A Nation of Cringing Wretches

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I’ve yet to be fingerprinted. Probably you’ve never been fingerprinted, either. In fact, the majority of Americans (excepting those who volunteered for the military or who’ve applied for a concealed weapons permit – both voluntary choices) have likely never been “inked.”

And for good reason.

You used to have to break the law – and usually, a pretty serious law – to end up fingerprinted.

At least, that’s the way things used to be.

Soon, however, we may all be required to submit not merely to being fingerprinted – but perhaps also be forced to allow our retinas to be scanned, possibly our DNA itself catalogued.

If we want to renew or get a driver’s license, anyhow.

The federal Real ID Act is why. It specifies that new, “enhanced” licenses with biometric tags be issued to all people seeking a new license, or renewing one. The implementation date has been pushed off a bit – and a few states are balking a little – but the Long March toward the inevitable continues. These new “enhanced” licenses will become our new de facto national ID cards. In addition to the biometric info about ourselves that will be sampled and collected, the IDs themselves will also be able to track our movements in real time via miniaturized Radio Frequency ID (RFID) transmitters built into them. This is not science fiction – or paranoia. The technology exists; the “biometric” tags are already in use – and the Real ID Act is very real indeed.

Of course, this Real ID business is all about “protecting” us from everything and everyone except the increasingly Stasi-like depredations of our own government. Like the TSA gate rapes, the true purpose of these “enhanced” IDs and the associated rigmarole is about slave training – about conditioning the masses to tolerate, then accept, being treated like common criminals – duly registered, catalogued and easy to be kept track of. That people don’t get this – and react with outrage – is itself an outrage.

Or ought to be.

And we’ll be kept track of by more than merely the government. Private corporations – the other half of the tag team that’s slamming us into the pavement – is licking its chops at the prospect of being able to compile extensive dossiers on each and every one of us. Where we go and when, what we buy and how – in order to better “target” us as consumers. If that sounds innocuous, keep in mind that unlike the government – which must still at least pretend to abide by a few threadbare legalisms regarding what information it may collect and how such information may be shared and used, private corporations labor under no such restrictions. Indeed, the government may (and in fact, has) used private corporations to brazenly (and with impunity) skirt the law; the private company collects the info – and turns it over to the government. (Recent disclosures about ISPs providing details about customers’ surfing habits and e-mails being one case in point; another being the wholesale giving over of phone records – and so on.)

A secondary effect of the Real ID Act is that once we have these IDs forced upon us, we will be compelled to produce them in order to transact business, open a bank account, enter public buildings, travel on commercial carriers – etc. It will literally be a new America – one in which, “your papers, please!” is no longer a phrase spoken by Brownshirts of a long-gone era but a depressing reality of everyday life in post-9/11 America – where by any standard the “terrorists” have most definitely “won.”

9/11 opened a window into the soul of America, all right. And it laid bare the soul of a cringing, beaten dog with its tail tucked between its legs. Ready – eager — to submit to its master’s voice. The test case was the TSA and the oddly-named Department of Homeland Security, which sounds like something right out of 1939 Germany.

Didn’t they lose the war?

Never mind.

We’ve accepted – in the name of “security” and the “war on terror” – being physically felt up by TSA goons, allowing routine rifling of our personal possessions, at random – without any pretext or probable cause whatever. Ditto warrantless (and probable-cause-less) wiretaps, “renditions,” torture (sorry Hermann, for hanging you – the times were different back then) and, most recently, a full frontal assault on the last vestiges of the rule of law in the form of executive branch assertion of the right to commit extra-judicial murder of American citizens.

The Decider dee-cided. And we abided.

What else will we accept?

Apparently, anything.

And everything.

Reprinted with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.

Eric Peters [send him mail] is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his website.

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