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“You’ve Got a Hard Lip, Herbert”

November 5, 2011

The quote is from an old Star Trek episode about space hippies and their issues with bureaucratic procedures.  Bureaucracy run amok can produce petty enforcement of minor rules to the detriment of society at large.  For example, Denver now issues traffic tickets to those who stop at red lights but who stop past the white line.  While they are technically correct in doing so, the use of red light cams to issue tickets for such infractions sends this message:  Anything short of perfect compliance will be punished.  Absolute enforcement of every law is a form of despotism – especially when the laws are numerous.  If anyone disagrees with this, stating that those who obey the law need fear nothing, let that person consider that they are not perfect, doubtless cause minor traffic violations daily (1 MPH over for even a moment, for example), and that none would escape punishment.

The legal reasoning behind this obvious revenue grab could also be used to justify putting speed monitors in our cars, or for using GPS tracking to establish out driving speed.  Imagine being auto-issued a ticket for every time you drive 1 MPH over the limit, even if only for a few seconds.  The average American is said to commit three felonies a day.  We live in a rule-choked society; this kind of micro-enforcement is an oppression, a license to arrest, fine or imprison almost at will, as all are guilty of something or other.  We are, therefore, at the mercy of a government that is supposed to be our servant, not our master.

The course of action most immediately open to us is local activism.   Get on a board – zoning, planning, the police commission, etc. – now.  Have an informed opinion on what happens locally.  Don’t be afraid to stand up, as the newcomer, and object to petty evil.  Informed, sustained activism is the only road within the system that may – may – lead to reform of the system.  Without it, the heaping of injustice upon injustice will inevitably lead to a reaction opposite and equal to the evils that cause it.  As patriotic Americans, we ought to act to bring about the former to prevent the latter.

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