Can I See Your License?

Can I See Your License?

By Patrick F. Cannon

If you live in Illinois, or any other state for that matter, you are required by law to have a driver’s license if you want to legally operate a motor vehicle on public roads. That doesn’t mean you can’t drive without one. It’s certainly possible to learn how to drive and decide not to bother learning the Rules of the Road and taking the driver’s test required to get one. And if you’re very careful and very lucky, you might get away with it. But what if you get in an accident and the cop asks for your license? Or you run a stop sign? The fact is that most people get a driver’s license without considering whether or not it’s an infringement on their freedom.

            And it’s amazing how many licenses are required to make the world work (and fill government coffers). Now, you may live in a perfectly nice but nondescript house. You imagine it was just one of many similar houses in your subdivision, but if you went down to the village, town or city hall and looked up the original building permit, you would find that it likely lists the architect. Why? Simply because the law stipulates that a licensed architect sign the plans. Even if your carpenter cousin Joe – talented though he may be – designs your house, the permit won’t be approved until a licensed architect signs off on his plans.

For more complicated buildings, a licensed structural engineer may also be asked to sign off. Then, if the building falls down – and this occasionally happens – the authorities know where and who to investigate. I don’t recall off hand it happening in this country, but elsewhere architects and engineers have gone to jail or even been executed for their failures.

When you go to see your physician, you can ask to see his or her license, since they must have one to practice medicine. If they have been granted one, it means they have – at a minimum – graduated from an accredited medical school, served internships and residencies, and passed required exams. This doesn’t guarantee that they will be brilliant or have a pleasing bedside manner, but it does suggest at least a basic competence. If you practice medicine without a license, you’ll almost certainly end up in jail.

While lawyers don’t have to have the same kind of competence, they do at least have to graduate from law school and pass the bar exam. It’s hard to believe, but even the knuckleheads who leer at us from highway billboards are licensed to practice law. You also need a license to sell booze or weed, or start any business. The rest of the list is long, and includes acupuncturists, barbers, funeral directors, auctioneers, nail technicians, public accountants and pawnbrokers, and – well, you get the idea. Like the driver’s license, you could try to do these jobs without a license, but why take the chance?

The state also mandates vaccination against specific diseases for school children (at all levels) and those who teach and otherwise interact with them. This is yet another example of the state limiting people’s freedom to do whatever they want in favor of a greater public good. As a result, scourges like smallpox, measles and polio are no longer annual concerns for parents. And when finally approved for younger children, the state will be within its rights to mandate Covid-19 vaccines as well. Other institutions and corporations are also within their rights to mandate vaccination as a condition of employment, as the courts have endlessly upheld.

(Religious exemptions are, of course, possible. But I find it interesting how many people have suddenly found the Lord.)

Yet, there are still people who say forcing them to get vaccinated is an unamerican attack on their personal freedom. Apparently, the concept of the greater good doesn’t apply to them. If their refusal to accept science and common sense affected only them, it would be harmless. But it doesn’t. It has killed people, including themselves. I recently heard a doctor tell of a patient who denied he had Covid, despite being gravely ill. As a result, he refused treatment. He died with his illusions intact.

Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon  

5 thoughts on “Can I See Your License?

  1. I have mixed thoughts on the question of Covid vaccinations.

    My sleeve was rolled up when the vaccines were made available for my age group, and I was in line when boosters were authorized, but I’d be less than candid if I said I got vaccinated for the public good. It was honestly to reduce my own personal risk of serious illness. If it happened to help my neighbor (doubtful), all the better.

    I don’t understand people who decline the shot. Why would they want to run the odds? Being on a ventilator in the ICU is far worse than having a sore arm for a day. But I suppose that is their prerogative.

    For people in younger age groups who are otherwise in good fettle, the risk from Covid infections is very, very small. Looking at current statistics here in the great Hoosier state, the fatality rate among those under the age of 40 is 1.2%. For people under 30, it’s a meager 0.3%. Very low risk for that age group, even as they represent about 52% of Covid cases in the state.

    I know a few who contracted the virus, were mildly ill for a couple of days, quarantined, and then recovered. My understanding is they now have immunity that is many times stronger than what the vaccine provides. Do they need a shot?

    Of course there are the anti-vaxxers, obstinate characters who claim the virus is a hoax spawned by the government and pharmaceutical companies greedy for power and wealth. You can spot them easily when they appear in public by their tinfoil hats.

    There are also demographic groups who have a history of distrust toward doctors and government officials. Here, education may be a remedy.

    My feeling is medical decisions, including vaccinations, are a matter between a person and his physician. Dr. Fauci is a doctor with an M.D. from Cornell so he is qualified to dispense medical advice. But he’s not my doctor. He doesn’t know my medical history. The health agencies of the US government are likewise qualified to give general advice. However, they aren’t authorized by law to require medical treatments, as via mandates.

    Private businesses like airlines, hospitals, school districts, sports organizations and so forth are certainly within their rights to require their employees to be vaccinated if they determine it will be in the best interests of their respective operations. Ditto the military. They may be sincerely concerned about the welfare of their employees or they just may want to have a steady and reliable workforce. And they need to weigh the chances their employees may quit if they are forced to take the shot.

    As for students below the age of majority, my feeling is the schools need to work with the parents and their doctors to do what’s best. I know universities, like the local one here, required all students to be vaccinated, were sued and won the case in court. But their mandate may have been motivated more by financial than humanitarian considerations, as they lost millions in revenue last year when students opted to stay home.

    As for the common good, we all want to see this pestilence gone. The experts advise us, however, that the virus will be endemic and remain with us, even if at low incidences of infection. Additionally, while the data is sketchy, it suggests that vaccinated people can transmit the bug possibly as readily as the unvaccinated can. If that’s true, then what difference would it make if your neighbor refuses the shot? Wouldn’t he be the one bearing the risk?

    And as for overburdened hospitals, isn’t it their job, indeed their vocation, to care for the ill? Can they really tell patients, “We won’t treat you. It’s you’re own damn fault you got sick!”?

    So there are questions, and the information provided by the government and the health agencies has been inconsistent, tentative and sometimes contradictory. Maybe we should revoke their license!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Agree that vaccinated people are better off. But 35-40% of the population don’t seem to see it that way. Biden needs to do a better job at communicating that benefit, other than declaring blustery mandates and saying he’s losing his patience (his marbles, maybe).

        Liked by 1 person

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