DHS Secretary Chertoff on REAL ID's "COUNTLESS OTHER" USES.


Friday, August 10, 2007

"Are We a Free Country Anymore?" by Philip Johnston

Philip Johnston wrote a good article entitled Are We a Free Country Anymore?

It seems England leads the way in how a democratic society can abandon its ideals with amazing speed and incredible apathy.

Johnston invites us all to think again:
It is said, though less often now than it used to be, that the basis of English liberty is the rule of law, under which everything is allowed unless specifically prohibited. According to A.V. Dicey, the 19th-century constitutionalist, this was one of the features that distinguished England from its continental counterparts, where people were subject to the exercise of arbitrary power and were actions that where not specifically authorised were proscribed.

Effectively, this principle limited the scope of the State to intervene in people’s lives. Law set the boundaries of personal action but did not dictate the course of such action. Some limitations on personal freedom are introduced ostensibly for our own good and some, obviously, predate the Blair Government, such as the compulsory wearing of seat belts in cars and a requirement to wear a crash helmet on a motorbike; but, since 1997, the pace of proscription has grown alarmingly, encompassing smacking to smoking.

Another aspect of liberty is privacy. It may be hard to believe in a world where people crave televised notoriety that there are still many who cherish anonymity. In a truly free society it should be possible for someone who does not wish to come to the attention of the state to remain unnoticed provided he breaks no laws. As A. J. P. Taylor observed, before the First World War the average citizen’s interaction with the Government was largely limited to paying tax.

“He could live where he liked and as he liked,” the great historian wrote. “He had no official number or identity card. He could travel abroad or leave his country for ever without a passport or any sort of official permission.”

Of one thing he could be certain and that was the inviolability of his home. But recent research has uncovered 266 separate powers under which the police and other state agents can enter your home, often using force to do so.

The proliferation of state databases, again very much a recent development, has also rendered the concept of the private individual a thing of the past, and from the earliest age. We are, almost without realising it, becoming the most snooped-on democratic nation on earth, electronically tracked from cot to coffin, our most personal details to be stored for ever, all in the name of modernisation, efficiency and, we are told, our own good.

There's a lot more in Johnston's article, and I hope Americans will read it thoughtfully.

With my own party of self-proclaimed "conservatives" quickly following Britain's model, we should also be asking the same question Johnston is asking.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Dennis Prager Says It Well... But Fails to Apply His Thoughts Consistently

There is a lot of good stuff at Townhall.com. I enjoy listening to their radio personalities like Medved and Prager, although my personal philosophy and religion line up more closely with Al Mohler.

Recently, Dennis Prager had a great program entitled "Roosevelt and the Depression." He interviewed Amity Shlaes who wrote The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. I recommend that you listen to the interview.

However, what caught my attention was Mr. Prager's concluding thoughts. He was contradicting the view that expanding government power solves our problems. I thought his insights were terrific!

Here are a couple of excerpts of his comments--again in the context of growing government to address unemployment, health care, and revenue (taxes):
I have come to realize that there are two terrible things that tempt any human in terms of a society and the way in which we govern ourselves.

One is to fix things immediately without asking “What’s next?”
And a bit later:
“Let’s fix it now and not worry about the long term results.” Sure if you make an income tax, you could pay for more things. It was a 1% income tax when it was first passed. And now look at it today.

Well... So what does the left say? “The government is not big enough.”

We haven’t solved our problems, and the left’s answer is: “Well then, let’s make government even bigger.”

I am deeply concerned that fellow conservatives can make statements like these--and then turn around to promote the idea of a national identification card. And the folks at Townhall do promote a national id card: (here, here, and here.)

I want to say to Mr. Prager (and Mr. Medved), "After we implement a national identification infrastructre, 'What next? What, indeed, are the long-term results of implementing national id?'"

You may be trying to solve the problem of illegal immigration, but what you are doing is electronically "herding" all Americans into a massive and powerful expansion of government.

What next?

It doesn't take much imagination to answer that question. I can see how a national id card will make it easier for the central government to implement and enforce arbitrary rules over the lives of American citizens.

Why is it that conservatives cannot see that a national id card is not consistent with America's freedom, heritage, and Constitution?

Surely we can think through ways to fight illegal immigration and terror without:

1. A massive increase in government power,
2. An undermining of federalism,
3. An undermining of the 4th amendment,
4. An increased ability to track Americans in real-time,
5. An erosion of the presumption of innocence,
6. A radically increased ability to enforce arbitrary (future) rules,


7. Federal approval on whether you and I can earn money.

These things, I believe, are the long-term results. The "What Next?" effect.

I’m all for stemming the tide of illegal immigration. But I don’t want to throw our freedoms into the dump to do it.

There is nothing “conservative” about promoting a national id card.

If our friends at Townhall.com wish to promote one, they should abandon talking about their belief in “limited government.”

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Is This Where Republicans Want to Take Us?

Police want DNA from speeding drivers and litterbugs on database...

This is an issue in the UK, but what goes on around the world affects us--at least in our thinking. I honestly want to know if the so-called conservatives promoting national id cards, immediate employer verification, REAL ID, and biometric social security cards have thought about how far they are willing to go in undermining freedom?
Police are seeking powers to take DNA samples from suspects on the streets and for non-imprisonable offences such as speeding and dropping litter.

The demand for a huge expansion of powers to take DNA comes as a government watchdog announced the first public inquiry into the national DNA database.

Read more here.

Also, here is an example of home-grown "conservatives" promoting REAL ID.

Obviously, both Republicans and Democrats adore big-government power.