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Darcean
12-13-04, 06:14 PM
http://www.infoshop.org/inews/stories.php?story=04/12/13/4053222

"Your Papers Please"

December 9, 2004

US adopts National ID: Homeland Security Now In charge of Regulations for all US States Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates

By: Jonathan Wheeler

In a chilling act more reminiscent of the now defunct Soviet Union or the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler, the United States Congress passed legislation yesterday that requires the States to surrender their regulatory rights over drivers licenses and birth certificates to The Department of Homeland Security. The massive US Intelligence Reform Bill weighed in at over 3,000 pages and though unread by individual Members of either the House or Senate nevertheless passed all of the legislative hurdles needed in order to become law President Bush lobbied hard for these provisions, only objecting when Senator Sensenbrenner attempted to require these same provisions for illegal aliens but which the President opposed. This provision was dropped from the final bill.

Beginning in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security will issue new uniformity regulations to the States requiring that all Drivers Licenses and Birth Certificates meet minimal Federal Standards with regard to US citizen information, including biometric security provisions.

Added to currently existing Federal Laws and Supreme Court rulings American citizens when born will be issued a Social Security Number that will be included on their Birth Certificates, along with DNA biometric markers. All birth certificates will also be registered in a Federal Government database maintained by the Department of Homeland Security. No child will be allowed enrollment to schools or be entitled to either State of Federal Government benefits programs without first presenting a certified Homeland Security registered Birth Certificate .Drivers Licenses will also contain DNA biometric markers and include the holders Social Security Number and be required for receiving and applying for all State and Federal benefits programs.

Previous Supreme Court rulings have also upheld State and Federal Law Enforcement authorities right to request Identification from any American citizen, for any reason and at any time as not being violations of their, the citizens, constitutionally protected rights. Major Banks and credit card companies have applauded the adoption of a National ID system as being important to counter fraud and increasing instances of identity theft. National ID cards with biometric markers will eliminate them from having to issue Credit and Debit cards, which for the first time in US history have surpassed the usage of checks and cash. Utilizing The Department of Homeland Securities centralized federal database, Banks and credit card companies will only require the presentation of a citizens Driverís License to make purchases as all of the persons financial information, including credit and cash balances, will already be known in ~real-time~. (The combining of Homeland Security and Banking databases on citizenís balances and purchases, along with their past and present purchasing information, has been allowed under previous Federal Laws including the Patriot Act.)

Also included in this bill is a law to require The Department of Homeland Security to establish a separate ID system for citizens to use prior to boarding airplanes, and which is eerily reminiscent of the Soviet and Nazi regimes dreaded Internal Passport. Never before in our history have the words of Benjamin Franklin been so correct when he stated: "people willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both".

Today, December 9, 2004 will be one of those moments in time that future historians will look back on and pin point as being the day that the United States of America, as it was founded by its forefathers, ceased to exist.

Meddik
12-13-04, 06:35 PM
Cool, Godwin's law in the first line.

I skipped the rest.

Llabak Tharr
12-13-04, 06:46 PM
Today, December 9, 2004 will be one of those moments in time that future historians will look back on and pin point as being the day that the United States of America, as it was founded by its forefathers, ceased to exist.

Go go gadget hyperbole!

Soulstealer
12-13-04, 07:30 PM
hageln meinen fŁh∑rer!

http://www.geocities.com/bryansworld/bushhitler2.jpg

This is the first step to Gatica, everyone using a id marked with your DNA code...

National ID cards with biometric markers will eliminate them from having to issue Credit and Debit cards, which for the first time in US history have surpassed the usage of checks and cash. Utilizing The Department of Homeland Securities centralized federal database, Banks and credit card companies will only require the presentation of a citizens Driverís License to make purchases as all of the persons financial information, including credit and cash balances, will already be known in ~real-time~.

