License Plates

Once upon a time the only way to get custom licence plates was to know someone with pull in the department that gave out the plates. Today of course most states pick up extra money by selling special plates. In some countries special plates are auctioned off. For example this recent auction in Abu Dhabi where someone spent $14million for a plate with only the number 1 on it. In some countries the number 8 which is thought of as very lucky brings high prices.

I once had a special plate (ACT-2 which are my initials) and it was fun, brought a few comments, but really after a while I didn’t care so much when I got a new car and didn’t transfer the plate. It just didn’t seem worth the money. Perhaps that is because I am not a car person. My car is not a part of my identity to me.

In more recent years I have also developed a philosophical disagreement with the very idea of licence plates (and to some extent driver’s licenses) on cars. It seems like a violation of my privacy to be forced to where identification on my car. Now I wear a badge at work but that is a private agreement with a private company. Having the government force me to have, let alone wear (in a sense) identification just for government use seems invasive. Of course I understand the rationalization for the rules. They are pretty much the same as those for searching a house without a warrant though aren’t they? And we don’t allow that!

Now I am not ready to make a Federal case over it and I suspect I would lose if I tried but more and more it just bugs me.

2 Responses to “License Plates”

  1. Matt says:

    They are pretty much the same as those for searching a house without a warrant though aren’t they?

    I don’t see the connection there. They’re not searching your car. They’re simply attaching conditions to driving your car on public roads. Much like having to register your home with the state, and register your income with the IRS. (I’d consider that the most invasive, really: you’ve got to give them a lot of private financial data.) It’s the “price” we pay for living in a civilized society.

  2. Mr. T says:

    The arguement I was thinking of was along the lines of “it’s to make it easier to catch criminals.” There seem to be a lot of things that the authorities want to do under the cover of “public safety.” Registering my property with the state is completely different. That is to protect my property rights. I don’t has as much problem with titles for cars and tying them to the VIN which you can’t easily see. It’s this virtual name tag I object to.

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