Saturday, May 20, 2006

Update on Alabama Petitioning; A Lesson on Government

Hammer of Truth posts the story at Libertarians Won, Government Zero

After standing their ground, demanding that the police show them what law they were breaking when they were collecting petition signatures on a public sidewalk, on an open campus, in downtown Birmingham, those brave Libertarian activists prevailed over police harassment.

All's well that end's well, I suppose.

But how many people would have stood up to a police officer, demanding respect for their rights? Not many, I fear. Most people are taught from an early age to fear the police...and rightfully so, since they carry guns and have no legal prohibition against using them. Most people would be cowed by an assertive cop telling them to get lost...rights or no.

This story resonates with me because I have done more than my fair share of petitioning in my day. I've petitioned to get the Libertarian Party ballot status (which Ken Blackwell promptly spit upon), and I've collected signatures to get various candidates on the ballot (which strangely enough, the requirement for non-Democrats and Republicans is MUCH higher than it is for candidate from the two established cartels). And, not surprisingly, I've also run into a similar situation.

In 2004, I was petitioning in downtown Dayton to get the LP's presidential candidate on the ballot. It was during one of the open air festivals that take place down by the river. I had been petitioning for about 25 minutes when a cop on a bike came up to me and asked to see my a permit allowing me to be there. I told him I didn't have one. When he told me I needed one and that I could get one at the park's office on Monday morning (after the event was over), I asked him when this rule was established. You see, we had been down there before, countless times, and never were bothered about it. I asked him if this was city ordinance, and if so, could he site the ordinance for me. I challenged this cop to show me the proof.

Needless to say, he couldn't.

He radioed back to his HQ, with my questions, and after 15 minutes or so, they realized that I wasn't just going to lie down and go away. I think they realized that there was no law against such activity. Eventually, the cop finally gave in and grunted a dissappointed, "I guess you're ok."

I simply smiled and asked him to sign my petition.

He didn't sign. Go figure.

I think there's a larger moral to the story here. Police, and all government agents in general, have an inflated view of themselves and the power they hold...and a supremely diminished respect for the rights of individuals. The gut reaction for most government agents is that any activity needs to be licensed, ie. given explicit permission by bureaucrats. Otherwise individual action, and the individual in general, is to be regarded with suspicion. No permission? It must be illegal, right?

And yet, so many people want to turn to government to protect them, as if agents of the State feel any sort of empathy with the rights of the common person. Newsflash: there are no such things as "rights" to State-Worshippers, only "priveleges". Ordinary people are sheep to be herded and controlled. Liberty is "chaotic" and "dangerous". If you are a good little boy or girl, you ask your mommy and daddy for permission before doing anything. That's why the NSA needs to keep track of all your calls...because every individual is a potential threat, and needs to be monitored. To these people, YOU are the biggest threat, not terrorists. They'll use the excuse of various boogeymen to convince you to accept their boot on your neck, but it's all make-believe. Government agents never even bother to try solving problems - such as poverty or terrorism - because if they actually succeeded in getting rid of poverty or terrorists, there would be no more need for them, and their power would vanish. And at the end of the day, government agents are more enamored with keeping and expanding their own power, then they are in protecting you.

Remember that the next time you talk to someone who claims they believe in liberty, yet in the next breath, express support for just about every government program in existence.


Blogger Chris said...

Do you have any suggestions on how to get the LP back on the ballot in NC?

8:12 PM  
Blogger Libertarian Jason said...

Petition? Donate a lot of money to the LPNC?

Honestly, I'm not that familiar with the ballot access laws in NC, so I can't be much help.

Is the LPNC not able to obtain ballot access?

9:32 PM  

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