Saturday, July 30, 2011

Right To Travel

One of the major factors that interfere with a true possum living lifestyle is the governmental demand that we buy permission to travel, in the form of a driver's license, vehicle registration and insurance. Sure, you can still walk or ride a bicycle in most areas without the need to purchase these government permission slips, but that only works if you live within easy walking or bicycling range of the places you need to visit on a regular basis. In other words, close to town. But then you are subjected to similar regulations on your domicile. Towns and cities generally have high property taxes and worse, restrictions that prevent you living anything resembling a self-sufficient lifestyle. If only you could live offgrid on some cheap land out in the boonies, and have something like an old VW Rabbit diesel to drive to town periodically, while getting 60 mpg on biodiesel that cost $1 per gallon to produce at home; without needing to pay hundreds of dollars per year to the government for the privilege. And it is a privilege, right? That is what we have been told all our lives by the government.

Good news. Personal travel is a right. From the Free Enterprise Society:
"Government, in requiring the people to file for drivers license, vehicle registrations, mandatory insurance, and demanding they stop for vehicle inspections, roadblocks, etc. are restricting and therefore violating the peoples’ common law right to travel."

Here are some court decisions that back up this claim:

"Even the legislature has no power to deny to a citizen the right to travel upon the highway and transport his property in the ordinary course of his business or pleasure, though this right may be regulated in accordance with the public interest and convenience." Chicago Motor Coach v. Chicago, 169 NE 22.
("Regulated" here means traffic safety enforcement: stop lights, signs, etc.) 

"The right of the citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city may prohibit at will, but a common right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Thompson v. Smith, 154 SE 179.
It could not be stated more conclusively that citizens of the states have a right to travel, without approval or restrictions (license), and that this right is protected under the U.S. Constitution.

"The right to travel is a part of the liberty of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the 5th Amendment." Kent v. Dulles, 357 US 116, 125. 

"Undoubtedly the right of locomotion, the right to move from one place to another according to inclination, is an attribute of personal liberty, and the right, ordinarily, of free transit from or through the territory of any State is a right secured by the 14th amendment and by other provisions of the Constitution." Schactman v. Dulles, 96 App DC 287, 293. 
Our system of law dictates that there is only one way to remove a right belonging to the people. That is by a person knowingly waiving a particular right. 

It is important to be aware of a different point of view about traffic since a near police state exists on America’s highways today. 

Excerpted from "Traveling Is A Right," by the Free Enterprise Society.


Mayberry said...

Oh yes, this post is now bookmarked for future ammunition against the statist cheerleaders. Good work! Thanks!

Brad said...

Tracy - all well and good, and I'm with you in spirit (sort of - I feel some regulation of travel funds the very roads most of us depend on and provides for a semblance of assumed safety - in theory).

That said, are you advising folks forgoe insurance and driver's liscenses? And that they cite case law when stopped? That path will only ensure they get their liberty to travel impinged upon - in an immediate and major way.


Tracy said...

No, I am not offering legal advice. I present this only as information and to get people thinking. The fact is, the US and various state and local governments are out of control, and they pretty much do whatever they want with impunity.
Some people do successfully assert their right to travel, among other rights. But such behavior is always risky and is therefore something each individual has to decide for him or herself.

BTW, right to travel does not, to me, equate to the right to drive in a way as to endanger others. With any freedom comes responsibility. I have no problem with cops pulling over and fining any driver who is unnecessarily endangering others.

Brad said...

I agree with your 'BTW' paragraph - problem is the cops essentially own the defenition of "endagering". By driving unliscensed they'll assert you are an unknown, uninsured, and therefore endangering John Q. Public. And they'll win.

Sadly individual expressions of freedom often result in the person exercising same getting taken to task and nothing more.


Nan said...

Interesting in theory, but probably going to land one's butt in jail in practice.

I am intrigued that the last legal citation is to a case regarding the denial of a passport to a person who wished to travel abroad, Dulles being the Secretary of State at the time. It's kind of a stretch to claim that the finding that the State Department has to follow due process when issuing or not issuing a passport means that the government has no right to require drivers' licenses. Schactman v Dulles does say "The right to travel, to go from place to place as the means of transportation permit, is a natural right subject to the rights of others and to reasonable regulation under law." Most people would argue that drivers' licenses and car registration regulations are "reasonable regulation" because most of us want some assurance that other drivers have met some basic competency level and aren't driving total POS vehicles that are going to be shedding parts as they lurch down the interstate.

Tracy said...

