It is everywhere--driver's manuals, Secretary of State and License offices nationwide, on radio ads where Officer Friendly always reminds you that if you step out of line as he defines it, your ass is grass. If you lived down here during the strict water rationing last summer, you would have heard commercials produced by the state that would make Mikhail Gorbachev weep in memory of the good old days. Of course, the world's premier environmentalist, Al (Gee, Jan, can you make it a little bigger for the picture?) Gore, pontificated that the internal combustion engine was the greatest threat to the world's survival. That was several years before the sound of the loud PLOP of his head exiting his rectum was heard in Florida (of course, we got stuck with the other fellow, who ain't much different, but at least he hasn't classified my Jeep's 4.0 HP power plant as a source of world terror, for which I am grateful).
Yesterday, tooling around in a sort of free enterprise kinda way (yeah, self-employed, my own boss), I was listening to the radio and chilling. Sitting at a stoplight, an ad came on about some sort of concern with safe driving, and then, the ubiquitous phrase was uttered. I pounded my steering wheel in frustration and uttered GutDude's  second favorite word (his first is linktomeplease!). Since my window was open, the lady in the next car over stared at me kinda weird. I waved as if to assure her I was not making a proposition, and as the light changed she pulled on ahead shaking her head.
And the phrase? It is my personal 'anti-shibboleth.'
Driving is a privilege.
I have to admit--the socialistic butt wipe who came up with that four word sentence was a genius. I don't believe there is another phrase, short of 'I'm coming,' that is uttered more in the US. Who the flucking fip came up with that idea? Driving is a privilege? Well, just how is it a privilege? A privilege is something granted by a higher authority to a lower entity. With me so far?
So if I, a free man, who is beholden to none save taking another's rights away to be my own, is granted a privilege such as driving my Irish buns out to make a living and not leech off society like some water slug, who might be the authority over me granting said privilege to drive?
The State. And for all the reasons I know others will enumerate ad nauseum, the State simply does not have that right. Period. They do it for three reasons, and three reasons only.
One--there are roughly 130 million drivers in America, give or take a few mill. Times that by 25 bucks per 'privileged driver,' and you can see it ain't pocket change. Two--registration of my personal property for which I pay(!)--namely my Jeep--means I must hand the state another bone (that's $100 for you non-Blue Ticks) just for my privilege of driving to my jobs and not soaking my neighbor for the privilege of getting free money and food stamps from the state for sitting on my ass and doing nothing. Three, the State thinks it can, so it does.
Now, a little story. I drove for a year without a license, my plate had no up-to-date sticker, and I paid cash up front for the one little fender bender I had, which amounted to less than 1/3 of what my insurance premium REQUIRED BY THE STATE GRANTING PRIVILEGE required, and the other driver was at fault, but when she found out I had no insurance1, I knew I would otherwise be spending a few days enjoying three hots and a cot down at the local Iron Bar Motel, while the benevolent state would seize my Jeep for good, sell it for local yokel profit among the agents with the bubble-topped cars, and create all kinds of financial hassles for my lender and me. Mostly me, obviously!
So after that I finally caved, and donated a day's labor to the flipping suckwads in Tallahassee for the 'privilege' to drive MY VEHICLE to work. Driver's license, which says I am permitted to do what I have been doing for over 30 years, with only one chargeable accident (my front struts went bad after another car raked mine at an angle in a parking lot, but good old State Farm said it was potholes what done it--even after I got three independent estimates from guys who do that shit for a living saying the exact opposite).
The day after I got 'state religion' and converted, I pulled into my back drive and found the local gendarme parked there as well. Now, he ain't a bad dude . . . pert cool, all in all, and he was staking out a real bad guy down the block who was threatening folks, and busting into stores and taking shit that wasn't his. Several months before, because the backyard is hidden by trees, I agreed to let the officer park there so he could watch, and I figured it might keep my back door covered from bad guys and all.
Anyway, I pulled in around the squad car, and he and his partner got out and told us they had the bad guy surrounded, and they were waiting for him to come outside and they would finally have him. Which did happen ten minutes later. So as we were talking, he looked at the back of my Jeep, and then said: 'So you finally got legal, eh? Get a license, too?'
He's a decent fellow, and a good cop--I would hire him in a flash as a neighborhood private policeman, because he would do his job even better if he wasn't a government lackey. But his words made it clear that I was not a free man, but a legal ward of the state, and only legitimate because I had gone and paid for the privilege of being told what to do.
Yes, they watch, and they know. America. 2002. Wunnerful. Kudos to Mr. Orwell.
1 Disclaimer: The period without insurance mentioned above was not a year, but of very short duration. However, as one astute reader pointed out in personal correspondence, even that short duration was not merely a risk I took for myself, but for potential serious risks to others. Anything could have happened in that period. In no way do I mean to discourage liability insurance, that puts innocent third parties at risk, and would be completely at odds with the understanding that with freedom comes responsibility. My apologies on that count, and my thanks to the reader.