May 30, 2007

Click It or Ticket: Buckle Up for Tyranny?

That is the conclusion of Walter William's article written some time ago on the wasteful, irrational, insurance-company sponsored, tyrannical Click-it or Ticket program, where the Gestapo detains you to see if you are harnessed properly in your private vehicle while motorcycles with unharnessed drivers (and sometimes helmetless) on two wheels without enclosure have more freedom that you on four wheels in a secure metal capsule with airbags! Just one more reason in this creeping coup toward Totalitarianism that the police can stop and detain you with checkpoints in the new Amerika. (The principles here also apply to mandatory arbitrary drug testing by corporations even now creeping now into government under the guise of "safety" and "necessity"--contrary to the 4th Amendment--lacking probable cause and prohibiting warrantless searches).

The public needs to reject this fascism and start a take off your seat belt at all checkpoints campaign, starting now. Here is why, for it is supported by nothing less than West Virginia law, which reads thus:

§17C-15-49. Operation of vehicles with safety belts; exception; penalty; civil actions; educational program by division of public safety.
c) Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than twenty-five dollars. No court costs or other fees shall be assessed for a violation of this section. Enforcement of this section shall be accomplished only as a secondary action when a driver of a passenger vehicle has been detained for probable cause of violating another section of this code.
Therefore, the law says you have committed no legal offense in not wearing a seatbelt unless it is SECONDARY. Therefore, West Virginians can protest this tyrannical abuse of power, and waste of taxpayers money (and diversion from more appropriate traffic violation enforcement and other more criminal activity), by TAKING OFF THEIR SEAT BELTS AT SUCH CHECKPOINTS IN PROTEST, and the police are powerless to arrest or issue citations unless another PRIMARY cause warrants it. Bottom line is this, according to the Daily Mail, that Charleston police received $200,000 to enforce this federal campaign, to make the states puppets of Washington.

Walter Williams below wrote to show just how big the PRINCIPLE behind this is, and the very real tyranny that comes if people permit the government to enforce such tyrannical laws.

Click It or Ticket

by Walter Williams (September 15, 2003)

Imagine you're having a backyard barbeque. A cop walks in and announces, "This is a random health and safety check to see whether you've removed the skin from the chicken before you served it." Though delicious in taste, we all know that chicken skin contains considerable unhealthy fat. If you're caught serving chicken skin, the cop gets your ID and issues you a $50 ticket.

If something like this were to occur, most Americans -- I hope -- would see such an action as ludicrous, offensive and a gross violation of our liberties. But not so fast. Let's think about it. Each year, obesity claims the lives of 300,000 Americans and adds over $100 billion to health-care costs. Doesn't that give government the right to dictate what we eat? If you're the least offended by the notion of government dictating our diets, pray tell me how it differs in principle from seatbelt laws and especially the new federal enforcement program called "Click It or Ticket."

Under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, the federal government is spending $500 million to aggressively enforce seatbelt laws. According to a July Consumers Research article written by Eric Peters titled "The Federal Government Wants You to Buckle Up," about 11,000 law enforcement agencies across the country have set up random checkpoints and have issued hundreds of thousands of tickets to unbelted drivers and passengers.

Just as in my barbeque scenario, their justification is our health and safety. After all, the 2002 highway death toll was 42,815 and, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study, "The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes on America's Roadways," seatbelt usage could have prevented an estimated 9,200 fatalities.

"Click It or Ticket" represents another bold step along the road to serfdom. History knows of no totalitarianism agenda where noble goals weren't used as justification. Nazis used "for the good of the German Volk" and the Soviets used "for the good of the proletariat" as their justification. Health and safety have become the American justification for attacks on liberty.

In a free society, each person owns himself. As such, he has the broad discretion to make his own choices regardless of what others think of the wisdom of his choices. He has the right to take chances with his own health and safety. However, if an American doesn't own himself, and it's Congress that owns him, he doesn't have those rights. Thus, the "Click It or Ticket" program is simply Congress' way of caring for its property, the American people.

Whether seatbelt usage is a good idea is beside the point, for daily exercise, nutritious meals, eight hours sleep, and cultural and intellectual enrichment might also be good ideas. The point is whether government has a right to coerce us into taking care of ourselves.

If eating what we wish is our business and not that of government, then why should we accept government's coercing us to wear seatbelts? America's tyrants might answer, "We just haven't gotten around to dictating diets yet."

Some might argue, but falsely so, that the problem with people exercising their liberty to drive without seatbelts, ride motorcycles without helmets or eat in unhealthy ways is that if they become injured or sick, society will be burdened with higher health-care costs. That's not a problem of liberty but one of socialism.

There's no liberty-based argument for forcing one person to care for the needs of another. Under socialism, one is obliged to care for another. A parent-child relationship emerges between the citizen and the government. That was not the vision of our Founders.