23 June 2009

One for the Road

The rights of citizens are not taken away by governments in one fell swoop. Instead, they are chipped away over time, rationalized as being for the common good and deftly propogandized to sell to the populace. When done correctly, the citizens of a nation should awake one morning to find that their individual liberties, granted not by the state or deity but by nature, have been marginalized, reduced and eliminated. One such assault on our rights as free citizens has been the use of DUI checkpoints by local law enforcement accross the country. It has been rationalized as being for our own good (after all, what idiot could support drunk drivers ?), propgandized by organizations such as MADD received the stamp of approval of the US Supreme Court despite its blatant violation of the 4th Amendment. (If you want the details you can research Michigan Dept. of State Police v. Sitz, 496 U.S. 444 here (1990.))

Put aside the constitutional arguments for a moment. Ask yourself why we supposedly free Americans accept the fact that we can be stopped at a checkpoint, interrogated by the police as to where we have been and what we are doing ? Is this East Germany in the 1970's ? No, we have passively accepted the will of the state, not even with the test of the ballot, to stop us as we go about our legal, personal business. Now that the state has taken this right, it's not going to give it back. In fact, the state will use this entry to further encroach upon our rights as free beings. If you live in Florida, for example, you may even be required to give blood at a checkpoint.

Despite research showing that they are ineffective and cost prohibitive when compared to traditional policing, the DUI checkpoint has now become commonplace in the majority of U.S. states including Pennsylvania. The federal government supports this charade by granting tens of millions of dollars to local law enforcement to pay overtime to their officers and to buy new equipment to perform this heinous task. If you've ever seen your local law enforcement sporting a new trailer or warning lights for DUI enforcement, for example, it's a good bet that it was paid for with your fellow citizens tax dollars. Money too is the prime mover of Mother's Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) an organization with a multi-million dollar budget that supports DUI checkpoints and vilifies any politician brave enough to stand up and complain.

Should driving drunk be a crime ? Yes, of course it should be. Drunk driving endangers all citizens. The necessity of prohibiting drunk driving, however, cannot justify the routine impedance of free citizens going about their business whether in the day or night. It is time for all citizens to demand that this inefficient and expensive fascist attack on our rights be ended.

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