A Candle in the Darkness

Column by Paul Hein.

Exclusive to STR

Those of us of a certain (old!!) age find it easy to be pessimistic about the future, and depressed by the present obvious disintegration of the America of our youth and young adulthood. Considering that garrulous gaggle of gangsters seeking the presidency is enough to ruin my day. The shrinking of the middle class--the productive class!!--convinces me that we are not advancing into the light, but retreating into the darkness. I thank God I am old, and will not have to witness the final descent into fiefdom!

Once in a while, however, something happens which gladdens my aging heart--even if it sheds no more light than a single flickering candle. I had such an experience yesterday, when I chanced upon an article about the growing number of people who do not have licenses to drive.

I know for a fact, and so do you, I’m sure, that an automobile may be driven safely and competently by anyone, whether he has obtained the permission (for a fee) of strangers to do so or not. What’s more, the automobile itself need not have the strangers' tag to perform perfectly well, although if such a tag is missing, it will be obvious to all, including those hired by the rulers to enforce their wishes, and add to their coffers. (Such enforcers claim to “protect and serve,” but it’s not us that they protect and serve!) On the other hand, if the driver—as opposed to the car itself--does not have the strangers’ permission, it will not be known unless, for some reason, the hapless driver is stopped by the authorities and asked to produce his permission slip, i.e., his “license.”

Some statistics: The percentage of people, of any age, with a driver’s license, has been decreasing from 2011 to 2014. For younger people, teens to middle-age, the drop in the percentage of those seeking driver’s licenses started in 1983. Of 20 to 24 year olds in that year, 92% had driver’s licenses. By 2014, that percentage was 77%. For middle-aged to older folks (69 and counting), 79.2% had driver’s licenses in 2011, and 79% in 2014: a small drop, percentage-wise, but a drop, nonetheless. What pleases me is that the biggest drop has occurred in the youngest age group. What is going on?

The author of the article which presented these statistics offered some explanations. It might be that we are simply traveling less. Or it could be the easy access to public transportation. Perhaps individuals simply don’t have time to apply for, and get, a license. Television and the Internet provide entertainment at home, so perhaps people needn’t go out as much. Are you favorably impressed with these conjectures? Or are you smiling at the author’s duplicity or naivete?

When questioned, 70% of non-licensed individuals said they planned to apply for a license within five years, while about 20% said they had no such plans.

It is interesting that the author of the article assumes that if one doesn’t have a driver’s license, it is because he doesn’t have a need or desire to drive. For instance, as noted above, their hunch is that non-licensed people are “traveling less,” or using “public transportation.” But the biggest drop in licensure is among young people. Is going to work or school “traveling”? Is “public transportation” widely available in suburban areas? (Do many young housewives take the bus to the supermarket?) Does it take too much time to get the license to drive, but not to license the automobile?

The question never asked is: Do the non-licensed persons drive? I suspect that they do, but would certainly not be apt to reveal that fact to some survey-taker curious about the decline in licensure.

It’s only a flickering candle, but I like to think it’s shedding a little light upon an embryonic development in our society. Can people—especially young ones--be waking up to the fact that government is an expensive, intrusive, and unnecessary burden? Not obtaining a license to drive is one small and relatively safe way to thumb one’s nose at the Rulers. It’s like using marijuana, which seems to have become so common that many states have abandoned, or relaxed, their laws against it. Maybe the driver’s license will be next to go. Or maybe not. Still, any act of defiance is laudable. Drive on!!

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Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 150


mjackso6's picture

I wish I were as confident in the unlicensed driver hypothesis, but I know what.the deal was for my oldest daughter, and I suspect it generalizes out to the majority of young folks these days. State-acredited driver's "education" classes, which the robbery-tax funded public Incarceration system ~doesn't~ pay for (it's about $300-$400 out of mom and dad's pocket) are now mandatory to even.get a learner's permit. Lots of folks can't.afford this, and so a lot of kids end up putting this off or skipping it altogether, sometimes going straight to a license later in life (my daughter was 20 before she got hers), making do with rides from mom and dad or friends until they absolutely ~have~ to drive.

KenK's picture

I tried going without gov issued ID for a year once as an experiment. I lasted about two months. Unless you are gonna be a panhandler who lives in the park, or a mountain man hermit living  in the wilderness, you just have to have something to do business, and a DL is about the only thing that fits the bill. It's hard, tho not impossible, to do without it, and as kids get out there in the world they discover that unpleasant fact just as I did.

