My new column is up at the Isthmus – it discusses why the state bans benign vanity license plate messages, and suggests ways the state can profit from mulleted-Americans:
As P.J. O’Rourke once said, for some people, free speech is a curse. So if people want to put “GEEK” or “NOSEX” on their plates, why not let them? In fact, “NOSEX” is simply a synonym for “MARRIED,” so why not ban that, too?
It just seems incongruous that Wisconsin state government would want such a tight grip on its citizens’ right to express themselves. There’s no law banning what people can put on a bumper sticker, so why do we care what goes on their license plate? If they are willing to pay extra to be an imbecile in public, let’s let them — most people get to be morons for free.
In fact, the state is turning down extra revenue every time it doesn’t let some guy with a mullet put “HELLYEA” on his El Camino’s vanity plate.