Monday, May 06, 2002

Eric Peters on National I.D. on National Review Online is, well, wrong. First of all, most of the things he warns of--loss of privacy, easy tracking, etc.--are already out of the barn. But airport security is almost as big a joke as the INS.

Without some fast, accurate and reliable system in place to allow eliminating the negatives, those people for whom there is no reason to be concerned, it will be impossible to 1. return to normal air travel; 2. track aliens who violate their visas or otherwise need watching; 3. keep an eye on known criminals and terrorists. Of course, someone will say that such aims are incompatible with a free and open society. If that's true, then we can just toss in the towel right now, because we have no faith in our system or those we hire to protect us. It's like having a bodyguard who you're sure is out to get you, so you avoid him.

The big myth driving all of this is that the FBI wants to keep dossiers on all of us. This is just nuts. Does anyone think these people don't have enough real work to do? Or that they have the means and methods that would allow such a thing, even if they had the personnel to do it?

The recurring nightmare of 1984 and Brave New World is just not possible in a country with as many nervous nelly judges as the United State. If we were in France, however, . . .


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