Glock27's picture

There are an enormous amount of unpleasant facts even adults don't know. I am currently trying to deal with banks and money that has come down to fiat money, or worthless paper. I see banks as corrupt as government only because government moved in and made them corrupt for their own purposes.

Samarami's picture

The overview, Paul, of this nice article is that government (a brainless abstraction when you think about it) is nothing more than a dangerous superstition. And, as fewer and fewer ordinary folks subscribe to the superstition with voluntary compliance, the quicker the final collapse.

I'm 81, and banking upon staying alive to witness the collapse. I have no idea how it will unfold. I suspect it will not be painless. Divorcing from any superstition is not a laughing matter, and I never gainsay religionists (although I chide "libertarians" who continue to use reification, such as "the state wants your money", which borders upon religion and superstition toward "the-powers-that-be" [to use their vernacular]). They mostly shrug and ignore me.

That does not mean that I recommend going around flipping the bird to dangerously armed psychopaths. Our late friend, Irwin Schiff, learned that lesson the hard way. I'm not certain Irwin actually learned it -- I fear he went to his grave with deep resentments, which in itself is a form of "internal slavery".

I always believe a man (or woman -- L-rd have mercy!) with a loaded gun. Sam

mjackso6's picture

The saddest aspect of the armed sheep dogs is that most of them (not all) are just sheep themselves who think that they're "just protecting the flock", often thinking that the largest threat is from within the " flock", rather than recognizing the corrupt, evil-minded "ranchers" (tax farmers) for what they are.

A lifetime of programming instills this kind of thinking in both the "sheep" and the "sheep dogs", and these days, the " farmers" have been slanting the hiring criteria to highly favor the "pitbulls" over the gentler "Sheppard" types. And, of course, even the well meaning types are still completely misguided.

It took me several years of "detox" and exposure to the liberty movement to shrug off 19 years as a military policeman in the Army, but it can be done.

Samarami's picture

I've often observed that there is no such thing as "jurisdiction" -- only force of arms. All the appearing before "benches" (a bench in real life is furniture on which to sit your butt), rising, use of sacred utterance ("your-honor"), serve to baptize the unwary into the superstition of jurisdiction.

The primary danger is the widespread acceptance on the part of your and my family, friends and neighbors of that superstition. To even imply that one questions "authority" is beyond the pale in the eyes of most. Thus, psychopathic jurisdiction receives validation.

However, as Mr. Hein has illustrated, chinks in the armor are appearing. Sam

Samarami's picture

Sorry to butt in again, but there is one correction I have to make: parents, or adult caregivers (hopefully loving Mom's and Dad's) have obvious "jurisdiction" over newborn human beings, like it or not. And that "jurisdiction" continues indefinitely -- forever and forever, if all goes well (which, all too often, it does not). My kids (all but 2 of 7 now over 50) have increasing "jurisdiction" over me.

The family is the only legitimate governing unit. Love is genuine jurisdiction. Family love.


Glock27's picture

Sam: If only everyone would believe this, but the pathocracy which thrives in this nation since 1902 is so entrenched it will never permit us, except in secrecy to thrive in this manner.

mishochu's picture

I wonder what the statute of limitations is for admitting that I drove (in the 90's) without a license or insurance for 2.5 yrs (I learned how to operate a vehicle when I was about 9, on farmland near Canterbury before moving to the US). I eventually turned 18 and (at the time) the barriers to licensing dropped.

Since I was definitely drinking from the kool-aid of statism at the time I don't think I saw the chinks in the armor of the state. I doubt the young today are eschewing the state.

Fast forward to today and my most "rebellious" actions are keeping un-permitted chickens (no one actually inspects your coops, etc. You just pay the fee per chicken per year...why exactly?).

I am finally beginning not to care if the rest of the world doesn't change along with me (thanks Sam), I am concerned for my wife and one year old son. I contemplate home schooling in his future and am working on her to get her on board.

Paul's picture

I think all the factors mentioned contribute to this drop.

I know someone who did not have a license for a few years due to a dispute between two state bureaucracies. He had a lead foot too. Cops would pull him over and he'd just say he didn't have a license. They always let him go. I found this interesting.

I've noticed that states are now going with permitless concealed carry, Idaho is the most recent one. I always worried about the notion that we should ask permission to carry, but it appears that gradualism worked for once. It must be becoming increasingly obvious that one does not need permission to defend one's life. Also the world did not come to an end because people carried guns, as the gun prohibitionists predicted it would. Anyway just another trend along the lines you mention.