10,000 Uber and Lyft drivers are officially out of a job in Austin. The result of a vote that would have exempted drivers from fingerprinting as part of background checks. Austin voters failed to take a stand for liberty as the result has led Uber to withdraw its service from the market, and Lyft to pause its’ Texas operations as they begin calculating next steps.
Now, certainly with any product/service offered by an individual to the public, there are security concerns. We want to be sure the toymaker didn’t source any lethal chemicals to be used in building our children’s rocking horses. We would like to know that the local baker isn’t using cyanide to enhance flavor in her pastries. We’re not going into our local bakery to ask the owner these pointed questions though, right? No. There is an unspoken social contract we’ll call it that binds service providers to their clients. Operate in good faith and you will have the public patronage. Violate that social contract and the business suffers. We as the public operate in a trust based human system that allows for the skilled baker to apply his craft for the public’s delight and discretion. Caveat emptor – buyer beware. You may have caught the baker on a bad day. Here’s hoping he didn’t violate your trust and spit in your cake. Supposing he did though, and you found out. He’s probably not long for the baking profession. This is how things work. You violate public trust as a service provider, and you earn a reputation. Business suffers, you lose money, maybe you lose the business. Consequences.
Why than is it necessary for government to place undue burden on service providers who are operating in good faith, and have the public’s trust and appreciation for their service? Why than do citizens not stand up to government overreach at the local level when seen in such an egregious form.
It’s simple, if i need a ride to work, i need a ride. Whoever is kind enough to drive me or offer me a driving service, will be paid and have the opportunity to earn my trust as a service provider. I won’t ask for your fingerprints. I will be grateful. If you are a bad driver, don’t expect a call back. Boom! Bad drivers and bad business addressed. Ideally.
Instead, we see the effects of government overreach and those who suffer for it. 10,000 Texans. Ten thousand Austinites. 10,000 probably mostly competent drivers who are now unable to improve there own standard of living through entrepreneurial business ventures like ride sharing. Not to mention the countless people who will be late to work or inconvenienced through other means in their commute. I have relied on the bus before. I have been held hostage by the train schedule. Mass transit while necessary is inconvenient by nature.
This may not seem so heinous observed in a vacuum, but consider this holistically with all other examples of government overreach, and a scary picture begins to take shape. I see Big Brother. I see totalitarian tendencies. I see 1984 and a public scared of their own shadow; concerned with what the government is capable of and to what ends they are willing to attempt to justify their unjustifiable means.