A nearly universal response to my arguments for halting most “traffic stops” is this: Your system will create mayhem, chaos and death on the road.
A common law legal order will create disorder. It will cause innumerable sufferings, carelessness among users of cars and trucks, wreckage strewn left and right along intersections, sidewalks and boulevards.
Roll down McCallie Avenue, and you’ll pass wrecks and crashes. Pull away from a red light and hear a crash behind you (not a backfire from an old MG), and go two blocks and pass a smoking ruin of another collision where a gas tank exploded — smoke spiraling into the air like that of burning tires in Mogadishu.
Ending routine police enforcement on the roadways will invite the worst of human nature to spring forth.
If you stop traffic enforcement against 80% of the people in Chattanooga and Hamilton County (those not subject to Tenn. Code Ann. Title 55, as you claim), and across Tennessee, you are inviting the greatest disorder imaginable, one that law enforcement is now preventing and whose officers we must warmly thank.
Indeed, the law in Tennessee regarding regulation of the use of roadways is sharply restricted in the actual law, and rejection of the law’s limits has long kept open a little-acknowledged tyranny. The legal structure does not allow the Tennessee highway patrol, sheriff’s departments or city police departments to enforce the shipping, freight and transportation statute upon people who are not involved in shipping, freight and transportation.
This system, upheld by Tennessee courts, is widely supported even among Christians, even among African-Americans. This first group is obliged by Jesus Christ to care about the oppressed. The first group is the leading oppressed party in the U.S. and the leading victims of unconstitutional and lawless law enforcement. No easy means exists of clearing away the activity of the parasite state.
A lay legal reform, launched by my personal delivery of transportation administratively notice starting Feb. 20, 2018, to key officials, envisions an end to traffic stops. That is effectively a remediation useable by people before the systemic abuse is halted by policy, the prodigal coming to himself, as it were, and returning to his father’s house.
TAN intends to create a dangerous thing: Freedom of travel, freedom to act in car or truck outside any state privilege.
It allows for the people to use the roads privately, for personal reasons, for pleasure, for the exercise of their rights, without being subject to any police officer in their so doing if they commit no actual crime. Actual crimes are not in Title 55 of state law, but Title 39, the criminal statutes.
Elected officials and well-meaning Christian conservative and Republican people have asked me, effectively, wouldn’t your pretended liberation not give license to sin and would it not create a Wild West on the roads in Chattanooga?
Doesn’t your system allow for speeding, leaving the scenes of accidents, careless use of cars and trucks, dangerous and carefree individualism without regard for others?
These objections come from people in high office such as Darren Ledford on the city council and from intelligent business people such as Jonathan Emmanuel, a financial adviser whom I met at the coffee urns at Panera bread store in Hixson, a fellow homeschool dad.
Other reformers met objections
Similar objections have been raised to other proponents of reform such as John Wycliff, the 14th century pre-reformation scholar reformer who translated an English version of the Bible and who insisted that the commoner and peasant had every right and authority to have the word of God and to understand it personally and to live it out personally. This thinking, echoed later by Calvin, Luther, Zwingli and others placed in the common man a very high and noble dignity afforded to ordinary people by the scriptures.
The word of God is full of examples of the commonest people given high duties and high callings. Shepherds announce the birth of the Lord Jesus. Rahab the harlot is given the duty to defy her king of Jericho and to save the spies. The Hebrew midwives, Shifra and Puah, named in the scriptures while the pharaoh remains unnamed, are given by God to defend the Israelite newborns and become heroines, though from a servant class. Mary, an unknown teenage virgin, receives an appearance by the archangel who declares she will bear the Lord Jesus in her womb. Common fisherman such as Peter are elevated by the Lord Jesus to be apostles. Despised and short people such as Zaccheaus the tax collector whom Christ invites down from a tree so He might sup at his house. The Samaritan woman, an adulterous member of a despised race, serves the Lord Jesus water from the well and he pours into her vessel the living water of the Word.
In a podcast, Joseph Foreman points out that Wycliff envisioned a world that would be changed dramatically by the work of the Holy Spirit, one that elevated peasants and serfs from meanness and ignorance to a literate and more godly people all across Reformation Europe.
In Chattanooga and Hamilton County, reform in the law is one that God ordains because, as I argue, a reform makes the law properly applied and no longer unjust in its operation. The shipping law is unjustly used against people not involved in shipping, and for decades has kept alive the hateful Jim Crow concept of a subject and licensed people.
God ordains reform because he requires justice of the courts and of the mighty ones. He calls for justice and equity when their great systems, their mechanisms for justice and control, grind down the poor and heap misery upon the ignorant and the weak.
The call for reform is a patient one, and premised on God’s laws against oppression and manmade administrative law.
The manmade law to which I am referring to is the motor and other vehicle statute in the Tennessee code annotated. This law is a book, which passes 870 pages in the edition which I have on my shelf. It is an administrative law that by the explicit black-letter writings apply to commercial users of the road only, and not to private parties such as Keelah Jackson, Jimmy Lee Moore, John Lumen, Gregory Parker, John Ballenger and many others whose woes I have explored here.
Christians are called to repent of their sins and to extol God’s claims upon their personal lives and upon the lives of others, as well as upon the city in which they live, in the country of which they are citizens. The Christian has a duty to call for righteousness and justice in all matters, especially those which operate in large systems such as courts and congresses.
In Chattanooga and across the state, Title 55 is used to fill the dockets with victims who are necessary for the continued maintenance and operation and payroll of the legal system. Those most affected are black men from their 20s to their 40s. These are people who have little constituency and support and whose abuse is allowed to pass unnoticed by most Christians, even of their own race.
I am calling on officials to end this use of Title 55 as against them, and to be confident that if the hand of law enforcement — the master — is withdrawn, that no great chaos or evil will flood boulevards, lanes and freeways.
People will not be more careless suddenly. People behind the wheels of cars will not suddenly stamp their feet on the gas pedal and raced ridiculously down narrow streets at Chattanooga. People will not suddenly become eager for car crashes and the running over of pedestrians. They will not roar through school bus zones or ignore the traffic signs for speed.
No, these things will not happen. They didn’t happen at the time of the Reformation. These things didn’t happen when free market reforms pulled back the stifling blanket of communism in the former East Bloc. They won’t happen in Chattanooga and across Tennessee where people are generally law abiding and careful to avoid accidents and injury.
A presupposition underlying the objection to the lifting of lawless enforcement is that without force, humankind will destroy itself and give itself over to chaos and anarchy. This view of society is highly evolutionary and materialistic and is a ready defense for despotic systems.
Even though Christianity holds to a doctrine of the depravity of man and the totality of a fall, it esteems common people much more than do our local humanists, who think only the worst of people.
Christianity presupposes the cooperative nature of society and the inclination of people to not abuse each other and to work amicably in the free market toward prosperity for self and for neighbor. Humanists, progressives and statists, with their negative view of humankind, believe that without force and coercion, police departments, prisons, harassment by the officer, that society will disintegrate into anarchy. That is falsehood. That is a lie. It is a lie that upholds the current system in Chattanooga and Hamilton County and across the state of Tennessee. A lie that the people are vile and wicked and prone to every evil.
Reform of public practice will come, desire for it will grow, if we believe liberty is a blessing, and that freedom is a reward from the hand of God. If our rights come from God, and not the constitution, it is right to fight to restore them, for the benefit of all.
Especially when we have the Tennessee constitution and the Tennessee code on our side, despite what courts of appeal have said to negate the freedom of travel and communication.