Rights Versus Privileges (The Freedom Test)

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those
who falsely believe they are free.”  ~ Goethe

I challenge all freedom-loving Americans to take a good look at the facts concerning their relationship with government and decide for themselves if they are truly free or not.

What does it mean to be free?  How do you know if you’re free?

Most of us find the concept of slavery abhorrent. But what if there was a group of people living in the land of the free who actually believe they are free but live like slaves?  Sounds crazy right?  Why would anyone do that if they didn’t have to?  When I say slaves, I mean it in the sense that someone else has a right to the fruits of your labor and that a slave is forced to comply with the will of his or her master.

We are born free.  It’s our nature to be free.  But as we get older we learn to become obedient to authority.

My childhood was no exception.  My dad laid down the law.  He wore a badge and carried a gun and we watched Gunsmoke every Monday night.  When I disobeyed I got punished.  I made the best of it and got away with as much as I could; but I resented having to follow his rules. I yearned to be big enough and old enough to be my own man and live by my own rules.  To live free.

I thought I was living free until I hit 40, when my world was turned upside down. You can imagine my shock and disgust to find out that I had been lied to and misled by the government.  Like most people, I was raised to believe that we’re the “good guys” and the politicians and other high-ranking government people really care about us.

Once the blinders came off, I started looking at all the areas of my life where I unwittingly screwed myself over.  Let’s look at these areas and you can decide how they affect your life today.  We’ll look at seven basic areas, with a short conclusion/rationale for each one.

Do you live more like a free man or a slave?

By virtue of being a natural-born man or woman, we are imbued with natural rights. They’re our birthright.  We can bargain away our rights, but they can’t be taken away from us against our will (consent).  These natural rights are not subject to negotiation, and they are not meant to be regulated or taxed by the government.  This means for example that you don’t have to apply to the government for permission (license) to exercise and enjoy these rights.

For example, we have the natural rights to live, work, travel, marry, have children, defend ourselves, enter contracts, and many more.  Any of these natural rights which are not specifically enumerated in the Constitution are provided for and covered under the ninth amendment.

As it turns out, the government would have most of us believe that we are required to apply for a license to do most of the things I wrote in the last paragraph.  How can this be?  Who is right?

Suppose I say the law does not require you to apply for a drivers license (or a social security card, or a permit to carry a gun, or a marriage certificate, etc).  Most likely you’d think I was mistaken (or crazy).  If you go down to the DMV (or other appropriate office) and ask the people there, they will insist that the law requires you to apply for these various licenses and permits.  They’ll believe they are right and that they know what they’re talking about (although it’s highly doubtful any of them have read the law).  If you don’t know the law yourself, they’ll most likely convince you that they are correct.

I’ve since learned that when I’m right and I know they are wrong, I ask them if they’d be willing to put their position down in writing and swear to it under the penalty of perjury.  All of the sudden they’re not so sure anymore.  One great example of this is just about anyone who insists that you have to fill out a W-4 or a W-9 (as if it were required by law—and as if the company asking for it were required to do so, which they are not in most cases, perhaps 99%).

If you’re like me, it probably never occurred to you to ask if the law requires you to get a drivers license.  It’s just something you do when you’re a teenager and then you just keep renewing it. Most of us actually looked forward to it and carried it proudly as a rite of passage.  People may give lots of reasons why it’s a good idea to get a drivers license, but isn’t it curious that now you can’t get a drivers license without a Social Security number?  Hmmm

Isn’t it further curious that you cannot open an account or membership just about anywhere without a “valid government-issued photo ID”?  This is particularly true at all banks, brokerage houses and financial institutions (under the guise of protecting us from terrorists, drug-dealers and money-launderers).

Drivers License:  Licensing was initially required for commercial applications and drivers-for-hire.  It didn’t apply to private people, traveling in their own private car, for personal use, minding their own business.

This has since been turned around to where people think of driving as a “privilege.”  In order to be granted this privilege, you must apply for it.

The simple act of applying for it is tantamount to telling the government that as far as you’re concerned you must be a person of a diminished capacity who needs a license to drive a car.  No one is holding a gun to your head right?

You are always presumed in the law to be acting in your own best interest.  So why would you apply for a license if you don’t need one?  You are also presumed to know and understand the law.

Every time you apply to the government for anything, you are entering into a legal and binding agreement with the government, ostensibly to be gaining a benefit of some sort (or why else would you do it).  If you don’t want any benefits from the government (like me) then you don’t need to fill out any applications.

If the government grants the privilege that you applied for, the government equally has the power to revoke or suspend that same privilege.

This is how we know the difference between a right and a privilege.  The government doesn’t grant rights, and they government can’t take them away from you.  You are born with them, and can exercise and enjoy them at will.

