I’ve said before that we should take care to keep the “same America” after the 9/11 attacks that we had before the attacks. Fight back, yes but without losing our liberties.
One bad idea is to impose a national ID card. This card would have your name and address and probably thumbprint and social security number, too. Maybe even a strand of your DNA eventually. Such a card would treat people as criminal suspects just for being well, in the same country as people who really are bad guys. And the card would be linked to a new national database. This database would make it even harder to protect our privacy against identity thieves or renegade bureaucrats. And it would bring us closer to the kind of society where you always have to present your identity papers.
Given all the dangers, it’s disturbing that even some people known for supporting freedom and civil liberties have floated trial balloons about things like a national ID card for innocent people, electronic surveillance of innocent people, etc. Responding blindly to fear, some have published articles saying, “Hey, maybe this surveillance without search warrants won’t be so horrible after all,” without explaining how the liberty lost will save us from terrorism.
Back in the 1980s during a cabinet-level meeting with the President somebody in the Reagan administration proposed a national ID, too. But then policy advisor Martin Anderson said, wouldn’t it be a lot cheaper just to tattoo everybody with a number? Everybody got the point. The idea died. It should die now, too. . . . Be seeing you.
This is Common Sense.Â I’m Paul Jacob.