Busybodies obsessively monitor people. Control freaks use the information that busybodies collect for their own nefarious ends. They all gravitate toward regulation. None care about you.
Consider Senate Bill 1813; The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act. (I love sanctimonious names! Could a name get any more condescending?)
I downloaded the bill and it clocked in at 1,676 pages! After carefully reading all 1,676 pages I can say that every page was clearly crafted by honest, humble, well meaning people who want only what’s best and… Bwa ha ha ha… I just can’t continue the sentence.
S.B.1813 is the usual bureaucratic regulatory morass that we’ve come to expect. The kind of big-brother hokum that only an echo chamber of control freaks with their finger in every pie could produce. Things like this seem to arise roughly bi-annually. I hate them all for the following reason:
“The best measure of government power is the degree to which it stays out of my business. A 1,676 page bill is not a good example of leaving me alone.”
Part #1: Ostensibly this is a bill about denying a passport to people flagged by the IRS. I call bullshit. I have a passport because I’m an American citizen. The IRS can man up and haul my ass to court where they’ll either win or lose. If they’re not willing to go to the mat with me they can piss off. Halfway “sorta’ prosecuted” semantic doublespeak is for people who want a prosecution they can’t earn.
I retain my citizenship in any instance short of incarceration. When I whip out my tattered little blue passport the discussion is over. Nobody on planet earth can deny that I am an America Citizen. Nobody! Not Harry Reid, not that moron at the McDonalds drive through, not my nosy neighbor, not the President himself, not my mother, and not the Pope. That’s what a passport is…it’s the proof. It matters. A man with a passport is a free citizen, a man denied a passport is a subject who can never leave his nation of birth. S.B. 1813 is a shot at allowing the IRS to do what the pope, my mother, and the president can’t; reduce me from free man to leashed pet.
Interesting logic they’ve got too. Suppose they do take my passport. Then what? Am I not an American Citizen? What am I? Am I a lesser citizen? Possibly a beta Citizen? A “retroactive minor”? (A pretty damn old one at that!) I propose the phrase for this new subset of sub-citizen be called “non incarcerated un-citizen who can’t do everything a citizen can do and is really just lackey/serf/drone who we tolerate only so he can pay taxes and vote for me“. Some of the folks who wrote the bill would already apply that label to me right now…but not during election season.
It smells of corruption and fails the “Jews In The Attic Test” incredibly badly. Right now I can leave America any time I want. So can you. This is a big deal. If you can’t leave the country any given Tuesday you are not a free man. That’s all there is to it. (Note: I’m not saying you’ve got to run your muscle car screaming across the border with trunkload of guns, a pound of weed, and a hitchiker who’s name you don’t know. Nor am I saying you’re a miserable serf if you’d prefer to stay home and read a good book instead. It’s just that a free Citizen is by definition not barred from leaving.)
S.B. 1813 intends to take that right away. That matters! I grew up fearing nations that did not allow their citizens to leave. Soviet Russia, East Germany, Iran, North Korea, Cuba… these were bad scary places where serfs cowered and guys in uniform barked “your papers are not in order”. There are still nations that use machine gun nests and concertina wire to keep people from leaving. America never ever fell into that crowd and that’s what makes us and other advanced democracies… better. We are better than them because we are free. Free = better. Barbra Boxer (who’s involved with this mess) should be dropped in North Korea to see what it feels like to be in a country that’s not free and therefore… worse.
Messing with passports isn’t subtle and the threat isn’t theoretical. The difference between a seized passport and concertina wire is in method, not goal.
Time for a Curmudgeonly Gem Of Insight:
“I grew up in a nation that allowed all citizens to travel freely (and that includes leaving whenever you feel like it). I intend to die in one. I’d like them to be the same nation.”
Part #2: Frankly “drop the right of a free citizen to leave his country down a rabbit hole” is a pretty ballsy idea but they decided to pile on. Why annoy just a few Americans (travellers with tax issues) when you can annoy a whole lot of them (everyone who owns a modern car)? Buried in the 1,676 pages is another provision requiring black box event recorders on all cars. Right now most new cars have event recorders but it’s a new thing and they’re there only voluntarily. I can rip that mother out of the machine any time I want. I keep an eye out and if I see amoral lawyers start running amok with black boxes mine will be gone faster than you can say “redneck with pliers”. S.B. 1813 would make such an action illegal.
Here’s the rub; I can’t see any way gathering all this information (mandated by law!) could benefit me personally. I can easily imagine a thousand scenarios where it could hose me royally. Time for another Curmudgeonly Gem Of Insight:
“If any information could be reasonably misused (either now or in the future) and it’s unlikely to benefit me, improve my freedom, or defend my privacy, then it’s wise to keep that data from being collected.”
Of course this is nothing new. There’s always a new idea and set of laws that will track me in ways that can’t benefit me. I’ve already got to provide ID to buy hay fever medicine. They’ve already tracked my keg fridge. They’ll fondle your nutsack and run your daughter through the perv scan at the airport. A few years ago they wanted tracking chips in my chickens. (I’m not making that up.) Not long ago my cell phone sprouted a GPS. This year they’d like to track my car and illegally seize the occasional passport. Next year it’ll be something else.
Never give an inch.
I would argue with your assertion that NOTHIG good cam come of it. At 1676 pages, if we are lucky a stack of copies with fall and smother some government parasite.
Our only hope is that it is so complicated that it can never be effectively used unless we were specifically targeted for something (unrelated of course). Except that if we were detained because of something related to this, we’d rot in a dungeon for months while the legality was sorted out. Sorry about those lost months pal, but you can go now.
We can feebly hope that it is so complicated and cumbersome as to not be easily wielded against us (unless we were specifically targeted, of course). But even then, we’d rot in a dungeon for many months while the legality was sorted out. Sorry about those lost months, pal, but you can go now.
Espschofield, but such an occurrence falls under potential events with a non-zero probability of occurrence. Each of us has a better chance of winning the lottery at a multi-million-dollar level.
I am exceedingly suspicious of all these new laws with the cutsey names. They seem calculated to hide the poison that lurks within. Considering the woman who told Mitt Romney that free birth control would make her happy, I propose subsidized beer for fraternity parties that include sorority chicks. Call it Bureaucratic Incentives Giving PRoviders In College KickS . Big Pricks.
This proposed law violates the Jews in the Attic test big time, but sadly, it doesn’t alert the blogosphere near as much as that one last month that threatened to take away everyone’s porn.
Note: I’m not saying you’ve got to run your muscle car screaming across the border with trunkload of guns, a pound of weed, and a hitchiker who’s name you don’t know.
Well, I didn’t really HAVE to, but I was bored last week. And I thought you said that was our little secret! 😈