So I feel a sense of frustration when I hear someone like him promoting the virtues of a national id card. His line of argument is that everyone knows everything about you anyway because of the internet--so what does ‘privacy’ matter?
Or, The government knows everything there is to know about you anyway, and a national id card is an easy way to identify illegal immigrants.
Or, People against a national id card have a ‘romanticized’ vision of privacy.
My response to Mr. Prager’s thinking is manifold:
1. If the government knows “everything there is to know about us,” then we don’t need a national id card, do we? If everything is already “known” then why spend billions of dollars on a needless technology?
The fact of the matter is that a national id card is, indeed, an advancement in the government’s ability to know, track, and manipulate. Otherwise, the government and certain talk show hosts would not be pushing for a change.
You’ve got to be honest enough to admit that a national id card (REAL ID) is truly an increase in the presence and power of the federal government.
Mr. Prager, if you’re going to extol the virtues of “limited government,” please apply your energies against a national id card! Such a card is a direct tether (or chain) from Washington to every American citizen. It doesn't take much imagination to see how liberals will want to attach and enforce arbitrary regulations with such an efficient technology. And you want to set up the infrastructure for it.
Can’t you see your inconsistency?
2. Do you believe that freedom is a “romanticized” notion? Are the Constitution and Bill of Rights obsolete? You see, the issue isn’t some nerdy notion of “privacy.”
The issue is freedom.
Freedom is lost in our philosophy/theory long before it's lost in practice. Philosophically, you think a big-government id card is a good idea. Your "freedom-thinking" is eroded, and you now want to put it into practice.
I cannot envision Washington, Madison, and Franklin sitting down and saying,
“Ok boys, let’s set up a free country!
The first thing we’re going to do is get everyone’s fingerprints so our central government can approve the individual's every job.
Oh... And let's set up an infrastructure to track their daily movements.
Sound like an idea worth dying for?
Great! Let’s go...”
If knowledge is power, then more knowledge is more power. The government wants to have more knowledge of everyone--hence it wants to grow in more and more power. Is this really that hard to understand? Are you for bigger or smaller government? It isn’t just a matter of taxes...
Surely you would draw the line on this issue somewhere.
Just where you draw it?
Should the government make everyone wear hats with video cameras in them so the DHS can watch our every move in first-person perspective? Obviously that’s a crazy idea. You think its crazy and unrealistic because you know that “We’ve got to draw the line somewhere!”
I just want to draw the line as close as possible to the ideals of the Constitution and our heritage of freedom.
Is that so crazy? Is that “romanticized” thinking?
3. Maybe the government needs to be trimmed back. If it already knows so much about us, wouldn’t it be better to try to beat the monster back a little? You seem to be falling into the thinking that says, “It is already bad--so let’s make it worse.”
Maybe we should be trying to correct a current problem, not throwing up our hands in capitulation. Isn't this what your show's all about?
4. I think we need to explore the following questions: “What can the free market and legislators do to empower the individual to own, protect, and manage his own crucial, digital information and get the government out of our way?”
Also, Can we enact the “Fair Tax” so we don’t have to report our income to the government?
Shouldn't we privatize Social Security so the money belongs to the individual and is not some "trough" everyone can come to?
Can't we make sure that the government never owns or manages our medical information?
Shouldn't we find ways to build a firewall around the individual so that we are not all reduced to a digital collective?
I don’t have all the answers for these issues, but I think we all better explore them, PDQ.
5. I understand and support the fight against terror. But let’s not throw into the trash the very freedom we seek to protect. America's supposed to be about freedom. The terrorists want to destroy America. If we destroy freedom in order to fight the terrorists, I have to ask, “Just who is winning the war?”
6. I don't want the government to have more "easy" ways to intrude into my life. We used to think that any increase in government is inherently a decrease in the freedom of the individual. That's what conservatives used to say. I wish conservatives would hold true--and look down the road a bit.
So, my questions to you, Mr. Prager, are: “Do you value freedom? Do you believe that the Bill of Rights can survive in an age of terror and technology?
Or do you believe the great experiment is over?”