Takes me back to that song "somebodys watchin, doot do doo do do, i always feels like somebodys watchin me"


also makes me think, with a national id, based on your SSN, linked to your bank account, All they have to do is implement it as a RFID chip saying it will stop "identity theft" since its IN you...

"He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name"

:tinfoil



oh and on the lighter side--
"whoever points out that Godwin's Law applies to the thread is also considered to have "lost" the battle, as it is considered poor form to invoke the law explicitly"

so can i officially refer to Meddik as looser for the rest of this thread? :P

Lenilya
12-13-04, 07:55 PM
But dude, there were some awesome deals to be had once you had taken the mark! Wallmart was selling DVD players -and- the laborers that put it together for ten bucks!

ciba
12-13-04, 09:20 PM
Today, December 9, 2004 will be one of those moments in time that future historians will look back on and pin point as being the day that the United States of America, as it was founded by its forefathers, ceased to exist.

Go go gadget hyperbole!

ROFL.

That america ceased to exist long ago.

Krimzan
12-13-04, 09:24 PM
omg meddik u r 2 cool for skool!

teh godwins law = not read lolol1!2!!1one

shehab aldean
12-13-04, 09:26 PM
why american are scared from national ID ?

can someone give me a reason ?
( and no , saying it take away your freedom without explaining why isn't an answer )

Nenjin
12-13-04, 09:31 PM
You just lost your evil dictator next door Shehab. You tell us, why we might be concerned about something like this.

Soulstealer
12-13-04, 09:41 PM
i dont think its the national ID itself, but what the goverment will use it for that the people are afraid of. Things like tracking a persons spending habits, and where they go, when they go. Thats a form of invasion of privacy in most peoples eyes. And how can you be truely "free" when big brother is watching everything you do, ready to pounce anytime he thinks you might be up to something out of the normal.

shehab aldean
12-13-04, 09:51 PM
You just lost your evil dictator next door Shehab. You tell us, why we might be concerned about something like this.

i don't know , we do have national ID system here in kuwait , and its good , and i don't see how its let us be nazi's

hell in the usa you pay tax , it MAKE BIG BROTHER KNOW HOW MUCH YOU GET AND HOW YOU SPEND !!

Nenjin
12-13-04, 10:24 PM
You have a national ID system as in.....a huge database with all your personal information and biometric ID cards that identify you by your DNA?


Or is it where they give you a piece of plastic with your name and picture on it?

shehab aldean
12-13-04, 10:49 PM
they have finger prints data base connected to it , and also by civil ID they can track where you work and most merchant are connected with another data base that use civil ID as key , so for them when they enter your civil id they can get other information about you ( like chevy dealership who when i bought a car from had all the information about me , like what bank i had account in and where i work )

biometric ID is just new stuff and we don't use new stuff that fast

ShadowCross
12-14-04, 05:52 AM
Any Shadowrun player should cringe at this.

SINs are just one step away from this... and the reference to RFIDs wasn't as bad either - this might actually be only a few years into the future.

Good thing we don't have Shadowrun magic yet - otherwise a nation-wide DNA-database would be DAMN scary.

Nocte
12-14-04, 06:35 AM
Credit card companies have been doing this for years. The government has always been one warrant away from accessing this data. I don't see the difference or the big whoop.

Lewt_Dembones
12-14-04, 07:22 AM
kuwait about the size/population of an avg US state

Aidden
12-14-04, 07:37 AM
Which means what?

National security and freedom only matter at a certain population level?

Can you let us all in on what that number is?

Riot Sio Zon
12-14-04, 07:48 AM
I am with you Shehab. I think overall it is a good thing. Anything can be abused, but that is a whole different matter.

Dragynphyre
12-14-04, 07:55 AM
Just better hope that someone like me, who would have access to that data if you did business with my company, was sufficiently paranoid to not violate her contract by using your personal information for her own gain.

Sort of like how I have Donald J. Trump's personal info, SSN, and bank account numbers on file, but am prohibited to use that information except for legitimate business reasons, under penatlty of fine and imprisonment.