Even in the abstract, the government cannot grant a right to you unless you first give it the power to bestow that right—which means you first have to subjugate yourself to the authority of the government (and where does it say in the law that you have to do that?).  We may be Citizens, but that rests on the authority that each of us is Sovereign first and that we choose to be Citizens.

Marriage License:  Again, these provisions originally started for people of a diminished capacity (slaves) who needed consent (license) from their masters to marry.  As it stands today, if you have agreement and consent between the two people who wish to marry, then they are married.  Whether or not they want to have a public ceremony (wedding) and exchange vows in the presence of witnesses is entirely up to them (although it is a good idea).  They don’t need an official who is licensed by the state to preside over the ceremony.

And this married couple is not under any obligation to apply to any office of government for anything else regarding their marriage.  Matters of wills, estates, and insurance are handled privately.  One exception might be for matters of passports (but that’s a big can of worms of its own). Another exception might extend to matters like Social Security and Medicare (but those are not required programs).

You should note that when people apply to the state for a marriage license, then that state has an interest in the property of that marriage—including children. This is an example of how the state purports to get its authority to insist that you must put your children in their schools and other programs (immunizations, school lunches, D.A.R.E. and more), or risk having your children taken away from you.

Social Security Card:  Unless the law has been changed, there is no law which requires anyone to apply for a Social Security Card.  Nor is there any penalty for not applying for a card or not having a card.  This program started in the New Deal era, and it’s basically a big Ponzi scheme.  This program is doomed to fail at some point in the future; it’s only a matter of when.

Most Americans who have an honest job are told by their employers that they must have a Social Security Card and that they must fill out a Form W-4 if they want to be employed and get paid.  Just like the drivers license, most people don’t question this and just go along with it and do what they are told.  Regrettably, I did too for many years.  Usually, you’re just happy to get a job.

I hope you see the problem here.  If there is no law which requires you to apply for a Social Security Card, then how is it possible that an employer insists that you must have one in order to work there?  You may be correct in telling this would-be employer that you are not required to fill out or sign a W-4, but they will insist that if you don’t then you can’t work there.  Businesses have been sued over this very issue, and lost.

Thanks to the Patriot Act and the terrorism mania, the government has done an end-run around this problem.  They have instituted a “eligibility to work” policy, which of course requires the Social Security Card (if for nothing else than to get a drivers license/ID).

In effect, we no longer have a government which considers itself bound by the rule of law.  What we have in its place is a government that rules by executive orders and public policy.

The people you have contact with, say bankers, brokers, insurance people, medical people, title company people and so on will insist that they are required to follow their company’s policy—and they’d be right about that.  The end result is that your legal rights are violated and they’re not worried about being sued.  Essentially, they don’t care and they don’t want your business anyway if it’s going to cause them trouble. You must jump through all their hoops, or you don’t get what you want.

License Plates:  I don’t have the legislative history on this, but I can tell you the rationale behind this today.  It’s a series of cause and effect.  Most cars today are purchased with bank financing, with the car itself as the security against the loan. The bank needs assurance that no one else has a claim on that car (the security); and so they require a “Certificate of Title” issued by the “State of _____.”

The title certificate doesn’t prove that you own the car, it’s just evidence of insurance that a policy has been put in place for the protection of the lender.  The State of ____ is basically telling the lender that as far as they can tell, no one else has a claim to the car, and if they turn out to be mistaken about that, then their insurance will cover any potential loss.

As a condition of the policy, the State of ____ requires that the security must have a license plate attached to it, which requires that it can only be “operated” by a “person” who has a “drivers license.”  And they must wear their seat belts and carry full insurance and so on…

Going back to the first cause, financing, if you don’t have to borrow money to buy your car, then you don’t need the “Certificate of Title.”  What you need is a “Bill of Sale” which is sufficient evidence that you are the rightful owner. You can travel freely on the public roads without the requirement to have a license plate on your car. You are equally free from the purported requirement to have a drivers license (because you are not driving for hire).

We live in a time where almost all cars have a license plate attached to them and if would look terribly suspicious if yours doesn’t have one.  You’d really be asking for trouble if you drove your car down the road without a license plate or a drivers license.  You’d probably get your car impounded and maybe end up in jail (or shot on sight).

The cop would just be doing his or her job, but that doesn’t make it right.  That’s why we have courts.  Cops can and do make mistakes.  They may be doing the best they can to enforce the codes as they understand them; but they are not presumed to be lawyers or experts in the study of the law.  It would be terribly expensive to get your car back and go through the legal process.  So it seems to be the lesser of two evils to have your car licensed and registered with those nice people at the DMV (who work behind bullet-proof glass for some reason).