There is a man here, a former truck driver from California, who has been exercising right to travel since he moved here about 25 years ago. He has been to jail a few times, and stayed in jail 30 days once or twice on misdemeanor charges, but he stuck to his guns and now the cops don't even bother him anymore. He has no DL, no registration on his car, and no insurance. The cops just wave him through the road blocks we have here on a regular basis. I have read of similar cases elsewhere in the country.

Lots of people may indeed consider full-blown regulation and government control of everything to be reasonable, just as the people of Germany in the 1930s considered the techniques used by the Gestapo to be reasonable. But as pointed out in the article, "reasonable regulation" refers to traffic regulation in the form of stop signs and such devices, as well as identifying drivers who are actually endangering the safety of others. It does not mean making sure everyone has their documents in order and all taxes paid.

Paul Bonneau said...

"I have no problem with cops pulling over and fining any driver who is unnecessarily endangering others."

I do. It turns out we don't need cops at all, and historically for long periods we did not have them:

To me it appears that cops are a "cure worse than the disease" that they are allegedly there to prevent. I don't want them out there making judgments about who is endangering whom, because (given human nature) it will inevitably degenerate into the giant protection racket we have today.

Protection implies submission, and I don't think we should submit.

Brad said...

There's a significant moral difference between the Gestapo's brown-shirt-legacy strong arm terror tactics and a legal requirement to be licensed to drive. Personal freedom before public safety and rule of representative-based law was never what the founding father's intended.

Suverans2 said...

First, a tip of the hat to you, Tracy, I applaud your efforts.


You quote the Free Enterprise Society:
"Government, in requiring the people to file for drivers license, vehicle registrations, mandatory insurance, and demanding they stop for vehicle inspections, roadblocks, etc. are restricting and therefore violating the peoples’ common law right to travel."

I believe that if you check into it, your government requires persons to apply for driver's licenses...and is therefore not violating the peoples’ common law right to travel.

Homo vocabulum est naturae; persona juris civilisMan is a term of nature; person of civil law. – Bouvier’s Law Dictionary (1914), “Maxim,” page 2136

Then you quote this, presumably as part of your defense of the "right to travel":
"The right to travel is a part of the liberty of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the 5th Amendment." Kent v. Dulles, 357 US 116, 125.

Secondly, who gets to decide what "due process of law under the 5th Amendment" is??? That's right, the fox guarding the hen house does.

And, lastly, I believe you will find that all "registered" transportation devices are the property of the State in which they are "registered". As the true owner, (holder of the MSO), the State, gets to dictate how that "motor vehicle" will be used and by whom.

Tracy said...

Brad, I disagree with you. Government licensing and registration has everything to do with power, control and revenue, and nothing whatever to do with safety. As for what the founding fathers of the country believed, we could argue about that all day and it would change nothing. Personally, I study the writings of philosophers from all times and places, and I am settled in my belief that, since each individual enters the world alone and leaves it alone (at least insofar as other people are concerned), each individual therefore owns his or her own life and doesn't owe allegiance to any group of people. That makes the mindset of any politician, whether from 1776 or 2011, irrelevant. We are saddled with the burden of putting up with their crap, on top of all the real burdens of life. That doesn't make them righteous.
And by the way, don't make the mistake (as so many do) of assuming that I want or need their "services". I don't ask the government for anything, and there is absolutely nothing they provide that couldn't be provided better and more cheaply by either myself or a private entity.
George Washington in 1797 said “Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. Government is force; like fire it is a dangerous servant -- and a fearful master.” I quote him, not because of his stature in the government, but because the quote rings true with what I have observed. It would not matter if the quote were from some unknown peasant.
All the stuff about government "protecting" us from ourselves and each other is just a collectivist excuse to rule over us as individuals. There is no such thing as collective rights. There is, in reality, no collective: there are simply individuals. How can "we as a people" possibly be free, if the individual is not free?
In all of history, government has never made people free. It cannot, nor is it designed to do so. Government is about slavery, pure and simple.
Society has evolved to be the way it is in response to the way we have allowed the government to control us; not the other way around. The stupid and insanely damaging US "drug war," for example, has created the Mexican drug cartels. And then there are the inner-city gangs. They are worst in the cities that most heavily restrict civilian gun ownership. I contend that if it weren't for the police who protect them and the welfare system that pays for a never-ending stream of new future members who never have to work a day in their lives, those gangs would not exist. They exist because people buy into the lie that the police are there to protect them so they don't have to protect themselves.

Suverans, I am well aware of the "man vs. person" argument, but did not address it here because it is beyond the scope of the article. As for registered vehicles legally belonging to the state, you are absolutely correct. That is one of the reasons that right-to-travel advocates do not register their vehicles or, if you prefer, personal conveyance.