[I have been giving time to digesting Tennessee Code Annotated Title 55, covering “motor and other vehicles.” It seems to pose no threat to Hispanics and immigrants in Tennessee who use the road without the privilege of a driver’s license. The state’s driver license scheme appears voluntary, standing apart from any user of the road until he enters that system by a voluntary application. If I am right, Hispanic residents of Chattanooga who don’t have driver licenses are freer of any of us who do, because they are exercising a right to travel by car whereas everyone else exercises a state grant and privilege. John Ballinger, a man who has litigated the driver’s license in Tennessee, makes a distinction as to the nature of the governmental privilege of a driver’s license. He places it in an area of governmental action and policy that is BEYOND that of privilege such as that enjoyed by hair dressers, dietitians and engineers. These professions have privileges for which they are held to account by the state. The driver’s license, he says, is a government privilege. — DJT]
By John Ballinger
The article,“The Orphaned Right: The Right to Travel by Automobile, 1890-1950,” a fairly good history of the evolution of the driver’s license. The fact that there were millions of autos of every description and individuals operating them cried out for a regulatory scheme.
It is said driving a motor vehicle is a privilege granted by the state, and that no one had a right to use a car on the road because of the state’s concern for public safety. Despite state claims, the driver’s license system is outside the rights-privilege framework in American law. Both right and privilege come under the protection of constitutional law. Just because government bureaucrats make a big distinction between right and privilege does not make it so. Privileges are not created by the whims of man any more than man’s God-given rights are.
The modern day driver’s license is not based on a scheme of right or privilege. It is based on a scheme known as a “government license/privilege.” I would not propose this distinction if I had not studied, read and researched it in the Knoxville law library for 20-plus years. A privilege comes under the laws of due process — the same as rights.
In contrast, a government license is a scheme whereby the government gets your consent to allow it to do something it has no law or authority to do. With your consent government needs no law. It operates under the theory — the legal fiction — that you can’t be harmed by your own consent. The scheme operates for the benefit and convenience of the state and its system. If drivers and autos were regulated under genuine rights/privileges due process of law, the court system would be so clogged with cases it would never be able to see the light of day.
Today the way people challenge the driver’s license issue is so far out of bounds it is like pissing into the wind. There is only one way to handle this problem of criminal prosecution. Don’t consent to the scheme. What happened to the laws during Prohibition in the 1920s? People simply refused to go along with that law. They got their booze back.
You want your rights? Don’t consent to a scheme that relieves you of your rights. Say no at the door; don’t go in. Challenging the driver’s license in the government’s court system, especially when most people believe the driver’s license is compulsory, will never result in a decision unfavorable to the government.
If the rights I have as a human being are giving to me by God, would it be a sin if I swapped those rights for the will and whims of man? I don’t trade my God-given rights for any reason.
The driver’s license has become a convoluted scheme. The only purpose it has is to replace God’s will for the whim and godless will of man. Like I say, the government license/privilege is not a privilege based on due process of law. The scheme deleting your right to travel is based on your consent. Of your own volition you go to the designated location at the Department of Safety and Homeland Security and made an application to get the government license.
John Ballinger is a carpenter.