Mandatory National ID Cards….for our politicians

by | Sep 27, 2001

Crisis is good for statist-leaning governments such as ours because it affords them the opportunity to package new oppressions under the guise of needed security. Lately, we’ve been treated to the idea of a national ID card so our police can tell good guys from bad ones. Such a system will never, of course, be […]

Crisis is good for statist-leaning governments such as ours because it affords them the opportunity to package new oppressions under the guise of needed security. Lately, we’ve been treated to the idea of a national ID card so our police can tell good guys from bad ones.

Such a system will never, of course, be abused. Like all government programs it will be competently and economically implemented, and will, in fact, produce the desired results because it’s not motivated by profit. Indeed, it will be anti-profit in nature, like most government programs, making it more virtuous still. And thankfully, it will be a cinch to implement, especially if we behave ourselves and don’t blather on about erosion of our rights and other such irrelevancies.

Hell, Oracle’s Larry Ellison has even offered to give the government the needed software for free, on the grounds that we don’t have any freedom left anyway, so what’s the big deal? What patriotism. It’s been hours since I’ve seen an instance of “sanction of the victim.” He’ll probably get the Congressional Medal of Honor.

But there is a certain appeal in knowing things about people. Our politicians, with stunning novelty, imply that the danger is in the private sector, that they need to control the comings, goings, whereabouts, liaisons, toothpaste and whatnot of each of us. If they stamp out privacy, they can nab the thousand or so terrorists in our midst currently working to blow us to hell and back. And they can keep would-be murderers from coming over here and doing the same. A mere glance at their hologram IDs would tell a cop in a second what they were up to. And if they had no card to hand over, haul them away on treason.

Since only the unpatriotic would ever object to surrendering freedom, I have a proposal of my own: ID cards for politicians only.

I’m not implying our elected officials can’t be trusted, mind you. When was the last time you heard a politician lie? My suggestion is offered in the spirit of security and national unity. Imagine if we had a system compelling politicians to swipe their card through a reader every time they entered a building — any building, for any purpose. Suppose further this information were captured in some free Oracle database accessible by every voter.

Notwithstanding the hurdles of accessing Oracle databases, we’d have a beautiful way to track our servants in government. We could even tie their congressional voting record to their card and maybe get Larry Ellison to write free reports so we could read executive summaries of their legislative records and find out what we pay them to do. Maybe Ellison could even link in their email address book so we’d know who sends them birthday greetings.

Think of the reform it would bring to political campaigns. They would speak, we would listen, and we could easily compute their liar’s average — what they claim against what they did.

Of course no system is perfect, and it’s always possible through some freak accident that a congressperson could be implicated for something he or she was not involved in. We know, for instance, that upstanding congressional leaders charged with the responsibility of handling intelligence information would never enter the apartment building of an intern. A simple straight-faced denial and perhaps a self-administered lie-detector test is all that’s needed to get him off the hook.

Admittedly, there might be one or two bureaucrats over the period of a century who, for patriotic reasons, mind you, would abridge the card system for some unclean purpose — like deactivating a reader in a parking deck to meet foreign nationals for campaign donations, in exchange for some little thing they want.

To track people coming to politicians’ offices or other places of habitation, we could insist all visitors be issued temporary smart IDs. That way we’ll know where they’ve been and who they’ve been with. Isn’t that what you want of your kids?

There are some obvious flaws in my proposal, not the least of which is getting it passed into law. But since politicians are “putting everything out on the table” these days, why not one that would make them take notice?

George Smith lives in Atlanta where he is busy writing screenplays and articles on liberty. In addition to parenting, he enjoys staying fit, tomato gardening, and making the occasional "killer sandwich."

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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