A Conversation at the CourthouseSubmitted by HuskerSkier on Mon, 07/02/2012 - 18:01
I recently had the pleasure of an experience in the u.s. "justice" system. While I was at the court house settling up, I had the following conversation with the lady that handles the payment plans. Obviously this isn't word for word since recording devices aren't allowed in the building. I am able to elaborate my points a little more below, but I wasn't just mumbling, I wish I could just play a recording because there were some pretty humorous parts that I'm sure I'll miss. Anyway:
[I hand her my paper work]
HER: "Are you sure you can't pay this, it's not very much."
ME:" Are you judging me??? because the guy in the costume down the hall already did that."
HER: "No, no, it's just not very much, and there is a $25 fee to set up the payment plan."
ME: "Another fee??? The problem is I don't have the money for these fines, how is charging me more going to help?"
HER: "I guess it just gives you more time to get the money. What is your social security #?"
ME: "I don't know. I'm not going to do this."
HER: [handing back my papers] "OK, you can settle up with the county clerk."
I begrudgingly leave planning on picking up 1155 dimes and coming back and spilling them on their floor. Yes, my fine was $115 and I could pay it, I just felt like causing some work. I figured if they are going to get my money I might as well make them work a little for it. And old pennies and nickles have too much actual value to give to them.
On my way to the bank I start to second guess my plan. It would only result in them being pissed, and it's doubtful it would make me feel that much better. So instead I drive to the public library, log on to the DP, and print a couple copies of this post - The Math of your Slavery. Then I return to the court house and we resume our conversation.
[we make eye contact]
ME: "You happy to see me?"
HER: [not very convincingly] "Yes of course."
ME: "Listen, I apologize if I came off as rude earlier, I was frustrated and I realize that none of this is your fault. I left here planning on bringing back a bunch of change to make you count, but that wouldn't have accomplished anything positive, so instead of getting change, I am going to show you why I was frustrated."
ME: "The problem is that most people don't understand how much money they are forced to pay the government, but when you see the actual numbers you realize there is a huge disconnect between what you sacrifice, and the services you get"
Then I explain that the reason I was frustrated is that I had already payed a fee to get my car re-registered, then the judge tells me I have to pay more for the ticket, then she tells me I have to pay another fee, and that is all on top of this - and I walk her through the math of her slavery (and I left her some copies to pass around). She was impressed, and didn't really know what to say, but she talked anyway:
HER: "So, you are against government?"
ME: "No, I am against the initiation of the use of force. Everyone has the right to use force to defend themselves and their property. You have the right to seek help in defending yourself, that is why we have police, to help bring justice for those who have been aggressed against. But when you use the Police to extract payments from someone who hasn't infringed on anothers rights, that is theft.
HER: "Well you don't have to comply, you have a choice"
ME: "The choice is comply or they will kill you, how is that a choice?"
HER: "What??? they won't kill you"
ME: "If I don't comply, what happens? Say I just didn't show up today, they would issue a bench warrant for my arrest right? Then, if they come to arrest me, or I get stopped again what happens? What happens when I refuse to comply with the officer trying to arrest me?"
HER: "Yeah, that is an interesting way to look at it. I guess everyone has the right to their own opinion."
ME: "I don't think it's my opinion as much as it's reality. You can justify it however you want, and I don't doubt that their are good intentions behind their actions, but by definition the act is theft and theft is immoral. In order to accept it's use, you either don't respect some people enough to not steal from them, or you somehow believe that certain people have divine permission. I don't accept either one, and I think it's an odd way to treat other people."
Another "customer" approached, so we bid each other a good day moved on. Hopefully it sparked something, I could tell some of it missed by the blank look on her face. I think the important thing is she left with a good impression of someone from the liberty movement. Through it, she thanked me a couple times for come back and apologizing and explaining myself. She even ran my check over to the county clerk herself so I "wouldn't have to bother with it". At the very least it was much more productive than throwing change at them :)