Our Rights: A Place To Start
become a continental penal colony overnight. It happened step by
step, over a period of many years. Itd be wonderful if we
could do an overnight re-set, but thats neither likely nor
So, what can
How about the
same thing that was done to us only in reverse: A piece-by-piece
deconstruction of statism? A re-investing of individual rights
and individual responsibilities as opposed collective
obligations and group responsibility?
A return to
the ancient, honorable principle of no harm no crime.
Pie in the
sky? Not at all. Consider, for example, the tremendous progress
thats been made over the past decade or so with regard to
re-investing people with their right to possess arms. Gun
control that is, denying people who have done nothing
to warrant it their the right to possess guns because some people
have misused them has been rolled back almost everywhere.
Even in the heart of darkness itself Washington, DC
where it is now at least possible for a resident to legally own
Such a thing
would have been inconceivable ten or twenty years ago.
In nearby Virginia,
the peoples right to the means of armed self-defense has been
almost fully restored. Open carry is lawful nearly everywhere. The
state must issue a concealed handgun permit to any person
who isnt a convict who fills out the form and pays the small
($50) fee. In past years, the process was may issue
which meant it was up to the state to issue a permit or not
at its whim. Often enough, it did not. The applicant
had no recourse.
have followed suit.
The one gun
a month thing is gone. Draconian prohibitions on the possession
of firearms are now the exception not the rule. The demagogically
named assault weapons ban (which outlawed rifles that
looked military even though they functioned no
differently than other rifles) is gone. In most states, a person
can buy almost any type of gun he wants to.
The wheel has
public no longer supports gun control recognizing
that it was built on a lie (take away honest peoples right
to own guns and crime will go down; in fact the opposite
happens everywhere this idea has been applied; the truth of this
is so obviously self-evident it can no longer be denied). And much
more critically, people are increasingly intolerant of having their
rights rescinded on account of what other people have
This is a tremendous
thing a near total rolling back not merely of gun
control laws but of the collectivist ideas behind them.
The importance of this achievement cannot be over-emphasized. It
is also a tonic a reminder that all is not yet lost
despite the almost daily accretion of collectivism.
effect change for the better. It is possible to snatch back
It just requires
the determination to see it through.
another area where we might focus our efforts: Mandatory buckle
up (and motorcycle helmet) laws. As with laws denying people
their right to to possess arms, these laws attack a basic human
right the right to be left alone by the law unless your
actions threaten to harm or actually do cause harm to others.
No one else is harmed or even threatened by someone
not wearing a seatbelt. Or a helmet when riding a motorcycle. Therefore,
the choice ought to be a matter of individual discretion
and not a matter for the law.
The main argument
supporting laws requiring us to buckle up and to wear
a helmet when riding a bike is that we might impose costs
It is a silly,
arbitrary argument and much more profoundly, an affront to
our right to be left in peace so long as we are peaceful.
and arbitrary because we dont sic the law on people
for countless other personal decisions that dont cause harm
to others everything from being overweight to exercising
excessively to worrying too much to mowing the grass
on a 96 degree day. These and many more such can all
be said to involve elevated risk to the individual. Getting out
of bed in the morning entails more risk than staying in bed.
Life itself is necessarily risky.
Think of the
laundry list of things you could come up with that might potentially
involve costs to society, but which present no specific
threat to any other individual.
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[send him mail] is an automotive
columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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