of it, also immediately dismissed its relevance thinking that it did not apply to them. This event was the approval of a 25% tax on marijuana in Colorado.

What does this have to do with organized crime? Let’s break it down into a stages.

In the 2012 elections, the idea of legalizing marijuana had finally won enough support to have a chance in a few states. Colorado was one of these. The war on drugs was coming to be viewed as the abject failure which it is on the surface, and the legalization of marijuana was viewed, rightly so, as necessary for the advancement of liberty.

Initially, all governments oppose legalization of any kind of drugs, because some people will vote for them based on the perceived benefit of these bans, and the simple fact that most state and local governments have the option of receiving federal funds for the war on drugs, and can also use these bans as an excuse to raise more of their own taxes.

I started hearing something during this 2012 referendum process that indicated to me what was likely to happen at a later date. Some people started pushing forth the notion of “legalize, but tax.” The frequency of this call, and the rapidity with which it was spread, caused me to believe that the government and the supporters of the prohibition of marijuana suspected that they were going to lose the vote. I began to believe that they were starting to develop their contingency plan for the likely loss of prohibition revenue.

As expected, liberty won out in the beginning, with the ending of the marijuana prohibition. The fight was not over though, even though many thought that it was and celebrated for a short time, and then walked away from the field. The contingency was put into effect.

“We need money for the schools! We have to help the children!” The call rang out according to plan. But where to get the money? Aha! Let’s tax marijuana! Who would have thought? Isn’t it starting to look like a setup?

Colorado lost funding as a result of the end of the marijuana prohibition, and wanting to replace these funds, it seems clear that this was planned from the minute it became apparent that they might lose the referendum. Helping the children is one of the best excuses ever.

Now we are seeing the all too common result of liberty activists winning the fight, then sitting down when their initial goals are met. The state does not sit down. It does not stop. It does not give up. It’s kind of like the terminator. Now the government apparatus, while seeming to lose, has actually gained a minimum 20% cut of the now legal marijuana trade in Colorado. Al Capone would be, I think, quite impressed. The new marijuana cartel in Colorado is the state. Pay them their substantial cut and you are free to do business, Fail to pay up, and you can look forward to either cage or coffin.

Voluntaryism…..Can It Survive?

First $2 bill issued in 1862 as a Legal Tender...
First $2 bill issued in 1862 as a Legal Tender Note (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is time for another batch of questions for everyone to consider.
I can almost feel the responses from the two opposing positions now. On the one hand, shouts of “Anarchism can’t work, it will lead to warlords and oppression!” On the other, “Of course it will survive. It will thrive because it is the only way to fulfill the potential of all people by giving them the freedom to make the best choices for themselves.”
Let me start with the thought process behind my formulation of this question, and perhaps some minimal parameters. I am thinking of the federal government of the U.S. and not so much of the state and local levels. I am also equating it to the geographical area. I want to focus on the transformation which occurred between the 18th century and today.
It can well be said that with the establishment of the United States the world saw one of the closest attempts to date to having a voluntary society. True, it certainly was not voluntaryism, but it was arguably the closest thing to it at the time which had been tried at such a scale. Yes, I agree, some of the state and local governments of the time were incredibly intrusive and oppressive in some areas, but in the beginning the federal level sought to force few individuals to comply, choosing instead to ignore, for the most part, those who did not wish to participate, being mostly concerned with interactions with the individual states.
As time went on, however, the size and scope of the federal government grew, being transformed from an entity which had little time or desire to deal directly with individuals to one which today seems to be almost fanatically obsessed with our individual lives.
This metamorphosis from a semi-voluntary system to a mandatory system happened for a reason, and I see three areas to look for this reason, either in full or in part.
The first area, and the first part of my question, is in the formation of the system at the beginning. Were there faults or deficiencies built in to the system which caused the transformation which has led us to the mandatory government with which we are inflicted today? Were there weaknesses which could be addressed which led to the loss of whatever amount of voluntaryist ideas once were be taken for granted?
The second part of the question might have been asked too often already, as it involves the seemingly omnipresent “warlord argument.” Simply put, how is it possible to prevent power hungry individuals or groups from gaining enough power and influence to subvert the whole system? Is it possible at all?
Last, we all can easily enough understand the danger of a large group of people intentionally deciding to forego their own personal responsibility, and placing their welfare in the hands of another, and by doing so giving that other the power to make decisions for them. Is there any real chance of eliminating, or at least diminishing, the tendency for people to place their welfare in the hands of another? Is there any way to prevent a large number of people from doing this, and by so doing undermine a voluntary system by inadvertently handing too much power to one of the above “warlords?”
Hopefully, enough people will take up these questions and continue to ask them, thereby furthering the debate. I may be proven wrong, but it seems to me as if they are the skeletal questions of the whole argument, and all other questions must be related to these in some fashion. Am I wrong?

