Californian Leviathan

Censorship, the forceful prohibition of the expression of man's thinking, is one of the most destructive crimes that a government can commit against its own people -- because it makes all the other crimes possible. This is why a government that seeks to achieve unlimited power will always impose censorship -- as a matter of necessity to control the citizenry and keep us docile and uninformed. So now, as a chilling development on our road toward statism in America, attempts to limit and control the ability of individuals to express their views are becoming more prevalent. One such instance has recently impacted a Tea Party group in the San Francisco Bay area.

The East Bay Tea Party posted billboards along California's highway 680 in April of this year. The signs read "Vote them out!" and things of that nature, generally expressing disdain for those currently holding positions of power in the government, in addition to advertising the group's website. The signs were posted on private property and did not obstruct traffic or pose any kind of hazard.

Over the 4th of July weekend, vandals trespassed onto one of the properties and destroyed the signs located there. The EBTP replaced those signs, but another, more formidable group of thugs was lying in wait. The individuals on whose property the billboards were located have recently been harassed, threatened, and intimidated -- not by another gang of street thugs but by the California Department of Transportation. The signs have been taken down as a result of this coercion.

Make no mistake -- the state action was lawful, albeit horrendously immoral. And that is the point: government regulations on all levels have reached the stage where little action is possible for an individual without first obtaining permission from local, state, and federal authorities. Section 5350 of the Orwellian Outdoor Advertising Act of the State of California states:

[n]o person shall place any advertising display within the areas affected by the provisions of this chapter in this state without first having secured a written permit from the director or from his authorized agent.

The affected areas include anything within view of a public highway. This means that before placing a sign on his or her private property within view of any highway in California, an individual must first obtain written permission from the director of the California DOT.

The scope of the state authority includes approval not only of size, location, etc., but also of content (section 5355). So before posting a sign that opposes the government, as the East Bay Tea Party did, one must first obtain permission from the government.

What happens if someone simply takes the initiative to put up a sign on his property, in view of a highway, without first searching through the formidable labyrinth of federal, state, and local regulations to determine whether or not he must obtain permission and, if so, from whom? This was the case with the EBTP members who innocently assumed that one could do what one wishes on one's own private property. Not so. The bureaucrats who threatened the property owners in our case cited section 5463:

For the purpose of removing or destroying any advertising display placed in violation of this chapter, the director or the director's authorized agent may enter upon private property.

This means that government officials may storm onto private property and forcibly remove and destroy any sign that is viewable from any California highway if the offending sign is not in compliance with the latest set of regulations or the whim of "the director."

In case that isn't bad enough, the law indicates that the property owner will be billed for the removal and destruction of his sign and may be further penalized with a fine of $100 to $10,000, plus $100 per day for each day the sign remains after written notice of noncompliance is issued, plus enforcement costs and attorney's fees, plus forfeiture of any revenue that may have been collected as a result of the noncompliant sign, plus the owner may be charged with a misdemeanor.

The net result of all this is that an individual can incur significant financial penalties and be charged with a crime if he chooses to post a message on his own property without permission from "the director." What conceivable justification could exist for such an obscene, oppressive, and viciously immoral set of policies on the part of the California government? No speculation is needed. An attempt at justification is given here in section 5226:

The regulation of advertising displays adjacent to any interstate highway or primary highway as provided in section 5405 is hereby declared to be necessary to promote the public safety, health, welfare, convenience and enjoyment of public travel, [...] . Outdoor advertising is an integral part of the business and marketing function, and an established segment of the national economy, and should be allowed to exist in business areas, subject to reasonable controls in the public interest. [Emphasis added.]

There it is -- that magic phrase that has been used to justify the spilling of rivers of blood and the destruction of hundreds of millions of lives over the past century alone -- the public interest. It has been given many names over the centuries: the tribe, the proletariat, das volk, the race, the church, the needy, the underserved, but what is the nature of this collective, and what makes it worthy of human sacrifice?

The fact is that there is no such entity as "the public" or any subset thereof. Any group is merely a collection of individuals and as such has no rights above and apart from those of the individuals in this group. If a group did claim such "rights," this would lead to an inevitable contradiction, since it would necessarily usurp the rights of some or all of the group's constituents, thereby destroying the very concept of rights -- there can be no "right" to violate the rights of others.

