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Monday, January 05, 2004

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Does it bring us one step closer to the "mark of the beast"? Perhaps it's just your knowledge of the impact on your life from governmental ineptitude, with the potential of taking it to a much higher level when they administer a
+280 million record database that includes your vital statistics. The thought of bureaucrats controlling what I could and could not do based on my security card and what would happen if (God forbid) you lose it and need a new one, could give someone the willies.

The current Wired magazine has an interesting article on how security cards can be tied in with fingerprints, so that the card would contain your vital information, but only your fingerprint correlation would allow someone access to certain parts of information.

THe first thing that springs to mind is the old Soviet Union and their identity cards which included, among other things, the religion of the bearer. Being identified as a Jew (and maybe a Christian too) meant you were screwed, of course.

That's kind of an emotional reaction too, though: Anything the commies thought was a good idea is a bad idea.

But the second thought I have, less emotionally, is that the notion of an identity card seems to turn the whole notion of the United States on its head. The government derives its power from the consent of the governed. The government should have to identify itself to us (with badges, uniforms, and official ID cards) and not the other way around. Making us carry an identity card says to me: the government presumes you are not who you say you are and you must carry this card at all times (and you know that's how it will work) to prove that you are YOU.

Unless accused of some sort of offense against the state, we should never have to prove our identity to the government.

But how would a national ID card differ from a driver's license? I mean I can see that from a theoretical standpoint, a driver's license is the price you pay for the priviledge of driving (There is, of course, a whole other kettle of libertarian worms there.), but practically, the vast majority of the population is already carrying a government mandated ID card. In what way would we be less free if the minority who don't drive also had to get cards and the card was issued by the Federal government rather than the states?

That's my problem. I have a visceral reaction to the idea, but when I ask myself, "How would we be less free?" I can't seem to come up with a good answer.

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