Between Anarchy and Totalitarianism……A Question.

Fear Totalitarianism
Fear Totalitarianism (Photo credit: SLTompkins)

Here is my question: Both have been gaining in popularity, but which will succeed, and how? Or is it possible that both are doomed to failure? I am seeking as much discussion as possible, because as time goes on this discussion continues to gain more relevance, and we must not discount its importance.

Totalitarianism. This movement is indisputably on the rise. Look no further than the electronic monitoring of many countries, notably in recent times the United States, England, India and New Zealand. There is also the many attempts by numerous countries to insert their influence into the interior of other countries. In the United States regulation is on the rise, fed among other things by an entrenched bureaucracy and complicated by the paid lobby. These and other increases in government power are willingly enabled both by politically motivated media organizations hungry for ratings and by a willing populace more than ready to allow the hard tasks in life to be relegated to an entity other than themselves.

Anarchy. The ultimate expression of individual rights and freedom. Or is it? Yes, if everyone had this as their goal, it certainly would be. Imagine a world where we would be responsible for ourselves and both enjoy all the benefits of our actions and bear the responsibility for our own mistakes. We would never be forced to pay someone else’s way, we would only do so when we voluntarily chose to do so. As long as we neither harmed anyone else nor infringed upon their ability to lead their lives as they saw fit, we would be free to do as we wished. Sounds much better to me than the alternative of totalitarianism.

So why the question? It sure seems like an obvious choice, does it not? But there’s a catch. Many, probably most, of the people in this world do not want to be responsible for their mistakes. They certainly want 100% of the benefits of their good choices, but when they make a mistake, they do not want to pay for it, they want someone else to step in and save them. As long as so many people have this tendency, they will insist that there is some form of government, council, tribe, or something to provide the means for them to avoid the personal responsibility which is necessary for freedom. As long as they insist that this type of entity exists, it will, and it will seek to gain the power needed to be successful, and then some. This entity will also seek the power to prevent a better entity from replacing it.

So what is the solution? On the one hand, many people want, even think they need, a totalitarian type of government with the power to save them from their own mistakes, while those who have honestly studied this problem realize that a government with that much power at some point engages in the abuse of all under its influence. How do we eliminate the abusive governments without leaving ourselves vulnerable to the government installed by our neighbors, which wants what we have, and above all, wants the power over us to prevent us from influencing its subjects?

I have found only two answers, both which must be used in tandem.

First and foremost is education. The people who wish to be taken care of must be taught that there are more potential benefits in a free and voluntary society than in one which is controlled or managed by a powerful central authority. I fear that, unfortunately, this may take generations, and I do not expect to see significant results in my lifetime, but have committed to doing my part to keep the process moving.

Second, it would be better for those who appreciate liberty to accept the fact that most people will insist in having a governing apparatus, at least until the educational efforts reach fruition, and to remain involved enough to influence the scope of that apparatus. If people who understand freedom disengage from the process of forming and guiding whatever apparatus is chosen, people have through history shown a dangerous tendency to select the most totalitarian government available, and those are exactly the kind of governments with the most incentive to interfere with any attempts we make to educate others about freedom. In order to gain the time and the means to educate people to the benefits of liberty and responsibility, we must, even when we find it distasteful, help in the process to ensure that we have the most benign entity possible, rather than the cancerous entity of totalitarian control.

Don’t mistake me for a government supporter, even though I prefer one over another. I do believe that for the foreseeable future a government is necessary and unavoidable, and it is in our best interest to help keep it as small and benign as possible, and continue to shrink and weaken it at every opportunity. As a friend recently remarked, if we suddenly pulled the rug out from under things, it would create chaos which would likely create more problems than it would solve.