Abuses will happen regardless of the system, because there are those that think they won't get caught.

Koru
12-14-04, 08:38 AM
To be honest the only thing that's making me go ouch about that is the DNA. I'd go ballistic if I were required to give any sort of DNA information to be used on a government ID card. Actually you couldn't do that in Iceland due to law, the Personal Information Protection Beaurau would throw a major fit and declare any such thing illegal and those guys do not play softball when it comes to health or biological information like DNA.

Meddik
12-14-04, 09:18 AM
I can't find a single credible news source that mentions anything about DNA, or biometric identifiers being required by this change to the laws.

maybe I'm searching on the wrong items in Google news, but I'm not finding anything from any legitimate media outlet that claims any DNA or biometric information will be encoded on the card when searching for "national id dna" "driver license DNA" "national id biometric" "driver license biometric"

The closest I come is this: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/09/politics/09license.html and it only mentions biometric related to other IDs, not for the driver's license.

I can find lots of editorials saying that its going to happen. I can find lots of quites by ACLU representatives saying its going to happen. But I can't find a single legitimate news story saying its going to happen.

Yeah, maybe It is scary. But so is Steven King. But both are fiction!

Lewt_Dembones
12-14-04, 01:21 PM
Which means what?

National security and freedom only matter at a certain population level?

Can you let us all in on what that number is?

with 290 million people there is more room for error

Telurinon
12-14-04, 02:02 PM
Good thing we don't have Shadowrun magic yet - otherwise a nation-wide DNA-database would be DAMN scary.

Material Link + Ritual Magic for the win! :)

ShadowCross
12-15-04, 09:32 AM
Today in the News:

The European Council of Ministers ruled that by the end of 2006 all new european passports must include a digitalized picture of the holder, and by the end of 2007 all new passports MUST include a digitalized set of your fingerprints.

Llabak Tharr
12-15-04, 09:48 AM
Alas, this marks the time when the Europe of our Forefathers ceased to exist as they knew it :(

Krimzan
12-15-04, 09:50 AM
^ :applaud

shehab aldean
12-15-04, 10:21 AM
none answered how you turn into nazi country by having a national ID

Emrys
12-15-04, 10:47 AM
As far as I'm concerned Shehab, the more power (information, data, etc) a governing body has over their people, the higher the chances are that they will use it against the people...human nature being what it is.

I'm not sure how I feel about all this stuff at the moment. On one hand, I don't care if the govt. knows when I take a piss, because A) I don't do anything "illegal" 99% of the time. (I guess that 1% can get ya though!)

And B) I'm not egotistical enough to believe that out of hundreds of millions of citizens, anyone is going to care enough, or be competent enough, to actually pay attention. Keep in mind, our govt. was still issuing visa's to the 9/11 hijackers after the fact...our govt. has a serious, serious deficiency in information gathering/organization/sharing/etc.

Of course, with the eventual help of serious tech advances and policy change, this could change in the future, so it can be argued that we should nip this type of Big Brother activity in the bud for our great-grandchildrens' sakes.

Anyway, it reminds me of an old coworker of mine. If I walked into her office in the lab and she had her email open or was writing something, she'd close it down and act all secretive. It always annoyed me because I thought to myself, "Do you honestly think I A) care, or B) have time to read and stick my nose into your correspondance?"

So anyway, I'm not sure that I care if the govt. knows my DNA sequence, or if I have a Natl. ID (already have a SSN, what's the difference?). On the other hand, I feel like I should care if for no other reason than the possibility that our govt. emerges from incompetence one day and truly becomes Big Brother. And then again, the whole "slippery slope" ideas annoy me too.

I look at, with equal disdain, the following ideas:

That if the govt. allows same sex marriage, it might slip further and we'll all the sudden condone polygamy or marrying a 12 year old child.

That if the govt. now assigns us Natl. IDs and keeps our DNA on record that eventually that might also slide into 24 hour surveillance and 1984.