Just recognize whether you are traveling by right or by privilege.

And by the way there is no burden of proof for owning property.  The burden of proof is on anyone who disputes that you own your car.  So technically you don’t have to show any paperwork to a cop; but you should be mindful of what the cop feels is “reasonable” to investigate (especially since driving without a license plate is suspicious).

One work-around I’ve encountered for this issue is to record your bill of sale at the recorder’s office, and have a facsimile of a license plate made which shows where the recording took place along with the page and book number.  Mount it where the license plate goes.  That puts the ownership of your car into the public realm where anyone who wants to can dispute it; and it’s a good faith effort to deal with cops in the routine performance of their duties.

Gun Registration:  There is no law I am aware of that requires government registration of a privately owned gun.  That’s not to say that there aren’t laws; but rather the question is to whom do they apply and under what circumstances.  Please note that virtually all laws which restrict our rights and freedoms are intentionally misleading and/or hopelessly complex.

Concealed Carry Permit:  As far as I’m concerned we cannot be a free people without a well-regulated militia.  I consider it incumbent on American men to be well-armed and well-trained (and organized into the militia—if we had one).

That being said, I personally don’t rely on the second amendment as my right to keep and bear arms (to the extent that they are concealed—which they almost always are).  The ninth amendment works fine for me.  If I have a right to my life, then I have a right to defend my life, and that means to always have a loaded gun at the ready.  No exceptions.  Whether it is concealed or not, is beside the point and as the old saying goes I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.

As a divisive political issue, people can argue the second amendment back and forth till pigs fly, but I’m going to remain well-armed.  If mine or someone else’s  life is on the line, why should I care what a bunch of politicians or men in robes think?  My mentor, the late Irwin Schiff, used to joke that the definition of a judge is a lawyer who knew a governor.  If you could add up all the lawyers, judges, politicians, cops and prison inmates, we have more in the US than all the rest of the world combined (although we only make up about four percent of the world’s population).

Some people raise the question about burden of proof.  In other words, does the government have to prove that I am a person who would be required to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, or do I have the burden of proof to prove that I am not required to get a permit?  The burden of proof lies with he who alleges, not he who denies.  So I do not have this burden of proof.  I can carry a concealed weapon simply because I choose to do so.  I am exercising my natural rights and not harming anyone.

How do I know this is true?  I am a Sovereign.  There is no one on Earth who is in a position of authority over me.  If anyone claimed to be in that position, they’d have to prove it to me (and good luck with that).

If I didn’t feel the laws of the land recognize and provide for the choices I make about how I want to live my life, then I would leave.

Of course I am aware that most government jurisdictions have statutes and codes about guns, and that most cops and bureaucrats/officials would insist that their laws apply to me in the case of needing a permit. But again that doesn’t mean they are correct (noticing a trend?).

Many people are of the opinion that it’s a good idea to be “legal” and get a CCW permit even if the law does not require one–in case you have a run in with the police. I don’t think it would do much good to argue with such a person, but the problem I have with it is that you have to apply (see above) and usually you have to register at least one gun. If your gun is not already registered, then why would you go and report it to the government (for the benefit of those who want to have them taken away)?

This issue amply demonstrate that “obedience to government authority” mentality. If one chooses to not volunteer for all the government compliance BS, they are considered an outlaw or anarchist.  I’m not big into labels, but I know that’s what all the sheeple would think of me (and I don’t care).

Property Taxes:  Most people make themselves liable for the payment of property taxes simply because those choose to and agree to pay them (albeit unwittingly—meaning they don’t feel they have a choice).

Now, I am not the kind of person who is unreasonable or expects to get something for nothing.  However, I am against the idea that the government can effectively sell your house out from under you (for nonpayment of taxes) escort you off the premises by force and let someone else buy it and move in.

As Thomas Jefferson put it, “I have a right to nothing which another has a right to take away from me.”

The effect of the property tax is that the government will allow you to live in your home only as long as you agree to pay them hundreds or thousands of dollars every year, as well as force you to be in debt as a bondservant.  Oh, and force you to use debt instruments (Federal Reserve Notes) to pay the taxes.

In most cases you get something for your tax dollars: law and order, public buildings such as a courthouse or schools, a jail, public servants, civil works, parks, libraries, and many other fine things.  I’m in favor of that.  But as a matter of principle, I can’t agree to the proposition that the government can evict me off my land (and out of my house) for not paying taxes.  Matters of principle are set in stone.

This position is compounded by the fact that property taxes can be set at any level they feel they can get away with (which encourages massive waste and fraud).  Many local governments are already declaring bankruptcy as a result of their waste, corruption and poor planning.  Much of this is exacerbated by over- promising pensions to an aging population and runaway health care costs.  You can count on property taxes going up steeply in the coming years; further eroding your standard of living.