Someone ought to explain this to "the director" and to those who have unjustly given him the power to capriciously destroy the property and the lives of sovereign individuals who rightly express their disdain for him and that which makes him possible: a leviathan that has long since exceeded its justifiable role as a protector of individual rights and has instead become their destroyer.
Censorship, the forceful prohibition of the expression of man's thinking, is one of the most destructive crimes that a government can commit against its own people -- because it makes all the other crimes possible. This is why a government that seeks to achieve unlimited power will always impose censorship -- as a matter of necessity to control the citizenry and keep us docile and uninformed. So now, as a chilling development on our road toward statism in America, attempts to limit and control the ability of individuals to express their views are becoming more prevalent. One such instance has recently impacted a Tea Party group in the San Francisco Bay area.

The East Bay Tea Party posted billboards along California's highway 680 in April of this year. The signs read "Vote them out!" and things of that nature, generally expressing disdain for those currently holding positions of power in the government, in addition to advertising the group's website. The signs were posted on private property and did not obstruct traffic or pose any kind of hazard.

Over the 4th of July weekend, vandals trespassed onto one of the properties and destroyed the signs located there. The EBTP replaced those signs, but another, more formidable group of thugs was lying in wait. The individuals on whose property the billboards were located have recently been harassed, threatened, and intimidated -- not by another gang of street thugs but by the California Department of Transportation. The signs have been taken down as a result of this coercion.

Make no mistake -- the state action was lawful, albeit horrendously immoral. And that is the point: government regulations on all levels have reached the stage where little action is possible for an individual without first obtaining permission from local, state, and federal authorities. Section 5350 of the Orwellian Outdoor Advertising Act of the State of California states:

[n]o person shall place any advertising display within the areas affected by the provisions of this chapter in this state without first having secured a written permit from the director or from his authorized agent.

The affected areas include anything within view of a public highway. This means that before placing a sign on his or her private property within view of any highway in California, an individual must first obtain written permission from the director of the California DOT.

The scope of the state authority includes approval not only of size, location, etc., but also of content (section 5355). So before posting a sign that opposes the government, as the East Bay Tea Party did, one must first obtain permission from the government.

What happens if someone simply takes the initiative to put up a sign on his property, in view of a highway, without first searching through the formidable labyrinth of federal, state, and local regulations to determine whether or not he must obtain permission and, if so, from whom? This was the case with the EBTP members who innocently assumed that one could do what one wishes on one's own private property. Not so. The bureaucrats who threatened the property owners in our case cited section 5463:

For the purpose of removing or destroying any advertising display placed in violation of this chapter, the director or the director's authorized agent may enter upon private property.

This means that government officials may storm onto private property and forcibly remove and destroy any sign that is viewable from any California highway if the offending sign is not in compliance with the latest set of regulations or the whim of "the director."

In case that isn't bad enough, the law indicates that the property owner will be billed for the removal and destruction of his sign and may be further penalized with a fine of $100 to $10,000, plus $100 per day for each day the sign remains after written notice of noncompliance is issued, plus enforcement costs and attorney's fees, plus forfeiture of any revenue that may have been collected as a result of the noncompliant sign, plus the owner may be charged with a misdemeanor.

The net result of all this is that an individual can incur significant financial penalties and be charged with a crime if he chooses to post a message on his own property without permission from "the director." What conceivable justification could exist for such an obscene, oppressive, and viciously immoral set of policies on the part of the California government? No speculation is needed. An attempt at justification is given here in section 5226:

The regulation of advertising displays adjacent to any interstate highway or primary highway as provided in section 5405 is hereby declared to be necessary to promote the public safety, health, welfare, convenience and enjoyment of public travel, [...] . Outdoor advertising is an integral part of the business and marketing function, and an established segment of the national economy, and should be allowed to exist in business areas, subject to reasonable controls in the public interest. [Emphasis added.]

There it is -- that magic phrase that has been used to justify the spilling of rivers of blood and the destruction of hundreds of millions of lives over the past century alone -- the public interest. It has been given many names over the centuries: the tribe, the proletariat, das volk, the race, the church, the needy, the underserved, but what is the nature of this collective, and what makes it worthy of human sacrifice?

The fact is that there is no such entity as "the public" or any subset thereof. Any group is merely a collection of individuals and as such has no rights above and apart from those of the individuals in this group. If a group did claim such "rights," this would lead to an inevitable contradiction, since it would necessarily usurp the rights of some or all of the group's constituents, thereby destroying the very concept of rights -- there can be no "right" to violate the rights of others.

Someone ought to explain this to "the director" and to those who have unjustly given him the power to capriciously destroy the property and the lives of sovereign individuals who rightly express their disdain for him and that which makes him possible: a leviathan that has long since exceeded its justifiable role as a protector of individual rights and has instead become their destroyer.

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