Your papers, please / by kevin murray

There are plenty of people that believe that all of the papers that we are required to have such as a birth certificate, driver's license, and social security number are a very good thing.  Further, they believe that such documentation that shows where we live and our age is necessary for the functioning of any modern society.  Perhaps this is true, but such documentation, in the hands of the state, allows that state, to not only fully identify us; but further allows that state the opportunity to create rules that only those that properly identify themselves and are subsequently fully vetted, are permitted to get goods such as food benefits, or housing benefits, or medical benefits, or school benefits or tax benefits, and so on, which typically means that only people that fall within the construct that the state finds to be acceptable, are eligible for those benefits.


Additionally, once the state knows exactly who, what, and where a given person is at, the state, at its discretion, can change the rules of the road, so that traveling domestically from one place to another, for instance, is restricted, because perhaps of some arbitrary security alert, and those that are traveling are thereupon required to have the proper papers to do so, and those that do not have those papers, are then subject to being held by the state policing agency for violation of the law. So too, having to identify oneself is something, as in most laws, which is often unfairly applied, so those that are above the law will not have to suffer the indignity of being restricted from travel or other such things, whereas all those that lack such status, will have to conform to the dictates of the state, so that the state can maintain their control over the masses.


Not only does the state want to know everything about us, but the state knows that having that information allows them to be the controlling party in regards to benefits, courtesies, and privileges so provided; so that the population as a whole is going to have to cooperate with the state or will surely suffer the consequences of their disobedience. That is to say, the government wants to know where to find everyone and further doesn't want to have to waste a lot of time discovering who and what a given individual is, but merely wants to confirm what it already knows, and further to confirm that all is in order.


All of this pretty much signifies that governments want to be able to herd their people in the direction of the choice so chosen by that apparatus, and in order to do so in a competent and efficient manner, that government needs to know its population, and there isn't any better way to do so, then knowing everybody's identification, their employment, their residence, their history, and pretty much having the population as a whole being transparent to the government, while the government, on the other hand, remains opaque.


A country that has the power to stop free employment, to stop free movement, to stop, frisk, and to identify its population with impunity, is tyranny.  That tyranny does not have to be overtly cruel, for often it need not be, but having reams of accurate individual information at the government's beck and call is a form of power, enabling such to crush all those that do not conform to its dictates.