Look What I Got for Three Hours, Six Security Checkpoints, and $82...

Recently by Simon Black: Why You Need a Second Passport

If you’ve followed this letter for any length of time, you know that I tend to roam around the world with great frequency; we’ll typically have these conversations across 40 to 60 countries in 6 continents over a year’s time.

Lots of international travel means lots of silly stamps, seals, and stickers to fill up the visa pages in my passports. Even though I have multiple passports, they tend to fill up within 18 months or so given my travel schedule.

My current US passport, for example, was issued last February while I was in Thailand. By late summer, there was barely a single square inch of space remaining, so today I had the unfortunate displeasure of heading down to the US consulate in Cape Town to have them insert more pages.

Each time I’m forced to demean myself in this way – sitting around those sterile government waiting rooms and filling out useless paperwork only to justify the salary of some bureaucrat – I have plenty of time to reflect on the nature of this system.

You see, for hundreds, even thousands of years, people moved about the earth without any bureaucracy whatsoever. Just like the African elephants I encountered last week who roam freely between Botswana, Zambia, and DR Congo, people too used to travel freely without worrying too much about invisible lines on a map.

Even up until World War I when boundaries between empires were clearly defined, people could still cross borders without the need of a passport.

After the war, some do-gooders at the League of Nations decided that we couldn’t have all those people traveling freely without government intervention… so they sponsored a series of conferences aimed at designing an international travel document, and worked to establish global border checkpoint protocols that required having one.

Of course, all of this bureaucracy is dressed up to make it sound like it’s for our protection. On the first page of my US passport, for instance, it says:

“The Secretary of State of the United States of America hereby requests all whom it may concern to permit the citizen/national of the United States named herein to pass without delay or hindrance and in case of need to give all lawful aid and protection.”

Sounds nice enough, right? It sure is great to know the government has our back to make sure we’re safe and sound.

What a total farce. The passport isn’t about the State Department “protecting” us anymore than Homeland Security fondling 4-year-old girls at the airport. It’s about control.

Why else would they implant RFID chips inside passports, or require biometric data like fingerprints and iris scans? These are all things that have significant costs… but absolutely zero benefit to taxpayers.

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