Saturday, September 30, 2023

State ruling infringes on rights

(My Eastern New Mexico News column for August 27, 2023)

Any time a court sides with a government employee, giving government more power over your life, liberty dies a little. There isn't much liberty to spare; the last remnants are circling the drain, washed down with public apathy. Or approval.

Such is the case with the recent Supreme Court of New Mexico ruling allowing a police officer to question a vehicle passenger-- a suspected thief. You may approve of the officer's actions, but it isn't good for your future rights.

In cases like this, the details don't matter. The court standing against individual rights by twisting the Bill of Rights to suit government preferences is the important part.

There is no one I despise more than a thief. If I let my feelings overrule my brain, that would be the end of the discussion. But liberty is more important than anyone's feelings. You've got to stand up for liberty even when your feelings would rather not.

As H.L. Mencken pointed out, “The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.”

This not only needs to be stopped, it needs to be reversed.

Governments have no rights. Government employees have no rights beyond those every individual has. What they have, illegitimately, is power over you.

Any time there's a question of whether government power trumps your rights, the court's responsibility is to side with your rights. When they side with government power they have failed in their duty.

It's a clear conflict of interest to allow a branch of government to decide how much power government is allowed to have. The Bill of Rights was supposed to prevent this, but it doesn't work when the courts side with their government coworkers; interpreting the Constitution in whichever way helps their side most. This violates the spirit of the document. It's a good idea to remember that rights don't come from documents, but from your very existence as a human being. Nothing more is needed.

The state's employees can never be permitted to start-- or continue-- believing they have the right to rule over you. It's simply not their place to do so. Their only legitimate job is to protect your rights. This ruling does the opposite.
I couldn't do this without your support.

My personal evolution

When I was a kid I was only interested in freedom (maybe along with some feelings of "safety"). As I grew I began to grudgingly accept some responsibility too.

When I became aware of the world outside my personal sphere, it didn't bother me that government existed. It seemed natural-- no one else seemed to think it was anything grotesque. Mainly because I gave it no thought at all.

During some of my pre-teen years, my dad was a lobbyist who would go to the Texas capitol as part of his job. He took me with him to learn about government. I spent time wandering the building and grounds (yes, on my own) and sitting in a little snack shop in the building. I met politicians, sat in their chairs, shook their hands, and had my picture taken with them. (Someday I ought to look for those pictures-- I have them around here somewhere.) One of those politicians later went to prison for some corruption thing.


I grew up mostly "conservative" (like my parents) but with a few non-standard views. I was always an environmentalist and started out believing government should (and could) "protect the environment". The inconvenient reality that most "environmental protection" had the opposite effect didn't go unnoticed, however. The cracks were showing.

For years I believed government should prohibit drugs and punish drug abusers. The more I learned from history, the shakier that position became. Everything like that I actually gave any thought to disproved the necessity of government. The cracks were growing.

Even as a young adult, I thought that maybe government had a point; that guns were just too dangerous and were more bad than good. Then, learning history and getting deeper into the claims and counterclaims destroyed that delusion for good. The cracks and splits started making chunks fall off.

Even as late as around 20 years ago (and still slightly when this blog began), I thought the US Constitution was great and that the main trouble with the US FedGov was that it ignored the Constitution too much. As I discovered the nature of rights I began to realize that the Constitution enshrined the violation of rights in favor of government power. Personally, I was done with it at that point.

I still like to use constitutional arguments against people who claim to love the Constitution while ignoring the parts they don't like (or hallucinating parts they want to be there, like "immigration" stuff). It's kind of funny. And I'll use it to demonstrate just how criminal the US FedGov has become-- it's even criminal by its own measure since it won't live within the limits laid out for it at its founding.

As part of this personal evolution, I stopped focusing on freedom and switched to liberty; freedom tempered with responsibility. I stopped accepting excuses for why "we" have to have political government. The whole thing shattered into tiny bits.

The main point is, that the older I get, the more anarchist I become. I don't buy any of the arguments in favor of governing others anymore. Even though, because of my history, I understand where those arguments come from

If others are determined to cling to government, that's their business as long as they don't try to impose it on me. There's the rub-- the reason for any conflict. It's not on my shoulders. I'm fine with responsibility, but I won't take responsibility for the ethical failings of others. And supporting political government imposing itself on others is a major ethical failing-- none is bigger.

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Thank you.