An ass with a name -- well, a handle -- and he's probably late for a Bund meeting:
[In re "Getting Used To It Doesn't Make It Right"] "After reading your post and giving it thought I have this to say: You're a fool. You're a fool who believes that freedom has no price and no cost. You're a fool who believes that the ability to track or identify you will always be misused. You're a fool who has never suffered having their identity stolen, checks written in your name, your credit cards maxed out by someone else, or your life destroyed by massive loans in your name."
Freedom's worth is, in fact, immeasureable and all it costs is -- everything. But it is not "freedom" to be required to enter your name in a database, to be tracked by a number, to be misidentified and kept from travel, to be forced to carry papers at all times (see Hiibel and Joe Huffman's links about border finks). Ask the interned Japanese, ask all the men conscripted,* ask the women (and men!) hunted down by abusive exes via government databases, or ask any of the tens of thousands of people who have had their ID stolen thanks to carelessness on the part of petty bureaucrats. There are plenty of good ways for banks to verify their customers that do not rely on the heavy, halfwitted hand of government -- and unlike Big Brother, if I don't like the way one bank treats me, I can find another one more to my liking; to stay in business, they have to be responsive to the needs of their customers. Congress, not so much; the electorate will send back any half-baked alcoholic who can dress themselves four days in seven, or has a staff that will do it for them.
Government databases always get abused; only rarely in big ways, we can't all be dramatic anarchists, Gypsies, homosexuals and Jews headed for the death camps, brightly lit by the glaring light of hindsight, but the information is abused nevertheless. What's progressive income tax but a way to use a government database to punish the high-achieving?
And what did government do for you when your identity was stolen? Did they even say, "Sorry?" Did they give you a chance to beat the snot out of the person who did it -- or did they remand that individual to the courts, to gt a good scolding and spend some time being poorly housed and badly but regularly fed at your expense? Did they set the scamster to work to pay restitution? No? Well, hully gee, jimbo, it looks to me like the only thing government did for you was to be bigger and stankier than you, and that's small reason for admiration.
Meantime, one of my friends is all hot to start voting from the rooftops and wonders why I'm not. Well, gee, there's that whole "eating reg'lar" thing, not to mention not having to be on the run; there's those elections comin' up that promise to be a pretty interesting kicking-the-bums out; fianlly there's the fact that through the course of my life, the flame of freedom's been getting brighter -- oh, there's plenty more rats in and out of office trying to stomp it out, too; but we have think tanks and political parties and movements where all we used to ever get was the occasional small-government Republican candidate, usually mocked by his peers, and every once in a great while and usually at a lower level, a freedom-minded Democrat. The rest of 'em -- 99, 98% -- were bought and paid for before they ever got within smelling distance of a ballot and nearly everybody said that was how things ought to be.
They're not saying that any more. Why start shooting just when things are getting interesting?
* Look, if a country's not well-liked enough by those who live there that they can't maintain an armed force voluntarily, then they'd be better off getting out of the country business.
CHICAGO RAILROAD FAIR, 1948
3 days ago