Travel Ban Laws Are Anti-Libertarian

Individual states have begun passing travel ban laws. One state, say California, passes a law that state-supported travel to Oklahoma is banned because Oklahoma has an abortion law that California disapproves of. Another example: “A litany of states and cities passed travel bans against North Carolina last spring, during the ‘bathroom bill controversy.'”

The power to tax is the power to destroy all freedoms. Step 1: A state taxes its citizens. Step 2: It redistributes the cash to citizens, but only for uses that please the state. Uses it disapproves of, such as travel to another blacklisted or boycotted state, are not funded. Another method is simply to tax the prohibited use directly. A third way is simply to prohibit citizens from travel to the other state.

All these methods are totalitarian in character, meaning that they intrude coercively upon areas of human behavior ordinarily regarded as within the province of individual choice and that involve no criminality or criminal victims. Some are more obviously totalitarian than others. They all are anti-libertarian. They all involve methods of coercing individuals who are not doing anything criminal or anything that requires coercive intervention by others.

The travel ban type of law discriminates against specified behaviors that citizens might choose in the absence of the state’s coercion via prohibition, tax or law. Does this also violate the U.S. constitution? Yes, in my opinion. This type of law violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. In addition, it is hard for me to imagine that any state constitution is written so loosely as to allow a state to “protect” its citizens by forbidding them, by means of taxation, prohibition or law, to travel to another state that has a bathroom or abortion law that it dislikes. The police power has limits.


12:47 pm on June 4, 2018