by Bretigne Shaffer, Lew Rockwell:
Something extraordinary happened in Sacramento last week. The people protesting California’s increasingly draconian vaccine-mandate legislation—most of them mothers of vaccine-injured children—stopped playing by the rules.
On Monday, Senate Bill 714—the companion bill to SB276 which puts the determination of medical exemptions from any of the vaccines required for school into the hands of the state—was before the California State Assembly for a vote. Six women had already been arrested, including two nursing mothers and a grandmother, and the Assembly gallery was filled with protesters, waiting quietly.
The moment the bill passed, women unfurled banners and the gallery erupted in chanting. Appeals for “quiet in the Chamber!” and cries of “we’re asking for decorum” were drowned out with “You have not represented California for all!” The demonstrators succeeded in shutting down both the Assembly and Senate chambers for more than an hour.
Ultimately, the Senate did vote the bill through, and soon after, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed both SB276 and SB714 into law. But four days later the demonstrators were still there, and they have pledged to disrupt the lives and the work of those who passed this legislation for as long as it takes to reverse it.
What these parents have learned is that playing by the rules will do nothing to protect their rights. For years, these women (and some men) had been lining up in an orderly fashion and calmly giving whatever limited testimony they were allowed, only to have it ignored. For years, they had listened to haughty legislators demand that they behave in a civil manner while slicing away at their most basic freedoms.
WHAT SHOULD THEY DO?
When people come to realize that representative democracy has failed them, that the politicians who claim to represent them instead represent the interests of powerful corporations, what should they do?
Right now, there is a lot of talk about efforts to recall the governor, of a referendum to strike down the bills, or to vote the politicians who supported this legislation (all of them Democrats) out of office. Many think voting in Republicans will help. That’s understandable, as voting on these bills was completely along party lines, and states with Republican majorities seem to be defending themselves better against these kinds of bills.
But that won’t last for long. The pharmaceutical industry throws money at Republicans too, and it is only a matter of time before they are every bit as bought as the Democrats are on this issue. Voting for Republicans might be a good defensive tactic for the short-term. But it’s not going to solve the problem.
THIS CAN’T BE VOTED AWAY
The underlying problem is that we have an institution that gives a group of people the power to dictate the terms of our lives. This institution is backed by force, and cannot be held accountable in any real way—at least, not within the confines of that institution. This institution claims to represent us (whatever that means, in a state of 39.75 million people, each with their own worldview, interests, wants and needs), but it clearly does not. The problems that are inherent in this institution cannot simply be voted away.
I wrote about this a few years ago:
“The things libertarians want – freedom, less govt. interference in markets & in personal choices, non-interventionist foreign policy… there is no money in these things for politicians. There are no big corporations and very few rich people who are willing to pay tons of money to politicians to refrain from intervening in markets, or to keep the troops home, or to let people ingest whatever substances they want to.
“…Understand that behind the empty campaign promises, politicians have essentially two things to offer to the people who support them: 1. Power, in the form of regulatory and other control, over competitors and others who may get in the way of a particular entity remaining comfortably profitable; 2. Money. Not their own money of course – your money, and my money. Taken from us in taxes, and in the continual devaluation of the government-issued money we all use. Politicians can give money to their supporters in the form of contracts for things like military equipment and public works projects, or in less direct ways, like mandating that government schools all stock epinephrine injectors that meet the same very specific product requirements that your device happens to meet.
“…In theory, politicians could offer liberty to their supporters. They could offer to cut back regulations, to end military aggression. But who is going to pay them for that? Again these are things that would benefit everyone, all of society. But the game of politics is not about benefitting all of society. And the widely accepted belief that it is is perhaps the most dangerous lie ever crafted.
“In order for a seeker of liberty to win at this game, that person would have to compete with the campaign donations and other inducements made by military contractors, major pharmaceutical companies, oil companies – but these are all entities that have been made rich by virtue of government interventions and direct largesse. How can a liberty seeker hope to offer the same level of financial inducements to politicians as these people, when they are not also on the receiving end of the government slush?”
This problem cannot be solved from within the institution, because the institution itself is the problem.
WHAT DO WE DO WITH ILLEGITIMATE LAWS?
I say that the laws passed in Sacramento last Monday are illegitimate because they are the product of a system based on coercion and not consent. But even those who don’t agree with me about that can recognize that these laws are not legitimate.
It should be clear to everyone by now that the people who proposed this legislation and those who voted for it do not represent the people of California (again, whatever that means), but the interests of the pharmaceutical industry. Even those who believe that representative democracy is a legitimate way of making decisions over everyone’s lives should have a problem with this.
More fundamentally though, these laws represent a violation of some of our basic rights: The right to bodily autonomy for ourselves and for our children, and the right to associate freely with others (in this case, schools) without interference from the state. In essence, the State of California is holding hostage our children’s ability to attend school (public or private), unless we subject them to medical procedures we may not approve of.
So what do we do when we are faced with illegitimate laws that violate our rights?
Those mothers had the right idea when they shut down the California Senate last Monday: Disrupt the activities of those who would trample our rights, and make it impossible for them to do their jobs.