* Perry E. Metzger:

>> But nevertheless, I do not understand why americans are so afraid of
>> an ID card.
> Perhaps I can explain why I am.
> I do not trust governments. I've inherited this perspective. My
> grandfather sent his children abroad from Speyer in Germany just after
> the ascension of Adolf Hitler in the early 1930s -- his neighbors
> thought he was crazy, but few of them survived the coming events. My
> father was sent to Alsace, but he stayed too long in France and ended
> up being stuck there after the occupation. If it were not for forged
> papers, he would have died. (He had a most amusing story of working as
> an electrician rewiring a hotel used as office space by the Gestapo in
> Strasbourg -- his forged papers were apparently good enough that no
> one noticed.)  Ultimately, he and other members of the family escaped
> France by "illegally" crossing the border into Switzerland. (I put
> "illegally" in quotes because I don't believe one has any moral
> obligation to obey a "law" like that, especially since it would leave
> you dead if you obeyed.)
> Anyway, if the governments of the time had actually had access to
> modern anti-forgery techniques, I might never have been born.

I share your general concern, but it's not the ID cards which worry
me.  After all, forgeable passports are only a very, very weak form of
defense in an age of non-invasive biometric applications which operate
in real-time.  (I know, we aren't quite there yet, but we're getting

My concern is that our government is building infrastructure for
monitoring extremist citizens, trying very hard to interdict all
extremist propaganda.  The rationale behind that is the assumption
that most Germans are still latent nazis.  (I'm not sure if this is
really the case, but it seems that anti-democratic feelings are rather
widespread.)  Unfortunately, this monitoring infrastructure covers the
whole population by design, and in case of a coup d'etat, it can be
easily abused by the perpetrators to make sure that they stay in
power.  In other words, this approach is not fail-safe.  I find it
rather unsettling that our politicians seem to be completely unaware
of this risk.

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