Thursday, January 12, 2012

Government Property Rights

Another case of government property rights trumping the First Amendment:

"We try to lead a simple, plain life," Gingerich said from his workshop as blue and navy shirts and pants fluttered on a clothesline outside. "Putting that orange triangle on the back of our buggy would not leave our buggies plain anymore."

He and seven other Amish men were sent to jail in September for a few days for refusing to pay fines related to vehicle sign violations. A ninth Amish man avoided jail time when a local resident paid his fine. At least two other Kentucky counties, Grayson and Logan, have recently summoned men into court for driving unmarked buggies. A court date on Thursday could land more in jail.

A group of Swartzentruber Amish who recently met with an Associated Press reporter at Gingerich's farm fear they would be treated as outcasts by other Swartzentruber communities around the country if they use the safety triangles.

This is where a man’s freedom of religion is thrown out the door: when it interferes with the interests of the government overlords.  You see, part of the Amish man’s religion involves living a low-key lifestyle but the government requires something else when he is operating his buggy on government-owned roads.

Because he probably does not pay gasoline taxes and does not vote, the government feels free to pick on him.  OK, maybe that is unfair and the government officials probably believe in the righteousness of their task, but at the end of the day, it all just comes down to property and who owns it.

This is why property rights are so vitally important and when you allow the government to own and manage property, you get all sorts of justifications for tyrannical acts of government.  Remember, if the government provides a service, suddenly that service will become a privilege and not a right.  We should be free to move about the country as we see fit, but because the government owns the roads, it sees fit to take away our rights for the flimsiest of excuses.  From drunk driving checkpoints to TSA checkpoints, rest assured that your rights always end on government land.