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02/23/2005 Archived Entry: "Claire and the need for ID"

Claire Wolfe has a fascinating blog entry about her quest to avoid becoming a "government number" rather than a free human being. Her entry was inspired by Brian Doherty's recent and excellent Reason article The Beast is Back: "Real I.D." for an all too real world which analyzes H.R. 418, the "Real I.D. Act". (For earlier McBlog analysis of HR 418, please see entries A Class Above the Law and Ron Paul on HR 418.

Claire raises an interesting point. Travel is still officially considered to be a "right" and not a government privilege. That's one reason why internal passports have not been required to travel within the States unlike the practices imposed by the Soviet Union and other totalitarian states. The choice of an individual to relocate from state to state is (still) not considered to be a governmental matter. Politicians would undoubtedly maintain that it is the right of a peaceful citizen -- God, I *hate* that word but it's the one they'd use -- to travel unmolested in their own country. BUT, by controlling the means of travel, they can utter such a pronouncement and make it mean nothing at all in terms of the freedom people enjoy. Sure, you can travel! But without our approval -- that is, without a piece of government ID for which you have to qualify -- you can't get on a plane, you can't board a train, you can't drive a motor vehicle. And, even when you are walking, the police recently acquired a legal 'right' to stop you and demand your identity. Don't have the proper government card proving who you are? -- then you might well be detained on suspicion of being suspicious. It is through the current need to travel for necessities such as work, family, groceries that the government will be able to impose national IDs, tracking systems, biometrics, etc. on its citizenry The good news is that the citizenry will be the last to suffer the ultimate indignity of becoming a number, a piece of government inventory. First, it will be imposed on immigrants, law-breakers and all others who are more vulnerable than the citizen next door. This is happening already with the fingerprinting of most foreigners at the border and the use of tracking devices on some cases of criminals or parolees. The right to travel, as a practical reality rather than a political principle, is dead in North America.

And, yet, some brave souls struggle on. From the bottom of my cynical heart, I wish them well. Make sure to check out the discussion on "The Claire Files" BB where members advise Claire on how she can bypass the requirement to register a vehicle and (most of all) herself as the price of being able to travel to town for the supplies she needs on a regular basis.

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