Well, today is my birthday as well as the day that my driver’s license expires. I have to say it feels quite liberating to soon be exercising my liberty without permission. In taking Gandhi’s advice I decided to be open about my disobedience. Gandhi says that civil disobedience should never be something that is kept secret or hidden from the authorities. I want the world to know that my conscience is clean and that if any crime gets committed it will have been the state who holds the guilt.
Last week I wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper explaining my actions. My mother also forwarded the letter to many of her friends. Soon thereafter she received several emails warning her that she should discourage me from civil disobedience. She was warned that young men get raped and beaten in jail. Another noted that if I were to get into an accident that I would most likely be the one found guilty simply for lacking permission to drive in the first place. Secondly, if the accident were bad I could potentially spend years in prison. Others, including many commenters online figured I hadn’t fully thought this through.
Rest assured, I’ve thought all of this through. I’ve spent the last eight or so months considering all of this. I am well aware of the violence I am facing and the difficulties in life that accompany not having permission to drive.
I am thankful that people close to me have warned me against my actions. It means they care and what’s more it means they are thinking. But I cannot help to notice that in all of the warnings I received, there was never a moral argument against it. Nobody defended the current government monopoly of transportation or licensure in general. Every argument made to dissuade me was an argument of fear. Essentially, I was told I should continue obeying an immoral, dangerous, and inefficient system because of the repercussions I will face if I do not.
Perhaps it is my faith in God, or the knowledge that millions of men and women throughout the history of the world have risked everything for a little more freedom, that prevents me from kowtowing to a system I no longer consider legitimate. Whatever force that may be motivating me, I pray I have the strength and endurance to persevere through the coming storm that is facing me and the world in general.
Here is the online version of the letter to the editor published in the Auburn Journal: A License To Disobey Gov.