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The Passport of the Future

View from the Mount

Sober Thought Provoking Essays

Treaties are like roses and young girls -- they last while they last
Charles De Gaulle

The Passport of the Future

Biometrics will track your movement
New Passports the end of travel

Every once in a while an issue surfaces that defies a nice neat and simple clear cut position. When the U.S. Congress set a deadline of Oct. 26, 2004 for upgrading passports and visas to include biometrics, most observers paid little attention. Surely, the idea that a behemoth of all data bases, that list and track individuals, smells sour from the get go. Experience proves all too well, that when a government, any government secures the effective method of advanced people control, the process will be unavoidable abuse.

That’s a strange way to put it - unavoidable abuse - because the entire notion of people control is so offensive and abhorrent to our basic sensibilities that it seems unthinkable to accept the concept. However, we all live in a real world that seldom respects the natural rights of individuals, let alone protect and strengthen those rights. Abstract postulations of how the world should be, rarely has much traction when the primary interests of the State are threatened.

 While the debate over the need for the establishment of the State is endless, the reality of its power is overwhelming.  Market anarchism proponents hold that their perspective is a continuation of the natural law ideal, taking it to its logical extreme. In principle the idea is appealing, logical and noble. Consider how Joshua Holmes conceives the concept: “Under the classical republican ideal, the state is the protector of the rights of men. The state provides those services needed to secure rights – police, courts, defense – and the people in exchange pay taxes for those services. Where market anarchists dissent is that the state shuts down the market for competition in those services (violating the right to liberty) and extracts payment for the services it does provide under threat of violence (violating the right to property). Instead we argue that even the services of police, courts, and defense, even the provision of the law itself, should be voluntary, no different from choosing a phone company.”

As stated the tenets are a reflection of an ideal. Much of what we propose and ascribe emulates a better moral way of life. So we have no objection to strive to achieve the impossible. However; as long as people organize themselves into societies, the practice of administrative government will take some kind of shape and form. While it may not be intellectually inevitable that the State must be created, it certainly is the first order of business for a species burdened with a flawed and corrupt nature and amoral in practice, at best.

Into this dilemma the question arises: Does the State has a duty to administer an efficient system of  border entry? We pose the inquiry as an issue of foreign access, and readily accept the universal right of a person to leave any jurisdiction. Of course the practical issue of where can one go, emerges.

Citizenship is usually affirmed by location at birth.  Since governments reserve their own standards for foreigners to apply for nationalization, it certainly follows that a society is well within their own interests to ban any factions that may pose a risk to that community. Exclusion is healthy and often is the only practical method to preserve the identity and integrity of a particular way of life. Therefore, keeping out undesirables is desired.

The basic method that will be utilized, uses the following technology. “Biometric systems reduce patterns in a person's fingerprints, irises, faces, voices or other characteristics to mathematical algorithms that can be stored on a chip or machine-readable strip.

When arriving travellers put their fingers into biometric scanners or stand in front of face-recognition cameras, a computer will check whether the patterns it detects match the ones the subjects gave when they were first scanned. The system also will check whether visitors appear on watch lists of suspected terrorists or are immigration violators.”

Obviously, this intrusion violates our desire to remain anonymous to a faceless, yet omnipresent ‘Big Brother’. This assessment is a given and need not be analyzed. Nonetheless, the issue that persists is an urge to impose harsh restrictions on the unwanted, while maintaining the freedom of voluntary association and globe-trotting for the ‘civil libertarian’ privileged.

The rub comes with certainty that governments want reciprocal treatment. With the recognization of uniform globalism, the International Civil Aviation Organization, a Montreal-based United Nations agency that sets travel standards, presents the Catch - 22. Any astute person will admit that regulations are designed for compliance from law obeying persons. Criminals, spies, terrorist and politicians ignore the rules made for ordinary people.

As the Brits would say: “in order to sort this out”, let’s face the harsh reality of this impasse. Equality among all peoples of the world is rubbish. Using visas to apply for temporary entry is valid and necessary. Obtaining the franchise to visit the United States should become far more difficult. Have you been on an international flight lately?  Why allow “we are the world” to be played on our head sets? Instead of compelling Americans to register for the cattle cars, fumigate the herd and cut out the unsound. Reduce visas by 90% and issue only to societies that demonstrate a heritage and appreciation of civilization.

If it means that as an American, we will be restricted or banned from international travel because a foreign country places unacceptable demands, we should vote with our feet and remain in the States. After all, when was the last time that a foreign country refused our money?

The real culprit is the U.S. government and its enthusiasm to destroy the liberty of our own fellow citizens. A nation must be willing to defend its borders.  A nation must maintain a common language. And a nation must preserve its founding heritage and cultural tradition. Assimilation that results in sovereignty dilution is suicidal.

Biometric registration for foreigners may well make sense. But induction of our citizens into a DARPA database as a condition of exiting Oceania is obscene. Americans enjoy the covenant of individual liberty . . . endowed by their Creator . . . Government’s only rightful purpose is to respect that liberty, while serving the populist. Citizens have domestic rights that foreigners do not possess. Our choice is clear. Demand that we are protected, even at the cost of having our worldwide travel denied by alien countries. But resist any prerequisites to be tagged as a digital domesticated and trained canine. Forget about being fair and treating the rest of the world as equals. Protect America First and preserve our own liberty.

SARTRE - August 26, 2003

Who could deny that privacy is a jewel? It has always been the mark of privilege, the distinguishing feature of a truly urbane culture. Out of the cave, the tribal teepee, the pueblo, the community fortress, man emerged to build himself a house of his own with a shelter in it for himself and his diversions. Every age has seen it so. The poor might have to huddle together in cities for need's sake, and the frontiersman cling to his neighbors for the sake of protection. But in each civilization, as it advanced, those who could afford it chose the luxury of a withdrawing-place.
Phyllis Mcginley

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