By David Tulis
I am driving from my house into Hixson. Furtively I glance left, I glance right. Afraid to be seen, I am hauling down the roadway in a car with an expired tag. That means the plate on the back of the vehicle says 15 on it rather than 16, this new year. It “expired” the last day of December.
My car, known in commerce as a motor vehicle, is a sort of state property, and as the man behind the wheel I am the operator, also a function in commerce.
I am out of compliance, and so as I steer south on Highway 153, I try to make sure that if I pull up to stoplights in front of the Wal-Mart or the dueling drugstores that no cop car is behind me. For if the officer is observant, he will enforce the rule against me, and flash his lights.
I have on the dashboard the sheaf of papers with proof of insurance, and the car’s registration papers that make it a motor vehicle subject to regulation. I’m ready to explain, ready to make good.
“I’m heading for the emissions testing facility right now,” I’d have said.
So I do. With time short before having to be in the office, I wait my turn at the emissions testing facility in Hixson next to the Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union. I’m in and out in about six minutes, the car checking out.
But I’m still not legal.
About lunchtime I head out again, this time to the county clerk’s office on Bonny Oaks to get the actual sticker to freshen that tag. It’s cost F$24 for years, a tax for the registering of the car as a motor vehicle as a quasi-state property whose use I am allowed in commerce so long as I comply with all the terms of agreement with the state.
It may be tiresome to point out. But I bring up the question of free markets vs. commerce with my gaze at that plate and its new 16 sticker tag.
The gospel brings about a free market, as Gary North so wonderfully explains in one of my favorite books, Moses & Pharaoh, which describes the economic conditions of the Israelite slavery and opens many perspectives connecting the holy scriptures to prosperity and free market capitalism. A free market is one thing, but commerce under the control of the modern administrative is another.
Commerce is pernicious when it is seized by the state, giving us what we have today in Tennessee and every other corporate state: Commercial government.
Commercial government exists in Tennessee when the executive branch uses its agencies of execution to invade the free market, always upon the basis of a statute passed by the general assembly, or upon the presumption of such a law.
Today in Lawrenceburg, Tenn., Arthur Jay Hirsch faces sentencing for ill-begotten convictions on four criminal counts by a jury of his peers. He had been railroaded into a daylong trial in a case where the state was not required to prove jurisdiction and in which the judge, Stella Hargrove, callously and unethically disregarded all reasonable motions for redress in the case.
His prosecution tells of the lawless yet perfectionistic claims of the state. It pretends to have had its peace and dignity overturned by the exercise of his constitutional rights. It pretends he was traveling in commerce in his red truck, but he wasn’t. It pretends he violated the law by having no driver license, having no compulsory insurance, having no tag. None of these are crimes for one under the constitution, nor even under the statute. They are civil violations of contract at best in equity; they are not crimes. But he was tried Dec. 22, and a jury of 12 convicted him largely on matters of law, not of fact. But here, too, conviction under law was entirely in error — and Mr. Hirsch plans to appeal.
A statement at sentencing today is important for what it tells us about commercial government and its quiet and continuous assault on constitutional government and liberties. Please consider printing out this letter, stapling it in the upper lefthand corner, and taking the time to read what he says.
Mr. Hirsch is part of God’s providence for the arguments I make; he is the one to testify about the nature of God’s grant of liberty, our duty to exercise it, and the chastening needed of the state’s complicit branches of government, starting with the executive branch headed today by Gov. Bill Haslam.
Give up our rights — we do it as custom
We are not free in Tennessee because we’ve had too few Jay Hirsch’s. We are not able to exercise free market liberties because too few people have been jealous of the free market, and have instead opted for the easy thing: To be in commerce, under the state’s supervision.
We do it in the exercise of the crucial right of property in self-propulsion, movement or locomotion.
We do it in the exercise of our right to marry. We no longer marry with the consent of parents, but with the permission of the state. We are not jealous of local economy and free markets nor our God-given liberties. If we were, we’d be shocked at any suggestion that to exercise a God-given UNALIENABLE right that we have to ask permission.
Does the Times Free Press submit its daily news and feature budget to a state media safety supervisor before hitting the newsracks and driveway redboxes in delivery? No. It publishes freely; it speaks freely.
— David Tulis hosts a talk show weekdays in Chattanooga from 9 to 11 a.m. on 1240 AM Hot News Talk Radio, covering local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond. Support this site and his radio station in Chattanooga, on your smartphone via the TuneIn radio app or at Hotnewstalkradio.com. Back David by noisily patronizing his advertisers. Encourage the free press by having him air your commercials. Also, “buy me a coffee at the tip jar.”