In both cases, people (normally opposite crowds) argue that the line must be drawn "heeya!", because if we let up even a little, it could slip down the slope into our worst nightmares.

Now I don't have a LOT of faith in sense, intelligence, and human nature (esp. after this election.), but I see both extreme cases as being so remote in possibility that you have to just have faith that we aren't stupid enough to let things go that far.

But again, I'm conflicted, because I see a lot of SCARY things happening politically and religiously, so /shrug, who knows!

Krimzan
12-15-04, 10:54 AM
There are two, very key, differences between these two things:

That if the govt. allows same sex marriage, it might slip further and we'll all the sudden condone polygamy or marrying a 12 year old child.

That if the govt. now assigns us Natl. IDs and keeps our DNA on record that eventually that might also slide into 24 hour surveillance and 1984.

Ignoring the italic part, one of these infringes on rights, the other doesn't. It doesn't infringe upon your rights, nor does it affect you at all if someone else consentually marries two women. If someone marries a 12 year old, that infringes on the childs rights as they are not yet of the maturity level that our society has decided they need to be to become independant. If the government can, without warrent, spy on me and find out what I do, that infringes on my rights.

The only acceptable infringement of rights is to prevent someone else from infringing on a more basic right. I.E. it's ok to infringe on my right to beat someone over the head with a trash-can because I am infringing on their right to not have a wicked headache.

Emrys
12-15-04, 12:39 PM
Ok, fair point. The 12 year old child was a bad example. Perhaps I should have said, "Legalize sex with animals." That's illegal isn't it? Anyway, that's sort of beside the point. I know you've heard the anti-gay marriage crowd use the slippery slope argument as much as I have.

shehab aldean
12-15-04, 12:56 PM
so Emrys your only problem with national ID is goverment sliping into big brother ?

Emrys
12-15-04, 01:10 PM
Well, I didn't really say it was MY problem with it. I'm not terribly sure that I HAVE a problem with it in and of itself. I think what makes me nervous are the strides our grand administration is taking towards curbing privacy and freedoms in the face of "turrism".

I was just trying to explain what I've heard some other folks say about it, while at the same time, throwing my own conflicted, inane thoughts in there.

There's nothing to see here.

Krimzan
12-15-04, 02:23 PM
Shehab, one of the things that history proves is that if you want to prevent event 'D' try to find event 'A'.

Since we're on the topic of Nazi's, lets use that. Event 'D' would be the Nazi's getting ELECTED, and comming to power in Germany. So follow the steps back, and find out what caused that. Well, event A would probably have something to do with the state of Germany in the aftermath of WW I. You had a bunch of people who had nothing, were ignored by the world, and felt like they had nothing to lose when a charasmatic guy stepped up, told them what they wanted to hear, and started bringing order to chaos. It's really, actually, pretty easy to see how Jews started getting put in ovens if you follow each step along the way. Each step made sense at the time under the circumstances, but when you back up you realize this is almost unbelieveable and henuous.

This is why when watchdog groups see things that look like event A or B, they start making noise. The patriot act has already been used and abused and ruined the lives of some innocent American citizens. Any time you find yourself using the argument, "...I guess so, I have nothing to hide," you need to stop and take a better look at the situation.

Yeah, a centralized information source that contained all the information I needed to know, could identify me without error, could provide access to funds etc would be very useful. It would provide help to emergency services, law enforcement, every-day commerce, internet commerce, and many other things. That doesn't mean I would ever, ever want one though.

shehab aldean
12-15-04, 03:00 PM
Shehab, one of the things that history proves is that if you want to prevent event 'D' try to find event 'A'.