Possession or Ownership?

This is probably a question that should not have to be asked, but I find that many people I have encountered do not seem to really understand the difference. Many people believe that they own an item, when in reality they are just allowed to possess it for a time.

This topic has been broached in regards to home ownership recently after the housing bubble of a few years past, principally because so many who had never considered the possibility were suddenly indoctrinated by the large number of foreclosures and the fact that the stories were drummed so heavily by the press. Even those not experiencing foreclosures, or being threatened with one, likely knew of someone who did. It became abundantly clear to all of us that the banks and lending organizations had a higher priority claim to our homes than we did, and there was little we could do about it.

But what if you have the title to your home “free and clear” and you owe no money for a mortgage and there is no lien against it? Can you say that you own it then? You can say it, but you would be wrong. You are subject to, according to your location, at least one form of government requirement.

If you live in an area where property taxes are charged, you must pay these taxes or be subjected to government mandated eviction from a home that may have been in your family for generations, at which point it will be auctioned off to the highest bidder so that the government can collect the revenue it had charged you for the use of what you considered to be your sacred and safe home.

You may also be subject to building and zoning codes. If you are not allowed to add something as simple as a garage next to your house because the building codes are so restrictive that the cost becomes excessively high, especially in areas where unethical governing bodies keep a list of “approved” contractors, who frequently become approved not by their record but by paying fees and buying licenses, then you can not be said to own that property, as you are not allowed to make the decisions regarding the development of it without government permission.

Two other situations you might face are eminent domain and annexation. In either case, the government has reserved itself the right in many instances to declare that “your” property must be used for some other purpose, and your home must be removed to make way for their progress. In lesser cases, you may be required to do something seemingly beneficial such as seal off your well and septic system and allow them to hook your residence up to city water and sewer. They will usually charge you dearly for this, and failure to comply will generally end up with the property being condemned and declared unfit for human habitation, after which you will no longer be able to use it, and will have to sell.

Now we move to the invaluable American automobile. You say that you have paid off the loan, so now you own it, right? It’s not quite so easy as that. Sure, you can own it and not have to be beholden to anyone, but only if it is never driven off of your property (something which we have already questioned).

First, whoever drives it must have a driver’s license, which requires one to agree to a government record check before you are given permission to have one. Then you must pay the applicable fees and taxes and allow the government to record your information in their data base.

Once this is done, it is time to get essentially the same done for your vehicle. It’s identity must be verified, in some areas it must pass a mandatory inspection, and then more taxes and fees must be paid in order to obtain permission to operate it in “public” in the form of license plates and registrations.

And we’re still not done. In 49 states, insurance is also mandatory, and if you have a blemished record, “high-risk” (expensive) insurance may also be mandatory. In addition, if you have borrowed money to obtain the car, full coverage insurance will also be required to satisfy the lender.

After you have gone through all of this, get careless and receive a citation for any one of a list of offenses, and be subject to having your vehicle impounded, which will cost you another hefty fee, or may even result in your car being sold at auction to recover the money which was charged you by the government for your offense. This could stem from something as simple as being delayed and being unable to return to your car to prevent it from being towed when the meter expired.

If you think that the above situations are rare and will never happen to you or anyone you care about, I invite you to simply check your local paper for sometimes voluminous lists of real estate and vehicle auctions. It happens all of the time.

There are also many other items subject to confiscation, even though we generally think that we own them. Two scenarios which immediately come to mind are TSA confiscations of items that they declare contraband, yet will not allow you to leave with once they have found them, and the recent flurry of gun confiscations in California perpetrated on people who did nothing wrong aside from finding themselves on the “not approved to possess firearms” list.

When the government, or any other entity, can freely charge you for the privilege of possessing something, and it can be confiscated for your failure to abide by regulations of which you may not even be aware, how can we claim ownership?

We have gradually allowed the government, over the course of many years, to gain the power to regulate our possessions, even our homes, to such an extent that perhaps it is time for us to admit that we no longer own these things, but the government does, and allows us to use them at their whim.