"Let's Roll." The History of Rotationalism
Once upon a time, in the year 1999, Dr. J. Darwin Godley found himself at a pediatric emergency hospital deep in the north woods of New England.
His wife Arlena had gone into labor with their first child a full 5-1/2 weeks early and land speed records had been broken in a successful attempt to make it to the hospital before life could erupt even more prematurely than necessary.
After the birth and while nestled in a private hospital room with Mrs. Godley and Little Godley Junior (a boy!), medical administrators stopped by to get some business handled.
It seemed that they wanted the happy and exhausted parents to fill out some official paperwork that would register the newborn with various government computer systems.
Realizing in a flash of contrarian insight that to resist these registration efforts would bring the scorn of hospital apparatchiks down upon their heads and require mounting a defense based on written law and regulations which actually do not require the registration of newly born Americans, Doc Godley headed to the front desk to speak with the nurse who handled such administrative matters.
The following is a transcript of the conversation that ensued. We will use “G” for Doc Godley and “N” for nurse. Later a doctor will enter. We’ll call him “D.”
G: “Hello, I am Dr. Godley.”
[The front desk was being “manned” by a serious, middle-aged, female nurse with her hair in a tight bun and a pencil stuck through it. While adopting a curt and officious tone that automatically triggered Doc Godley’s Early Warning Verbal Defense System, she asked…]
N: “May I help you?”
G: “I was told that you wanted to register my precious newborn in your vast system of records.”
N: “What is the child’s name?”
G: “We haven’t selected a name yet.”
N: “We need a name in order to register the child.”
[Doc contemplated for a moment replying with interesting names like, Snidely and Wilburforce but instead remarked with a bright, confident smile…]
G: “Our religion prohibits us from naming our child until the 30th day of life.”
[This was Doc Godley at his best, improvising on the spot with instantly manufactured religious baloney designed to throw busy-bodies off the scent. Nurse Ratchet pulled the pencil from her bun, squinted her eyes and asked…]
N: “And what religion is that?”
[Again, instinct guided Doc’s thinking here.
First, this was none of her business and, under patient privacy laws, could get her administrative derriere suspended.
Second, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution prevents the gubmint from sticking its nose into one’s private religious beliefs.
Were the hospital to be so unwise as to attempt to infringe these protections, Doc Godley would summon up his years of extensive paralegal experience and tie hospital administrators in a tangle of lawsuits, forcing them to cough up big bucks for attorneys to generate truck loads of expensive paperwork.
Third, there are many religionists, Baptists for example, who flinch at the idea of enumerating human beings based on biblical proscriptions related to the Mark of the Beast.
Were Doc Godley to say he was a Baptist, he would immediately be filed in the same hospital administration cubby hole as past Baptists who had resisted the numerical branding of their own children.
Ditto, all of the other religions—there was an administrative cubby hole for each.
Therefore a new religion was needed, and immediately!
And thus The Church of Rotationalism was born.
G: “We are Rotationalists.”
N: “Sorry, but I’ve never heard of that before.”
G: “Maybe you don’t get around much. Get it, a-round? Rotationalists? Sorry, I was just trying to make light of a highly serious situation.”
N: “If we don’t have the child’s name we can’t process the paperwork with the State Division of Vital Records.”
G: “Oh, that’s not a problem. Our son can register as a socialist when he turns 18 if that is his choice.”
N: “I beg your pardon?”
G: “There is no law that requires Americans to have or use a Social Security Number in order to live and work within the United States.
N: “Of course there is, everyone has to have one.”
G: “Sorry, not true. Title 42 of United States Code at section 405, part (c), subpart (2), section (B), paragraph (i) at subparagraph (I) states that numbers are assigned, and I quote:
“to aliens at the time of their lawful admission to the United States either for permanent residence or under other authority of law permitting them to engage in employment in the United States… and to “to any individual who is an applicant for or recipient of benefits under any program financed in whole or in part from Federal funds including any child on whose behalf such benefits are claimed by another person.”
N: “Are you a lawyer?”
G: “Good Lord, no. Don’t you think I want to go to Heaven?”
[This small witticism flew right over the head of Nurse Ratchet who apparently had pressed the “Summon Help” button under her desk since the Chief Pediatric Physician now appeared.]
D: “What appears to be the problem here?”
G: “Oh, no problem at all, Sir. Just trying to keep my child from being swallowed up by government computers.”
D: “Could you explain, please?”
G: Certainly, I was telling Nurse Ratchet here (“Nurse Johnson, please”), sorry, Nurse Johnson, that federal statutes require that the government issue taxpayer identification numbers to aliens upon their lawful admission to the United States.
Everyone else—meaning you, me and Nurse Johnson—gets to volunteer to apply for one, but only if we want to. I assure you that our son is not an alien, nor is he an extraterrestrial.”
[Blank stares. Doc continues…]
G: Our son is as American as American can get. He was born to us right here in your hospital in the good old, U.S. of A. Or is there any possibility that you guys could have mixed up the babies?”
N: “Oh, no, no, no! We would never allow that to happen!”
G: “Well, that’s a relief. Otherwise we might end up raising someone else’s kids. God knows that taxpayers are raising enough of other peoples’ kids already.”
N: “We need you to process the paperwork.”
G: “If what you ask were required by law, there would be no application process and you wouldn’t be asking me to sign anything.
There wouldn’t even be a line to sign on.
If the process were compulsory, you wouldn’t even be speaking with me.
All of this is predicated on me signing some paperwork, at which point you would send our information to the State Department of Vital records which then would transmit the state’s request to the Social Security Administration in Washington, D.C. which would then assign a Social Security Number to our son.
But that ain’t gonna’ happen.”
D: “So you refuse to sign?”
G: “Absolutely not. I’m not refusing to do anything.
That could get me branded as a refusenik.
I am simply following the law.
Surely you wouldn’t want to see our beautiful baby boy numbered and bar-coded like a can of beans, would you?”
D (to nurse): “Nurse, let’s set this aside for now. We’ll call legal and get this handled later.”
[At the mere mention of the word “legal,” Doc’s verbal defense system goes to DEFCON 3]
N: “Please fill out this form so we can get a birth certificate for your son.”
G: “Do you mean to say that his birth has not been certified? I saw him just a minute ago.”
[A grim look forms on Nurse Ratchet’s face. The Big Cheese suppresses a smirk. Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all.]
N: “We need to process a birth certificate with the state.”
G: “I see. May I ask you a question?”
D: “Go ahead.”
G: “Do you agree that our son was born here in New Hampshire, on soil that sits within the boundaries of the United States of America, and that we are not floating in outer space like in a Ray Bradbury sci-fi novel?”
[Stares from Nurse Ratchet, a slight grin from the Big Cheese. Doc continues…]
“Our son is a citizen of the United States simply by virtue of his having been born here in New Hampshire.
"That being said, since he is already a citizen, what additional value would derive from registering him with that big computer in Concord, New Hampshire?”
[The nurse was staring at the floor now, trying to control her anger. The Chief Pediatric Physician was attempting to stifle a chuckle. Neither said a word, so Doc continued…]
G: “You seem like nice people, perhaps if a bit legally disadvantaged. Why don’t you just leave us alone, give us the bill, and we’ll be on our merry way soon. Otherwise I would be forced to initiate various state and federal lawsuits for violating our civil rights. I’d have to obtain sworn affidavits from the both of you, subpoena you to appear at depositions, etc., and I really don’t want to have to do that. Plus, it could really cut into your vacation time.
A few days later and the happy family was on their way home with a free American.
And thus the saga ended.
The good news in America?
You can be free if you want to be.