Income Taxes:  I saved one of the worst for last.  I’ve written a whole book on the subject, but the best argument I like to present goes as follows:

If you suppose that the government has the power to tax a portion of your income, then the only question remaining is how much?  Most people seem to think 15% to 28% is not unreasonable or out of line.

What if the government wanted to tax you at 75% or more?  It wouldn’t leave you with much to live on would it?  Most people balk and say the government would never do such a thing (although they have in the past).  Maybe they won’t anytime soon; however the matter of principle is who has the right to your earnings (what you trade your labor for).

If you have the right to 100% of your life, labor, and earnings, then the government cannot take a percentage of your earnings without your consent.  This is why the income tax (as it is generally understood and practiced) must be voluntary.  If it were mandatory it would violate your rights on many levels.

The effect of the current income tax is that you report (confess) to the government how much money you receive from all sources, and the government tells you how much of that they have determined you are allowed to keep.  In essence then, the government takes the position that they have the right to 100% of your income—and as long as you volunteer for it and don’t complain then they are correct by your forfeit.


We are social creatures and it is our nature to live together in a community.  In that spirit, most of us do our best to be reasonable, follow the rules, contribute our fair share, go along and get along.  All true.

But now we live in a day and age where we have runaway government that wants to regulate and tax every single facet of our lives—ultimately at the point of a gun and threat of being locked up in a cage.

It’s very clear to see what government is about, and it’s not going to change on its own accord.

The only change that is possible is in the minds and actions of we fellow Americans, to come together with the purpose to eliminate wasteful and corrupt government programs/departments as well as fire/prosecute all the people who have violated the public trust (either for personal gain or criminal negligence).

That change has to begin with each of us first!  Right or wrong, government does wield a lot of power and it’s dangerous to be right when the government is wrong. But government has most of that power because we give it to them—and we can just as readily not give it to them.

Take stock about how you live your life, and be brutally honest.  Do you live your life like a sovereign free man or woman?  Do you own your land?  Are you the king of your castle? Does government serve you, or do you serve your government?

I think most people wouldn’t consider driving without a drivers license, not wearing their seat belt/motorcycle helmet, carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, get married without a state license, build a house without a permit, comply with everyone under the sun who claims to be a withholding agent, keep their kids out of public school, refuse to have their children immunized, work at their jobs without allowing taxes to be withheld from their paychecks, tell the IRS they no longer want to volunteer to file an annual confession, and more.

Yet these very same people like to wave the flag and get misty-eyed when they talk about how proud they are to be an American and live in the land of the free.

As for me, I love this country.  I love the time and place I grew up in, and I love many things about our freedoms, our way of life, our culture, our language, our music and entertainment, our beauty, our fellow Americans, and so much more.  But this I love in spite of government gone bad, not because of government.  It’s not our government that makes us great, it’s our American heritage and indomitable spirit.

If you’d like to take action and learn more about the ideas expressed in this article, I invite you to get a copy of my book Freedom or Forfeit: The Fate of America.  I also welcome debate and invite comments/constructive criticism.

I don’t claim to have all the answers.  But I think it is incumbent on each us to do what’s right.  We can’t do that unless we know the truth about what’s right and wrong.  Sadly, most of the content that is put out by the government controlled mainstream media as well as the government itself has been meticulously  crafted to be false and misleading—and that makes it more difficult to get to the truth.  But we should still make our best effort.

I wanted to get to the truth for my own benefit, but also so that I could share it with other people.  To that end, I wanted the government to admit that I was right, for example finding out the truth about the income tax.  Alas, the government is not going to admit anything.  So we each have to be brave enough to stand for what we believe in and have the courage of our convictions. I don’t want to tangle with cops, jailors, lawyers, and judges; but I’m not going to roll over on my principles just because it’s easier to be one of the sheeple.

Thanks to new and better technologies, advances in computing power, and new ways of thinking, we have a very bright future indeed.  I am very optimistic about major advances in our standards of living, along with getting rid of systems and institutions that no longer serve us.  But please know that things are going to get worse before they get better and we’re in for some dark days ahead.  The people who are in power now are not going to give up that power without a fight.

There are many more thought-provoking quotes, legal maxims, and essays at my website which you can find under the Freedom Zone.  While you’re at it, I’d like to recommend my favorite book about income taxes; Income Tax, Shattering the Myths, by Dave Champion.  I reviewed his book here, and I recommend it for all concerned Americans who want to learn the truth about the income tax.  If you think you might be one of the sheeple, then this is your time to step up, take action, arm yourself with the truth, and do what’s right.

Thank you for your time and interest.