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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5816/tattletaling-on-the-highway/

Tattletaling on the Highway

October 27, 2006 by

I-565 is a splendid 8-laned, limited access highway we Huntsvillians enjoy due to the generosity of US taxpayers. We feel especially buoyant as we cruise this expressway since most of the cost was extracted from Kansas, California, Maine, etc. taxpayers. There’s nothing so sweet as stolen fruit. Well, it can be rationalized. You never know when some sharing Kansan may visit our fair town and enjoy the benefits of his tax money. Sounds fair to me. Besides the thrill of something for nothing, it’s an exhilerating fun ride because the billboards are unusually entertaining.

A local bank has a doozy. “We want to be your friend”. Big letters selling love and friendship as blatantly as a couple of suburban Salons I heard about in Vegas.

The bank wants to be my friend? That’s no way to make a living. Friends help friends for free. Will a teller come over and babysit my adorable Calico cat who has no account with them? Will they cut my grass when I’m stuck with gout? Will they listen to the account of my in-laws’ last visit when they burned out the light in the frig and stopped up the toilet.

Do we I-565 travellors project loneliness? I got enough friends. I don’t want a friendly bank – I want an efficient bank – I want a low interest on loans bank. I want a high interest on deposits bank. Since all this billboard bank offers is friendship, they must be highly deficient in those other three elements. Love is not a commodity in ranking banks. If I craved friendship, I’d charm that lascivious teller at window 3 and invite her to a luxurious meal and pour at least one bottle of Piper Heidsick down her lovely throat and see if she would be my friend. But that’s a service other than banking.

The next sign is not so funny. “Report Litterers” it says. And there’s a phone number. At least the bank had noble intentions. These guys want to put me in jail just because the window was open, thereby creating a suction that dumped Coke cans, napkins, and fast food wrappings on this highway that my out-of-state taxpaying friends gave me. (With pals from California – who’ll build me a highway – who needs a bank’s friendship?)

They want me to be an informant. How exciting – like the CIA. So why couldn’t I just muscle over in front of the perp (that’s a new police word, you know. It’s totally nonjudgemental. Not a criminal, but a “perpetrator”) and mash him into the side rail. “CITIZEN’S ARREST” I’d shout.

I called ‘em up and asked if I should do that. A horrified lady who had no sense of humor shouted, “NO, NO, just get the license number, location, and what they threw out”. (No, I didn’t reply “a small, diapered child”.)

The morality of the concept is shady. Informing on a fellow citizen for violation of a municipal code (not murder or theft or other bigtime sins). If I took it seriously, I’d report jaywalkers, too! Not to mention my Memphis friend, Herb, who hosts a Wednesday night Poker game. That’s illegal, you know, in Tennessee. Only the state can run a gambling operation – their lottery. Lenin would love the idea of citizens informing on each other. It was a concept that he and his Comminist pals fostered. We shouldn’t.


Michael October 27, 2006 at 2:14 pm

The purpose is because if it gets out of hand, we will be living in a trashy world. Have you ever been to a third-world country where this exact practice is undertaken everyday? Streets are littered with garbage like you wouldn’t believe. It’s not about tattletelling, it’s about respect for our country. Good article though, I enjoyed it.

ted roberts October 27, 2006 at 2:24 pm

Michael, I must admit that of all the campaigns of the past 20 years, the anti litter pitch has been most effective. Yeah and the landscape is more attractive. It’s just the pleading to snitch on our fellow citizens that turns me off. I wish they wouldn’t do that. But thanks for the comment, ted

Yancey Ward October 27, 2006 at 3:14 pm

And if one actually reports the littering, then what? Does one have to be available as a witness? Or is it the case that a ticket for littering is sent to the owner of the car, and the owner has no recourse for defending himself or confronting his accuser?

Kevin October 27, 2006 at 10:16 pm


In Washington State I was once reported for driving in the carpool lane without any passengers. They sent me a ticket, but I disputed it (I was in South Carolina at the time of the reported “offense”), and it was immediately dropped.

ted roberts October 28, 2006 at 10:06 am

Don, lila is beautiful but I’m too altruistic to deprive you of her company – just for money. Wouldn’t be right. Beside i think its a genuine Picasso and it would be deceptive of me to pay you a few thou – its worth a fortune, Otherwise I’d buy it in a Goya minute. ted

ted roberts October 28, 2006 at 10:09 am

Yancy, they send a letter warning the litterer. Somewhere around the 2nd offence they get serious, The lady on the phone was a bit vague but ultimately there’s a fine, The snitcher except in extreme cases doesn’t testify. ted

DavidB October 28, 2006 at 11:35 am

The reason they do that is because, with all the myriad laws they have created, it is getting too expensive for the state to enforce them all. Instead of reducing the paperwork though they are now conditioning the populace to do their work for them. They are already forcing many places to hire their own private security forces. Leviathan is collapsing on itself.

