REAL ID by Any Other Name Stinks As Bad
During its decline from a republic to a democracy, lying Leviathan prattled about being a "government of, by, and for the people." But the beast increasingly forsakes that pretence as it continues sliding into tyranny.
One instance of the State's new and brutal honesty came last fall when Congress bailed out billionaires despite our overwhelming opposition. Another around that same time saw the criminals running New York City overturn a law on term-limits that voters had twice upheld. More than ever, government is of, by and for Our Rulers.
And then there's the Feds' dogged quest for a national ID card. Four years ago, these bozos tried to turn your driver's license into just such a monstrosity with their infamous REAL ID Act. This dictate required licenses to include "defined minimum data elements," most likely biometric identifiers such as fingerprints or retinal scans and RFID tracking chips. It would also make even more of our business contingent on the State's whims: before we entered a courthouse or opened a bank account, among other activities, we'd have to produce our REAL ID for a bureaucrat's approval — or rejection.
Congress passed this monumentally anti-constitutional legislation without even debating it, then deputized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement it. Reincarnated Nazi Michael Chertoff was Secretary of DHS; he spent much of his time — and millions of our taxes — trying to ram REAL ID down the nation's throat.
All our money bought him was the biggest revolt against DC's diktats since 1861. Departments of Motor Vehicles in many states vehemently objected to overhauling their systems just to please DHS; the governors of those states just as vehemently protested the enormous expense of said overhaul and waxed indignant about REAL ID's invasions of privacy. If anyone's gonna tyrannize Montanans or Mainers, by gum, it'll be their local masters, not Washington's overlords. Legislatures put teeth in the dissent as states passed resolutions and even laws against complying with REAL ID.
At this point, we might expect Feds who constantly bray about democracy, who eagerly slaughter their own serfs as well as foreign ones for its glory, to throw in the towel on a national ID. Have not the people spoken, indeed, shrieked, that they'll have nothing to do with this abomination? But Our Rulers never weary in their evil-doing. Nor do they hesitate to show us exactly how stupid they think we are. And so a litter of senators introduced the "Providing for Additional Security in States' Identification Act of 2009" (PASS ID) last week. Essentially, they stripped the name "REAL ID" off the old bill, slapped a new title on it, and tweaked a few of the details.
Just as they did with REAL ID, the Feds insist that PASS ID is not a national ID — oh, my, no. So what if every American has a uniform card that he must constantly show to government's goons? That's not a national ID, you silly citizen, you! If you were as wise as our legislators, you'd realize that both REAL and PASS ID are simply driver's licenses with "strong security standards." Or so say politicians who also assure us that they're bossing this democracy according to the will of the people. True, REAL ID had some "troubling aspects": it would have forced states to link their databases, which "could provide one-stop shopping for identity thieves and the backbone for a national identification database." But "PASS ID addresses those privacy … concerns..." Thus do its sponsors hallucinate about the differences between two identical bills while figuring they've snowed us yet again.
PASS ID does depart from REAL ID in one important aspect: it bribes the states to cooperate with a whole lot more of our taxes. Remember the indignant governors, grousing about REAL ID's violation of our rights? Surprise: that no longer troubles them a-tall. Indeed, members of the National Governors Association so pant to push their hot little hands more deeply into our pockets that they now support REAL—er, PASS ID.
PASS ID also thoughtfully eases the burden on DMVs. Bureaucrats there need not curtail their three-hour lunches nor keep their feet on their desks past 3:30 each afternoon as they bring their little fiefdoms into compliance. But you and I will still be jumping through REAL ID's hoops as we seek to satisfy the DMV numbskull that our birth certificates are authentic and we live where the State's records say we do. Of course, the approximately 423 documents that substantiate such claims already reside on various government computers, but unless you bring a copy with you for the numbskull, you'll be walking rather than driving to work. Actually, you may still be walking even if you produce every single paper the numbskull demands: after paying PASS ID's higher taxes, who'll have money left for licenses that cost many multiples of their former price?
Naturally, Our Rulers have our best interests at heart as they impose this totalitarianism. They repeatedly cite "the 9/11 Commission's recommendation to enhance the security of driver's licenses" as though anyone other than the stooges on Leviathan's payroll gives said Commission an iota of credibility. Heck, even some of the stooges damn the Commission, especially those it set up as fall guys for the Fed's role that tragic day.
Our Rulers also aver that PASS ID "helps fight terrorism" despite experts' frequent refutations. "Going back to 9-11," says Bruce Schneier, author of Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World, "every one of those terrorists had an ID. Some of them had forged IDs, some used their real name, and some of them got real IDs with a fake names [sic] by bribing a motor-vehicles clerk." Nor is this just one man's opinion. International consensus notes the missing link between ID and security: "Harvey Mattinson, a consultant at the information technology arm of GCHQ [Government Communication Headquarters — ‘one of the three UK Intelligence Agencies'], said that the only real value of identity cards would be to help state bodies share information about people."
No wonder Leviathan obsesses over ID. "State bodies" not only "share information" about us, they also pin our names to our addresses so that we are easy to find and fine. The State's usual motive for its crimes — money — explains its lust to identify us, too. Linda Lewis-Pickett, president and CEO of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, "think[s] each state agency has looked at DMVs as revenue generators — 'Come in and pay taxes and give us money.'" After we pay those taxes, the drivers' licenses and plates those DMVs dispense generate further revenue when officials track us to a billing address.
There's a further benefit in matching names with citizens: it controls us and quashes dissent. Few patriots are brave enough to speak out against Leviathan's evil when its lackeys can respond, "Papers, please." Perhaps that's why the Constitution empowers government merely to count citizens but never to identify them — unless they vote in Congress (Art. I, Sec. 7) or run for the presidency (Art. II, Sec. 1). It is rulers, not us, who must identify themselves lest they wreak wickedness against us (Art. I, Sec. 7).
Which brings us to the author of the REAL ID Act, Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI). None too happy that we've scrapped his legacy, this heavy-handed dunderhead thundered, "Maybe governors [who objected to REAL ID] should have been in the Capitol when we knew a plane was on its way to Washington wanting to kill a few thousand more people." Sensenbrenner also snarls that PASS ID, REAL ID's twin even if it lacks his name on its legislation, sends us "right back to where we were on Sept. 10, 2001."
Would that it did.
June 26, 2009
Becky Akers [send her mail] writes primarily about the American Revolution.
Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.