Not to drugs (though that’s a good idea, too). But no to being fingerprinted and/or optically scanned for purposes of the soon-to-be-mandatory “National ID” card?
How about it?
We’re supposed to be a fiercely independent, freedom-loving bunch — the sort who’d never trot willingly to the glue factory like so many European herd animals. Right? It’s what we celebrate every Fourth of July.
So what’s the deal with this National ID stuff — specifically, to meekly submitting to being fingerprinted and having our irises scanned (these are “biometric” tags) like common criminals?
Has it come to that, at last?
In 2005, the government passed into law the Real ID act, which requires all states to change the way they issue driver’s licenses so that they conform to a single federal standard — one that includes a requirement, dazzling in its stridency, that each of us be tagged with those so-called biometric identifiers (digitized fingerprints, retina scans) — with the data linked to a single federal database that would be continuously fed information about us and what we do and where we go.
All of it in the name of fighting terrorism; apparently this will be accomplished by setting up one of the building blocks of every modern police state. The National ID card will be required for virtually every transaction of modern life, from boarding an airplane to opening a bank account. While you don’t technically have to get one, life without one would be next-to-impossible since you could no longer legally operate a motor vehicle, or buy a home, or take a plane trip.
The digitized devices would provide an endless mine of personal data — where you travel, what you buy, etc. — for Beltway bureaucrats to pore over (and identity thieves to exploit; just wait until that $10,000 bill for computer gear you never bought shows up in the mailbox… . ).
Privacy advocates have been up in arms since the idea was first broached after the 9/11 attacks — and rightly observed that homegrown terrorists like Timothy McVeigh had perfectly in-order “papers” — including legitimate driver’s licenses. A National ID would not have stopped the Oklahoma City bombings — or prevented Mohammed Atta from boarding the 767 that flew into Tower 1. And anyone who believes it will prevent or even put a dent in the endless truckloads of illegal aliens entering this country from Mexico has been guzzling the Kool-Aid. Millions of them are already working and living and driving their cars (often without insurance or even legal title) without so much as a fare-thee-well. What makes anyone think they will suddenly line up for a National ID card?
Interestingly, several states are showing more guts than most of us (or at least, more self-interest). Maine, Georgia, Wyoming, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state have either passed legislation objecting to the federal Real ID Act — or seem poised to do so. It’s not that they’re looking out of us, though. They’re looking out for their bottom lines. Estimates of compliance costs run to $11 billion and more — big money, even at the federal level; huge coin for states with entire budgets that are smaller than that.
But we — you and me — have a more profound interest at stake.
At a certain point that’s hard to define before it confronts us, we must each be ready to take a principled stand and say — “no.” This is unacceptable. I will not comply. Politely; without violence. But firmly. It is a question of right vs. wrong. The “law” be damned.
It is what made this country possible in the first place (the American Revolution was set off by obnoxious tax edicts from the English crown and parliament), helped it to self-rectify egregious historical wrongs (slavery comes to mind; then Jim Crow) and which has served, for more than 200 years now, to keep Washington from over-stepping its bounds.
A people no longer able to get its back up; no longer willing to take a stand when something really important is on the line — is a people that is ready for fingerprints and optical scans.
Are we such people?
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