I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the future, they will start paying snitch rewards for not only the big crimes but the little ones as well. They may start paying for your camcorder or phonecam images. Maybe you’ll get a cut of the ticket. It could create a whole new commission law enforcement division. So now they not only tax you and give you very little back after your tax dollars go into the huge vaccuum but they want to shift the burden of doing the job our taxes are supposed to be paying them to do back onto the taxpayers. Guess what? This is yet another stealth tax increase!!

Maybe I shouldn’t say anything. I’m sure the government data computer is data mining the web for new ideas and this might get into their hands somehow.

And on a related issue that you might want to look into have you noticed how many more ghost cars the police are using these days? I work the night shift so maybe that’s why I’m noticing more but why do they need ghost cars?

I was thinking about this recently and think about this. Once upon a time you friendly law enforcement officer would be very easy to spot and a regular presence in the community. Why was this? Because he was a deterrent to unsavory characters. A warning for them to keep themsleves in check.

Nowadays though with more and more police officers in plain clothes and unmarked cars it’s clear the agenda is beginning to shift to get the people not into the justice system but the legal system. They want to catch people doing crimes. They no longer want to serve as a deterrent but as a dragnet. I suppose this is another way of weakening the populace. If they can get more and more people on the legal rolls that is more people who will fill the courts and pay court time for officers, lawyers and judges. And in regards to officers that sure is a lot easier than patrolling dark alleys in the middle of the night. Plus if people are busy paying off legal bills it will be much harder for them to compete with state workers in the market place so it will keep prices down for them.

Anyway, you might want to look into that for yet another topic

ted roberts October 28, 2006 at 12:33 pm

David, you have discovered a hidden truth re government that is rarely stated. Laws requires policemen. The more laws the bigger the army of enforcers. Long ago, at civic, state and federal levels, our multitudinous laws exceeded our ability to monitor, enforce, and prosecute potential lawbreakers. You can’t add a single new law without considering this requirement. If this continues, citizens arrest as ridiculed in Mayberry RFD, will be the norm. Thanks for the thought. ted

DavidB October 28, 2006 at 2:07 pm

I’ve known this for a while. One of the things that frustrates me most is that our ‘lawmakers’ feel the need to meet every few months to make new laws. How many times have they met to eliminate laws? There should at least be a balance there. They are as bad as the Biblical pharisees who spent their entire day dreaming up new regulations and interpretations to add to what God handed down. Go Figure!

I heard it stated that government has already created enough laws to make us all criminals just for going about our daily business. That does not surprise me. That makes for a very guilt ridden society. Everybody is walking around with one sign or another pointing the finger and proclaiming, “Guilty!”

I wonder how that is playing out on our subconscious minds?

Of course my other beef is with the phrase ‘lawmaker’. These people are supposed to be public servants yet they head to office with the idea that they are our lords and not our servants. And what kind of alice in wonderland place has their servants retiring with a much better public pension that the ones they are supposed to be serving?

ted roberts October 28, 2006 at 4:57 pm

David, is there anything so rare as a law withdrawn? I love the traffic light analogy. Have you ever seen one taken down, ever? Same idea as legislation: they’re put up to govern our relationships within our trafficy society. But since the state can do nothing well, they usually impede our passage down the road. And do they ever apologize, admit their mistake and take one down? ted

ted roberts October 29, 2006 at 8:50 am

Baby, its cold up there. You need to move to Alabama or Florida. And about Canadians, I hear (correct me if I’m wrong) that the govt can ban the import of certain American publications. Man that’s nazi/comm/Mao philosophy. Maybe it aint true – but I read it in the paper. ted, the scribbler on the roof

Norman MacIntyre April 30, 2007 at 12:01 am

I would not report littering. I would petition Madison and Limestone counties to put non-violent offenders who are incarcerated out on I565 and other non-residential roadways to clean it up.

If you smoke and have a couple cigarettes to spare, throw it out as you pass them. Or not, likely that is against the law.

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