and who say event A lead us to D ?
why not say election is the devil , hey i hear people here argue that election are bad they brought the west hitler and israel sharon and usa bush jr , so its bad .
they look and see dubai florish and its leader called the " arabian knight" in forbs and such and talk about his wisdom and how he turned sand into paradise , and all that with dictatorship , we in kuwait elect a national parliment and we are now in worst condition ( i was just reading the coureption report about kuwait , published in a newspaper here )

and have you checked what information you can get about people in the usa ? its not normal , detailed everything , IRS alone would have a nice file about most people and what they get , here in kuwait there is no way in hell to find these kind of stuff , hell we still estimate our local GDP , beacause most persons do not have to report squat to the goverment

Trolo
12-15-04, 07:11 PM
omg meddik u r 2 cool for skool!

teh godwins law = not read lolol1!2!!1one

Thought the exact same thing. Thank you for putting it into the words I could not find.

It's funny how people who are devoted to "democracy" in this "great country of ours," never fail to entirely overlook its many downfalls. One being a political system that caters entirely toward an aristocracy, and in some extreme cases, quite resembles a totalitarian regime.

Drivers Licenses will also contain DNA biometric markers and include the holders Social Security Number and be required for receiving and applying for all State and Federal benefits programs.

This is entirely displeasing. No more welfare without a driver's license. A great system!

Fablar
12-16-04, 03:47 AM
Identity cards are in the news over here in the UK as well, i really should read up as to what is being proposed.
I really can't see a way to stop the centralisation of data due to communication & data technology advances. Either you end up with centralised data or you end up with centralised data AND lots of replicated data. It's the access, control and responisiblity of that data that is important and making 100% sure that things like the PATRIOT Act don't get into legistation (would never have made it it they hadn't found that acronym .... if it followed the trade descriptions act it would have been called the SCREWYOUYANKS Act). *shrug* The data's all there, it's just the access that's the issue.
My issue with Identity Cards is i'm not going to carry one. So whatever is on there is all well and good, but unless i have a reason to carry it (other than someone telling me to) then I won't. Yet many countries stipulate you have to have it on you at all times (including where i used to live - the police used to get annoyed with me as i never had my papers)

Concerning the A -> D with the Nazi party ..... Krimzan does have a point. One British General (can't remember name) came out of the Treaty of Versaille signing (German surrender terms at end of WWI) and said "This isn't a peacy treaty, it's a cease fire for 20 years". The only thing he was wrong on was it was 19 years not 20. He realised that the terms would put Germany in such a bad economic, security etc position that they would be forced back to war in 20 years. Just sometimes we have to see if the A -> B step is a risk or an implication of A happening.

Aura
12-16-04, 07:44 AM
ID cards as drivers' licenses - sure I'll agree with that. Hell, put my DNA on file. Its about the same as having my fingerprints on file - just without the classic frying-pan-identity-fix.

Here's what bothers me:

If we keep it at a driver's license, that's fine - there's a reasonf or it. But the moment it becomes one of those things that we're supposed to keep on us at all times, I start getting a few chills sent up my spine. The way the article sounds, these would be kind of IDs that INCLUDE a driver's license and a Social Security card, but aren't limited to by them. (By no means am I saying that this article sounds utterly credible... I agree with Meddik, Godwins law strikes this one hard.) If this ID card becomes ID just for the sake of identification, I can see legislation put forward to make it illegal to travel without one. The moment it becomes a crime to walk around outside with nothing but the clothes on my back, I'm moving to Australia.

...but perhaps I'm just being paranoid.

valar86
12-16-04, 09:03 AM
I might be wrong but doesn't the US military have a DNA database of all military personel that signed up after 9/11? I remember seeing a french documentary on 9/11 and the flow of new recruits, they showed pictures of medical officers taking blood samples just after the recruits swore in. One of the officers that was interviewed said that the information would be stored in order to identify any casualties that would be unidentifiable by normal means.

We've had National ID cards in most western european countries for as long as I can remember. In Denmark we just call them medical insurrence cards and it works a bit like a credit card for standard medical care, except the government gets the bill. Our personal information isn't stored on it, and no one has access to our information without a warrant.

