Readers of this blog, and particularly of more skilled writers such as Murray Rothbard and Hans Hermann Hoppe, know very well the intrinsic aspects of the State, the most important of which is its parasitical nature. The State exists solely on theft and violence. Another fairly consistent, if not exactly intrinsic, property of the State, is its hatred of beauty. When tyrants loot new territory, works of art and other beautiful things are often amongst the first victims. Beauty, after all, humanizes us, and we can not have any life-giving human spirit if the State is to function efficiently in its criminal doings.
Human smiles are among the most beautiful sights that one can see, and, as it turns out, the State is now working to eliminate the precious few of these that remain in our miserable times. Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles has now banned smiles on driver’s license photos in a number of counties. This is to enable government spy equipment to recognize more easily the faces on these documents.
Of course, not many people smile on their license photos. Most of us are so miserable by the time we get to the DMV that smiles are nearly impossible. There is, nevertheless, something insidious about all of this. Citizens of the State of Virginia—and surely the rest of us soon enough—will be ordered not to smile because of their “safety” and “security”—and so that the State can spy on the people it claims to protect. All of this will be justified as protection against any number of imaginary hobgoblins. The hobgoblins, however, can only kill the body. The State, on the other hand, kills the soul. It not only makes it difficult for people to be genuinely happy; it orders those who are inclined to be joyful not to manifest it to others.
It seems trite, surely, to certain kinds of people, especially those who live vicariously through the State since they don’t have the guts to admit to their own inclinations to violence. But this would be a wonderful issue on which to engage in civil disobedience. A band of smiling citizens at the local DMV would not only frustrate the State’s unconstitutional ambitions to intrude on every aspect of our lives; it would also be a great statement about the beauty and the durability of the human spirit: “We demand to be beautiful.” And nothing frustrates the violent efficiency of the State like beauty.
So, smile, you great citizens of the State of Virginia. Show the thugs that while they might be able to take our money, our property rights, and our individual liberties, they will never be able to take our spirits. You will be in good company:
Smile at each other, smile at your wife, smile at your husband, smile at your children, smile at each other — it doesn’t matter who it is — and that will help you to grow up in greater love for each other.