The Process is the punishment

Leftists love control. That much should be painfully evident. The greatest advancement of encroachment on liberties, in both quantitatively and qualitatively has always been when Leftists have been in power.

No matter who is in charge, the power of the government starts at “No.” It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about, the only way government has any ability to regulate things, is to say “No.” It is at this point you must supplicate yourself to the bureaucrat and perform the necessary penance to the State and hope whereupon you are deemed worthy and allowed to do what you wanted to do.

If the State is okay with you doing what you want to do, the process is straightforward, relatively easy and inexpensive. If the State doesn’t want you to do what you want to do, but are required to allow it, then the process is obscured, complex, fraught with capricious denials, time-consuming and expensive.

From the movie Jupiter Ascending (please listen to and hear what the general says at 0:07):

I found out recently that part of the test to obtain a driver’s license in North Korea requires that you totally disassemble your vehicle. Then, reassemble it, hopefully correctly and properly. I guess the reasoning is, since there is no auto repair industry in NK, you must be able to repair it yourself. What better way to demonstrate your mechanical skills and knowledge than to (properly) do this?

Here’s an example from Japan. Mind you, the culture in Japan is very different from the US in most things. Socially, owning a weapon of any kind is borderline scandalous. I can’t think of a US equivalent, since there is no concept of “societal shame” in this society today.

Here are the steps you have to go through, in sequence, to get a license for a shotgun or air rifle. You can get a rifle license after owning a shotgun for ten years, or if you're a part of a competitive shooting team. Only law enforcement or military can own or possess a handgun. If you’re part of a competitive pistol shooting team, you have to join the police or military.

  1. Join a hunting or shooting club.
  2. Take a firearm class and pass a written exam, which is held up to three times a year.
  3. Get a doctor’s note saying you are mentally fit and do not have a history of drug abuse.
  4. Apply for a permit to take firing training, which may take up to a month.
  5. Describe in a police interview why you need a gun.
  6. Pass a review of your criminal history, gun possession record, employment, involvement with organized crime groups, personal debt and relationships with friends, family and neighbors. (Your spouse and close relatives also get to “enjoy” a background check as well. Not for just criminal infractions, but to check for militant activism and such.)
  7. Apply for a gunpowder permit.
  8. Take a one-day training class and pass a firing test.
  9. Obtain a certificate from a gun dealer describing the gun you want.
  10. Buy a gun safe and an ammunition locker that meet safety regulations.
  11. Allow the police to inspect your gun storage.
  12. Pass an additional background review.
  13. Buy a gun.

Now, mind you, for each step in this process, you have to take a day off work to apply, and pay the necessary fees. No convenient weekend classes here. Then for the steps where you must take a class or let the police into your home, you must take a second day off as well. Each of these days you can (hopefully) take vacation for, but again, this is Japan, and considering the social stigma, the company may not approve the vacation time for getting a gun. You may have to take unpaid days off.

Then comes the storage requirements. The firearms must be stored in a locker, and law enforcement must be provided with a plan of the premises (apartment or house) and where precisely they are stored. Ammunition must be kept separately, in a locked safe, and the quantity that can be kept at one time are limited, and all ammunition purchases are registered. Guns are inspected annually when the police see fit. Inspections, like applications, classes and tests, are carried out on business days, forcing gun owners to take days off work.

Here’s the kicker: the license is valid for three years, after which the whole process must be gone through again. People wishing to hunt must also obtain a hunting license, valid for the next hunting season only which also implies a full day of classes and a test as well.

This is why I say “the process is the punishment” because you have to spend large amounts of money and time most of us do not have, only for a bureaucrat to find a mistake in the paperwork, so they can deny you and send you back to restart that step, or the whole process, or even stop your application entirely and deny you permanently. Which would probably happen around step 12, meaning that you spent gobs of time and money and have nothing to show for it in the end.

In the US for such an example, anyone who is politically connected, a friend of the appropriate bureaucrat (or their boss) or someone who can “make it worth the bureaucrat's time” will breeze through the process without any scrutiny. And it doesn’t have to be about getting a firearm. It can be (and often is) stuff like starting a business, obtaining a professional license, and a hundred more things.

In the end, a bureaucratic system only benefits those inside the system, or those who can do favors for those inside the system. Us regular folk are screwed beyond relief.

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