In order to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads in America today, citizens must abide an astonishing array of affronts to even the most basic concepts of civil liberty. Heavy-handed and infuriatingly arbitrary traffic patrols, mass collection of their locational data, grossly exorbitant fees and fines, statutorily unavoidable “checkpoints,” the ever-present threat of (age/gender/racial) profiling, relinquishment of due process rights—the list goes on, and on, and on. According to John Bowman of the National Motorists Association, one of the few organized efforts to lobby single-mindedly on behalf of preserving roadway liberties, conditions appear to be worsening at an accelerating pace. “Based on the reports we see here,” he told me, “and we do monitor this stuff pretty carefully, I would say the general erosion of motorists’ privacy rights has escalated over the past few years.”
Robert Biel, 57, of Brevard County, Florida, is going to spend the next year in prison. He must have done something pretty bad, right? Beat someone up, maybe? Steal a car? Er… shoplift a six pack? No, something far worse – in the eyes of our protectors in government:
He kept a bunch of old cars in his yard.
His yard. Not someone else’s. His – you know, the land he gets to pay endless rent to the government for as a condition of the perpetuation of the fiction that he’s the owner. Except of course, he’s not – and this business about sending him to the clink for a year proves it. Continue reading