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10/29/2002 Archived Entry: "Back once more..."
Having recovered from both a wonderful but exhausting vacation and the backlog of work it created, I am blogging once more. Blogward, blogward into the breach...
That is the political issue I intend to pursue with increasing diligence in the coming months (and, probably, years), consistent with fulfilling all the rather daunting obligations I've accumulated. So many personal freedoms are under vigorous attack that it is necessary to specialize. Moreover, looking at the "big picture" leaves me with a sense of being overwhelmed by the speed with which liberties are shrinking in the face of panic, paranoia, warmongering, and political opportunism.
I have often disagreed with gun right advocates on one point. It is common for them to argue that gun rights are the first line of defense against a totalitarian state, both in terms of preventing one from evolving and of protecting personal freedom if one exists. I think privacy is the first line of defense. It is also an issue that I don't see discussed as often as freedom of speech or other causes close to my heart.
And, so, privacy will be the political theme of my blog. To that end...
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 contains an overlooked amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. That amendment requires public high
schools to turn over students' names, addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters. (Selective Service registration is already a requirement for obtaining a number of federal benefits, including student loans, job training, government jobs, and citizenship for male immigrants.) Now, the mere act of going to kindergarten becomes a *de facto* registration with the Selective Service.
Meanwhile, the Food and Drug Administration has made the curious and surprising decision to permit the use of implantable ID chips in humans. The chip manufacturer Applied Digital Solutions has been given the green light to use the Verichip, without FDA regulation, for "security, financial and personal identification or safety applications." The manufacturer declares, "VeriChip can enhance airport security, airline security, cruise ship security, intelligent transportation and port congestion management." Most forms of extended travel require a government ID as it is. Perhaps, in the foreseeable future, no one will be able to board an airplane, boat, or train without an implanted ID chip.
Before going on vacation, I also raised some non-political concerns in the blog: to wit, the severe harassment I've experienced in the last few years from an individual who should be firmly in my past, not in my present and certainly not in my future. If the harassment is over -- as it may well be -- I'm content for this to be my last statement on the subject.
Although privacy is a political theme I'm pursuing, I want to continue being personal in the blog as well because I have come to value people knowing who I am as a human being. It has been important to me in the libertarian movement and everywhere else in my life to *not* break my word, to *not* borrow or owe money, to always deliver on a contract, to never purposely be cruel... That is to say, although I wish to further very specific political values -- e.g. personal freedom, social tolerance -- I also want specific personal values to flourish. They include keeping my word, respect for reason, and the enjoyment of diversity. Perhaps the best way to further these personal values is to express them, not only in political terms but personally as well.
Perhaps this is my version of preaching morality as well as politics.
My best to you,