As a matter of fact, when I went to the US this summer I had to sign a waiver where I agreed to let the CIA keep all my personal information in a database for 7 years. I don't remember exactly what information they kept specifically but this very moment, the US government knows more about me than the Danish government does. Now that's scary.

It's a good thing that the US isn't the country that it's forefathers founded, if it was you guys would all be wearing kneepants and fending off indians. In my opinion you can't build a structure of government on ideas that were conceived in war-time over 200 years ago. That's like founding a communist state following Marx's books down to the letter in the year 2004. It doesn't work because the times have changed. I don't think Benjamin Franklin would have minded an ID card or thought of it as a limitation of his freedom.

Meddik
12-16-04, 09:15 AM
I might be wrong but doesn't the US military have a DNA database of all military personel that signed up after 9/11?

That was in place long before 9/11

Riot Sio Zon
12-16-04, 03:02 PM
If this ID card becomes ID just for the sake of identification, I can see legislation put forward to make it illegal to travel without one. The moment it becomes a crime to walk around outside with nothing but the clothes on my back, I'm moving to Australia.

But why need to mandate it be on a person when identification doesn't require it. You can't fake finger prints or dna. If your identification was truly in doubt or needed proving anyway having the card on you wouldn't really do anything.

I personally have just never seen any legitimate reason for needing to hide your identity when you were supposed to give it.

Granted if you want to hide, or otherwise not be able to be identified by law enforcement or other this would suck...but truly why on Earth is this a necessity.

Nymm
12-16-04, 03:18 PM
I don't hold any illusions about being anonymous now, so I think that a standardized national ID would just make it easier to get things done.

If anyone really wanted to know what I'm doing 90% of the time they could find out with a couple of well placed warrants. My credit card company and bank can tell you where I am, what I've bought, and what kind of underware I'm wearing already. The DMV can tell you what I'm driving and give a fairly accurate description of me. The IRS can tell you what I earned, where I live, how many dependants I have, and whether or not I own my home.

Yet with all that, I still need 2 forms of ID and a thumbprint to take out a second. I'd love to have a single authenticated ID with biometrics that worked universally. Something like the current military CAC cards; with photo ID, PIN, and encoded biometric (fingerprint).

Biggwin
12-16-04, 04:34 PM
I personally have just never seen any legitimate reason for needing to hide your identity when you were supposed to give it.

Because I dont want to. That is reason enough. If asked I give my name and address but that is it.

shehab aldean
12-16-04, 04:43 PM
As a matter of fact, when I went to the US this summer I had to sign a waiver where I agreed to let the CIA keep all my personal information in a database for 7 years. I don't remember exactly what information they kept specifically but this very moment, the US government knows more about me than the Danish government does. Now that's scary.

hah at least they told you they are going to keep it for 7 years :brow

Trolo
12-16-04, 07:08 PM
You think they'll let that kind of information go after 7 years? Ha! Especially not with computers getting bigger and bigger every day.

war_orc_deathblade
12-21-04, 10:58 PM
An article on the subject from a member of congress

http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2004/tst122004.htm

Also to the poster Aura who said this "The moment it becomes a crime to walk around outside with nothing but the clothes on my back, I'm moving to Australia. "

Did the Supreme court of the United States not just rule on a case that makes it law for any peace officer to ask for your identification anywhere?. Would not having this identification on you be a crime they could arrest you for?



War_Orc_deathblade

Aura
12-21-04, 11:07 PM
Blimey! These blokes've gone looney!

Darkefang
12-22-04, 06:28 AM
Did I miss the post where someone pointed out that this isn't a real story? You people are discussing it like it really happened.

Loreleli
12-22-04, 07:09 AM
But, ...but....it's on the internet! it must be true! :spew

Meddik
12-22-04, 07:12 AM
Conspiracy theories and delusions are usually immune to logic or contradictory data.

