A Short Course in Clearing Customs

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One of the most hateful things about America are the petty bureaucrats. Even the police in America have become the enemy of the people. In this article Doug Casey looks at the bureaucratic numbskulls who clear us through customs. What are they looking for?

How many of us know that the tiny strips inside the new U.S. currency can be read by sensing devices that are discretely situated in the customs areas of most airports?

Are the customs agents looking for bombs, or escaping loot? Whatever they’re looking for, they are looking rudely.

In this article Doug Casey corners the soul of the customs agent and finds it tiny.

I suspect many, even most, people resent being herded like cattle into lines in order to be interrogated, have their baggage rifled and have their government-issued papers stamped. But, in years of watching my fellow citizens being processed, I find it rare that any have other than an ingratiating smile for the agent.

Clearly, most Americans are whipped dogs, ready and willing to have a cavity search performed on their person if some nothing-nobody in a uniform sends them to a back room.

It’s part of a general process causing Americans to lose whatever self-respect and individuality they might still have-which was the main thing that’s always distinguished them from nationals of other countries, most of whom are inured to acting like sheep.

I suggest you study your body language, and that of others, when next you clear customs. Here are a few practical suggestions. Do these, and you’ll feel better about yourself:

Don’t cringe and supplicate. Stand tall, look the agent straight in the eye and, under no circumstances, smile. Your demeanor should not be, like most, that of a child, afraid to be scolded. It should be that of an objective scientist studying a familiar but unappealing insect. Answer questions curtly, with a single word. Don’t volunteer anything. Don’t make small talk. Don’t make pleasant conversation like all the whipped dogs around you.

If the agent proves inquisitive, ask, in a firm and business-like way, exactly why he’s asking. If you get an unsatisfactory brushoff, ask to see the regulation authorizing them to ask you that specific question. Never lose your temper or cool. Don’t adopt an attitude, or be a hard case; you’re not looking for trouble. You simply want to maintain your space and integrity in a nonaggressive manner, which is quite enough to come out way on top. Never lie, or say anything from which you’ll have to backpedal. You don’t want to give them an opening to go on the offensive. It’s imperative to maintain the high moral and psychological ground.

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Doug Casey (send him mail) is a best-selling author and chairman of Casey Research, LLC., publishers of Casey's International Speculator.

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