Creeping Totalitarianism

Seems one day, a few years ago, I was driving to a client location and got pulled over by an officer of the LAW. As in THE LAW. THE CONSTANTLY GROWING, BREEDING, CONSUMING, LAW. 40,000 new laws added to the blob this year alone.

I hit voice record on the iPhone, and assumed the cooperative black driver position. CBDP means both hands locked on the steering wheel in plain sight, 10:00 and 02:00 so the officer knows you are not holding a weapon.

Anyway, the officer says, “Do you know why I pulled you over?” I thought about it and I honestly did not know. So I said, “No idea.” I work with a lot of lawyers and I’ve been told more than once that even if you know fully well why you were puled over the answer to that question should be “No idea,” and you should never volunteer additional information. Simply answer any question, truthfully, and to the point.

The officer said, “Your tags are expired. I need to see your driver’s license and proof of insurance.”

This of course sounded, in my mind, like a Nazi soldier, speaking English with a German accent, asking me to present my papers and proof that I wasn’t a Jew. Can’t help it. Anti-authoritarianism is definitely in my genome.

I couldn’t find my proof of insurance. I looked everywhere including glove compartments, trunk, couldn’t find it. I knew I had it because I’d put the papers, with the new tags together in the black pouch that came with the Mini.

The officer was able to look up, via my driver’s license, vehicle license and ID the fact that I did indeed have insurance, and that I had paid my registration. He had all the data right there, but proceeded to intrude, disturb, and interrupt my existence because, it’s THE LAW.

He asked me to step out of the vehicle. Now this is never something you want to hear. I complied though I decided that I would not be taken alive.

The officer wrote me a ticket, and I continued on to my client location, doing that thing I do when extremely angry, which is pretend that which makes me angry does not exist. The officer, the ticket, and the insurance papers which I found 5 minutes after the officer had gone, in a net on the back of the passenger seat, no longer existed in my reality.

The problem with this is that I assumed I would be notified as to the cost of the ticket via snail mail as was always the case before. Only it didn’t work that way with this ticket. Apparently I was supposed to report to the local branch of the SS and provide proof of insurance.

A few months later I was notified that I owed the state, county, or city, some governing body, $2000. Thank god for THE LAW.

To this day I’ve never surrendered that $2000. Might be $20,000 by now, who knows.

Thinking about it the phrase “Creeping Totalitarianism” popped into my head, and I thought, “Ohhh… that’s good. That expresses my issue with a certain political faction in this country quite well actually.” Creeping Totalitarianism. Little bit by little bit there are laws that don’t really protect you, but restrict you, confine you, control you. Laws like the stupid one that now makes it a crime punishable by a $1000 fine if you throw a frisbee or a football on a beach in Los Angeles county.

I thought that I should immediately do something with the phrase, and I Googled it to see if it had been used. Of course it had. It was too good.

What does all of this have to do with technology? Nothing really. I just needed to get it out of my head and get back to work, though I think it will serve as a segue into my coming discussions on Congressional intervention with the Internet, and proposed laws to make it completely illegal to use a mobile phone in your car, including hands free devices.

In the meantime. OBEY THE LAW. Get that Frisbee licensed ASAP.

“…There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws…” – AYN RAND

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