Now Playing: Show me your papaers - ID and the tracking of people and movement
Mises Daily: Wednesday, September 07, 2011 by Wendy McElroy
“Your papers!” In old movies, the demand is barked at trembling travelers by a Nazi with a guttural accent. If the demand is made in the opening scene, then the audience knows immediately that they watching a totalitarian state in which travelers are in danger.
“Your papers!” now rings out at every American airport and border crossing. The accent is different but travelers need to recognize with equal immediacy that a totalitarian state is playing out in front of their eyes, and they must be careful.
A passport is where the security theater begins. Indeed, without a passport those who wish to fly or cross a border are not “allowed” to be scanned, searched, interrogated, or undergo a plethora of other indignities imposed by uniformed thugs. The hoops through which passport carriers jump are all prelude to “permitting” them to exercise a right belonging to every freeborn person: the right to travel.
America and the world were not always this way. It is important to remember that there once was a world in which people traveled freely across borders without paperwork to visit families, pursue education, conduct business, and mingle. Freedom worked once. It enriched the world economically, culturally, and psychologically.
War Converts Convenience into Blatant Abuse
The modern “passport” is commonly defined as, “an official document issued by a government, certifying the holder’s identity and citizenship and entitling them to travel under its protection to and from foreign countries.” But are passport privileges to be conferred or denied by government, or are they mere conveniences that cannot be properly required for people to exercise the natural right to freedom of movement? Do they protect peaceful travelers or merely facilitate the state’s grip on the flow of people and property?
The foregoing descriptions of passports have all been true at some point in history.
Travel papers date back to antiquity and were generally intended to protect the bearer as he passed through foreign territory. The King James Bible (Nehemiah 2:7) states,
I said unto the king, If it please the king, let letters be given me to the governors beyond the river, that they may convey me over till I come into Judah.
In some areas, the issuance of letters also served as social control. According to Wikipedia, “In the medieval Islamic Caliphate, a form of passport was used in the form of a bara’a, a receipt for taxes paid”. Those in arrears could not travel even within the Caliphate.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://oathkeepers.org/oath/2011/09/09/wendy-mcelroy-passport-to-the-total-state/