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