More Than Just Your Papers, Please . . .

Do we live in a police state?

What other state forces non-criminals to submit to fingerprinting in order to obtain permission to drive?

Or merely to exist?

The state of Texas does. So do the states of California, Georgia and Colorado. Soon, the entire UnitedState (singular usage, in the interests of editorial accuracy)  is likely to require it. Indeed, already does – under the auspices [amazon asin=B00APADSUE&template=*lrc ad (left)]of the REAL ID Act, passed back in ’05 by the Heimatsicherheitsdeinst.

That’s Homeland Security, in English.

But it amounts to the same thing.  [amazon asin=B00JUAJNIQ&template=*lrc ad (right)]

Like Clover overtaking a garden, this business is spreading across the land. It’s been pruned here and there – for the moment – but the general trend is depressingly clear. Within a decade, at most, it will probably be impossible – legally – for any person in this country to avoid being fingerprinted. Perhaps also retina scanned and DNA swabbed, for good measure.

Under the USA Patriot Act (gag me – and hopefully gag you, too) the state of Michigan (and other states) requires over-the-road truckers not merely to be fingerprinted but also that they submit to a background check once [amazon asin=B00DDZS358&template=*lrc ad (left)]every four years, if they wish to be able to transport “hazardous” materials. That is, to be able to work. See here.

How does all this make you feel?


The state will – does – claim that forcing people to queue up like cons and submit to being “inked” is merely (here it comes) for their own good. To protectthem against identity fraud and so on. But what has this to do with driving?[amazon asin=0990463109&template=*lrc ad (right)]

Oh. I forget. We do not have a right to drive. That is, to freely travel. We are allowed the conditional privilege to operate motor vehicles which we’re similarly allowed to possess – for awhile – providedwe abide by various conditions (and continue to pay the requisite fees). If we wish to travel by motor vehicle, we must accept the state’s terms and conditions. That is the reasoning.

It’s silly reasoning, of course. As well as vicious reasoning.

Vicious, because being (legally) unable to travel freely is a denial of a very basic human right. How is it possible that anyone not entirely asleep at the switch can entertain the idea that he’s a free man if he’s not free to come and go as he pleases, without the state’s permission?

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