Fablar
12-22-04, 07:56 AM
??? No, not really. People seem to be discussing National ID cards in general. The only posts regarding the initial article are quite dismissive of it.

Diabalein Avidyia
12-22-04, 09:15 AM
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.10/godwin.if_pr.html
since Godwins law was mentioned heres a handy link.

the dna bit would piss off hundreds of thousands of armed american citizens on a lvl not seen since the revolutionary war. the federal government has 0 legitimate reason to need a dna sample from the general population. military personel are different, when that humvee goes kaboom dna is often the only way to identify the bodies.

Ragnerokk
01-13-05, 10:45 PM
The following is from an elected member of the hosue of representatives who is classified as a republican. I like how he spells out his arguement. Its a long read but I would urge people to read it.

http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2004/tst122004.htm

It Can't Happen Here


December 20, 2004


In 2002 I asked my House colleagues a rhetorical question with regard to the onslaught of government growth in the post-September 11th era: Is America becoming a police state?

The question is no longer rhetorical. We are not yet living in a total police state, but it is fast approaching. The seeds of future tyranny have been sown, and many of our basic protections against government have been undermined. The atmosphere since 2001 has permitted Congress to create whole new departments and agencies that purport to make us safer- always at the expense of our liberty. But security and liberty go hand-in-hand. Members of Congress, like too many Americans, donít understand that a society with no constraints on its government cannot be secure. History proves that societies crumble when their governments become more powerful than the people and private institutions.

Unfortunately, the new intelligence bill passed by Congress two weeks ago moves us closer to an encroaching police state by imposing the precursor to a full-fledged national ID card. Within two years, every American will need a ďconformingĒ ID to deal with any federal agency-- including TSA at the airport.

Undoubtedly many Americans and members of Congress donít believe America is becoming a police state, which is reasonable enough. They associate the phrase with highly visible symbols of authoritarianism like military patrols, martial law, and summary executions. But we ought to be concerned that we have laid the foundation for tyranny by making the public more docile, more accustomed to government bullying, and more accepting of arbitrary authority- all in the name of security. Our love for liberty above all has been so diminished that we tolerate intrusions into our privacy that would have been abhorred just a few years ago. We tolerate inconveniences and infringements upon our liberties in a manner that reflects poorly on our great national character of rugged individualism. American history, at least in part, is a history of people who donít like being told what to do. Yet we are increasingly empowering the federal government and its agents to run our lives.

Terror, fear, and crises like 9-11 are used to achieve complacency and obedience, especially when citizens are deluded into believing they are still a free people. The loss of liberty, we are assured, will be minimal, short-lived, and necessary. Many citizens believe that once the war on terror is over, restrictions on their liberties will be reversed. But this war is undeclared and open-ended, with no precise enemy and no expressly stated final goal. Terrorism will never be eradicated completely; does this mean future presidents will assert extraordinary war powers indefinitely?

Washington DC provides a vivid illustration of what our future might look like. Visitors to Capitol Hill encounter police barricades, metal detectors, paramilitary officers carrying fully automatic rifles, police dogs, ID checks, and vehicle stops. The people are totally disarmed; only the police and criminals have guns. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, monitoring street activity, subway travel, parks, and federal buildings. There's not much evidence of an open society in Washington, DC, yet most folks do not complain-- anything goes if it's for government-provided safety and security.

After all, proponents argue, the government is doing all this to catch the bad guys. If you donít have anything to hide, they ask, what are you so afraid of? The answer is that Iím afraid of losing the last vestiges of privacy that a free society should hold dear. Iím afraid of creating a society where the burden is on citizens to prove their innocence, rather than on government to prove wrongdoing. Most of all, Iím afraid of living in a society where a subservient populace surrenders its liberties to an all-powerful government.

It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by the encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of what they see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a high level of material comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and failing entitlement programs. At that point attitudes toward omnipotent government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult to reverse.

Those who believe a police state can't happen here are poor students of history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny. We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people.