By: T F Stern
T F Stern’s Rantings
The Declaration of Independence offers a starting point, a glimpse of liberty and all its transient meanings. Our basic structure of government is based on the acceptance; change that, demands the acceptance of a separation between natural rights of individuals and powers granted to their government.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed…”
If we are to accept the premise that rights exist outside of and prior to the formation of government, whether they be “natural” or of God, then the origin of an individual’s rights are of no consequence for the purpose of this exercise. It is not my purpose to proselytize anyone into a belief in God, a Supreme Being or religion in general; however, such is not required to accept the premise that individual rights exist and have existed without government.
Governments are, in fact, created to protect individual rights; not the other way around. You don’t have to take my word for it. Others have stated this premise as captured in Ezra Taft Benson’s talk, The Proper Role of Government.
“It is generally agreed that the most important single function of government is to secure the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. But, what are those right(s)? And what is their source? Until these questions are answered there is little likelihood that we can correctly determine how government can best secure them.”
Thomas Paine, back in the days of the American Revolution, explained that:
“Rights are not gifts from one man to another, nor from one class of men to another… It is impossible to discover any origin of rights otherwise than in the origin of man; it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.” (P.P.N.S., p. 134)
The great Thomas Jefferson asked:
“Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath?” (Works 8:404; P.P.N.S., p.141)
You might wonder where this is going; I’m about to tell you. The mailman left this month’s copy of Locked-In, a publication of the Greater Houston Locksmith Association (GHLA), of which I’m a member. There was an article, Report from January 5, 2011 TDPS-PSB Board Meeting, by Bonnie Brown Morse. (You might recall Bonnie Brown Morse as the instructor of a State mandated Ethics class I attended and then wrote about in June of 2006). Items listed went on to mention several changes in the bureaucracy which governs the security industry, and in turn, locksmiths.
Stop right there! It is important to understand the purpose of the “security industry, and in turn locksmiths.” This industry works in harmony with our founding document, The Declaration of Independence.
“…That to secure these rights…”
What does that mean; after all it’s important enough to have been included from the get go among a people desiring to protect their God-given right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (property with all its many variations). I find it appealing in a most satisfactory way to be involved in securing the rights of other individuals by virtue of my acquired abilities.
The reason folks put locks on things is to protect against those who would deprive them of those properties. You’ll find locks on most anything you can imagine; houses, cars, refrigerators or foot lockers. In this age of information there are electronic “locks” to prevent unauthorized access to computers and digital files. In antiquity, locks were used to secure chastity; perhaps more than their hearts were broken.
In any case, an industry was established to “secure” rightful owners/users their property. Tradesmen or professionals installed gadgets or were called to restore their use in the event the previously installed gadget no longer functioned properly or needed to be reset for the rightful owner of his/her property. (This is covered in my yet to be written book, This is a Lock – This is a Key).
Getting back to the GHLA report and the proceedings of the Texas Department of Public Safety – Private Security Bureau (TDPS-PSB), which used to be simply the DPS-PSB; another name change was instituted. If I got this down properly, the PSB is now to be called the RSD, Regulatory Services Division and includes staff for Licensing & Registration along with Compliance & Enforcement sections. (If this were the television show Dragnet, “…only the names were changed to protect the innocent”).
But that isn’t what started this mountain of words; there’s a paragraph dedicated to Amendment 35.311 “Exemptions,” which passed.
“(This change allows employees of repossession agents to provide a number of locksmith services without TDPS-security oversight.) ref 1702.324 (b)(3).”
In plain English, some folks can do exactly what I do without being forced to apply for a locksmith license, take mandatory continuing education courses or any of the Lilliputian bureaucratic impositions. It means locksmiths are not equal citizens; but have been demoted to subjects of the state by virtue of their named trade or profession. What was it Thomas Paine said?
“…it consequently follows that rights appertain to man in right of his existence, and must therefore be equal to every man.”
Some are more equal than others in a corrupted government; isn’t that how it works? The rightful owner of property is not limited to which tradesman restores his/her property, either a licensed locksmith or an unlicensed repossession agency. Why is that if they both perform the same level of skill?
I’m not arguing in favor of having TDPS license repossession agents; not at all and in fact, just the opposite. I’m pointing out the singularly repugnant situation of having an arm of government impose unrighteous dominion over an entire industry.
Again, let’s get back to our founding principles:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
If we accept the premise that individuals have the right to the pursuit of Happiness, which includes the concept of private property, then it must also be established that individuals have the right to adequately protect or secure that property.
This principle was clearly explained by Bastiat:
“Each of us has a natural right – from God – to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but and extension of our faculties?” (The Law, p.6)
To argue against this premise is foolish unless we are to toss our entire system of self rule down the toilet. The Texas Department of Public Safety has defined that recovery and restoration of property for a rightful owner by the use of locksmith skills is not a threat to the safety or well being of our citizens or it would not have been part of the “Exemption” listed in Amendment 35.311. By so defining this particular legal act as applied by one citizen, the TDPS, by their own admission, is guilty of denying free movement in our society to locksmiths who perform the same or similar tasks.
Now take that a step further, restoration of property includes all aspects of usage. Helping to secure items, restoration of lost or damaged keys and making an item useful for its rightful owner is by extension not a threat to the safety or well being of our citizenry. To believe so, violates yet another code in our Republican form of self governance; that each individual is innocent until such time he/she is proven guilty. Going about the functions of legal business should not require a State issued license except in extremely rare circumstances.
If you want to see how licensing of citizens has been taken to the extreme, just take a look at Communist Cuba where funeral flower arrangers, shoe shiners or even doll and toy repairs require a State issued license. There are a couple of things which stand out rather quickly; licenses generate income for the State while at the same time reducing citizens into subjects.
There are criminal and civil laws enough in place to accommodate society at such times when tradesmen or professionals fail to properly apply their skills. There is no rational justification for a secondary bureaucracy with license expenses, rules and regulations or added enforcement on top of these existing laws.
We have seen changes in our society which mock the very foundations of a free nation. Industries which at one time were open to anyone with the audacity to apply their skills have been turned into closed shops; licensed with regularly occurring fees that stagger the pocket book. Are we to believe licenses and fees actually protect an unsuspecting public or is there a more sinister undercurrent?
There are several versions of the well-known statement attributed to the German anti-Nazi activist, Pastor Martin Niemöller; most of us are familiar to some extent with this one:
In Germany they first came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me — and by that time no one was left to speak up.
I’ve been shouting into the four winds about the injustice of licensing the locksmith industry for quite some time. The usurpation of power by government never intended by our founders applies equally to other trades and professions. I’ve written a mountain of words to stir you into action; more government isn’t the answer, it’s part of the problem. Stand with me at a time when individual liberties and our Constitution are hanging by a thread.
This article has been cross-posted to The Moral Liberal, a publication whose banner reads, “Defending The Judeo-Christian Ethic, Limited Government & The American Constitution.”