Do we really need a license?

Alan Bock suggests in the entry “Why license so much” on the Orange Punch liberty blog that the government licensing everything that is licensed is nothing more than a means to generate revenue. The suggestion is that licensing in no way really protects us.

I have to say that I agree that most of the things the government licenses serve no purpose other than generating revenue for the government.

What purpose does it serve to license a dog? Why not cats, mice, birds, rabbits, snakes or any other “pet”?

What purpose does it serve to license a car or a boat? Is the car or boat “safer” becuase it is licensed? Am I safer because the car or boat is licensed? No!!!

What purpose does it serve to license a fisherman or hunter? Neither have to “prove” their skill. One merely fills out a form and “bingo”, they are licensed.

What purpose does it serve to license a marriage? None! Yes, there is the blood test to ensure “genetic” compatibility should the couple decide to have children. But, a bad test will not result in a denial of a license.

All of the above clearly generate revenue yet provide no “benefit” to society or those being licensed. So, why do we allow the government to impose those licenses on us?

Now, like I said above, only most things we license are serve no purpose. Some do, especially those that require demonstrating expertise in the area in which the license applies.

For example …

A lawyer must pass the “bar exam” in order to be licensed to practice law. While there still is the possibility of getting a “shady” lawyer, we know that they understand the legal system if they are licensed.

A driver, pilot or skipper must demonstrate a general ability to operate the vehicle they are being licensed for. In most cases, their age and eyesight are also verified before they obtain a license. In my mind, this does serve a purpose, ensuring that those operating a car, plane or boat are minimally capable of doing such.

It is clear that in most cases, licensing is nothing more than another means to extract money from the citizenery. We need to push back on the government at all levels when it comes to licensing. We need to require them to demonstrate a clear and beneficial purpose for the license.


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