11A027 Hats Off to Pete by Jim Davies, 1/27/2011    

Wonderful things, video cameras. Take for instance this clip on YouTube. It lasts only 4m40s and shows an incident in a courtroom in Keene, NH, on Monday.

Pete Eyre and a couple of friends had occasion to visit the court, as members of the public; and we can recall that among the rules government makes for its own conduct as monopolizer of court proceedings, all trials shall be "public" (Amendment Six.) Presumably, that's to try to demonstrate that verdicts are being reached without skulduggery. Anyway, Pete' friends happened to take along a videocam each, and Pete took along a hat. It was a baseball cap, and he wore it the right way round, so he wasn't being disrespectful (to its designer, I mean.)

A uniformed court employee told him to remove the hat. He didn't ask politely, giving a reason, he told him. Since it was his hat and he liked to wear it, Pete declined to do so. The grunt then began to remove it for him, at which he said "Sir, please do not touch me." Certainly, he had the right not to be touched; that's part of the universal right to privacy; even though TSA gropers violate it every day.

One thing led to another, and pretty soon three of these uniformed thugs had Pete in cuffs and were dragging him to some back room (he very wisely went limp, so as not to allow any impression that he was "resisting arrest" even though that does make it very hard for the arrester to manhandle his victim) and that's the last we see of him; Pete was kidnapped for wearing a hat in a public place. New Hampshire is the "Live Free or Die" state, don't you know.

Manners are not unimportant. On entering someone's house, it's polite to remove one's hat, if a gentleman; or perhaps not, if a lady. Upon meeting a lady, a gentleman will remove his hat for a moment, by way of greeting. And of course, property owners can set dress codes at will, for any who wish to visit; to wear or not to wear hats, shoes, or any other garment; and if the visitor dislikes the rules, he need not visit. However a government court is not private property, so it has no owner, so its occupiers are entitled to no such niceties. On the contrary, they pretend to exist for the benefit of the public, ie for visitors; and so if good manners are due they are owed by the employees to the visitors.

In the coming zero government society, courts will be examples of such private property, and so will properly be able to set such rules, and if customers and potential customers dislike them, business will be lost. We can therefore be sure that any rules will be set only to facilitate the proceedings; for example, the chairman might forbid flash photography, lest it distract witnesses, and noise, lest any cannot hear what is said. In fact, the court company might exclude visitors altogether, for the only parties who matter are the litigants; A is suing B for recompense, and if judgement is rendered fairly, word will get around and the court company will prosper. The market, in other words, will render judgment on the court and no public scrutiny will be needed for that purpose. Court companies will be highly sensitive to such market verdicts, so will act to maximize good PR.

Meanwhile, hats off to Pete for exposing even more of the gross hypocrisy of the government's monopolistic pretense of justice.

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