Mon May, 21 2007
"The Pace Of This Thing Is Picking Up"
I have not read the immigration bill hatched in the Senate, and I probably won't. For all kinds of principled reasons, I take it as a necessary given that no good can come from any of it in any way.
All that said, however, I am a lot more concerned with the implications for Americans than those for people who would become Americans, and the very first one of concern, to me, is alluded to by Jim Harper at the Cato Institute blog:
"Like many, Iíll be watching carefully to see if a national ID system is part of the ineluctable logic of the immigration reform deal that has been struck."If the "employment verification" element of this thing takes effect, then "national ID" will have been just as effectively established at the very heart of the American ideal: the individual impetus and political leave to produce.
What we're talking about, ladies and gentlemen, is the nationalization of work, itself.
This is to be accomplished by annexing employers (think about that: all employers, generally) as police agents, presumably under threat of criminal or dire civil attack, to do the dirty-work of passing everyone's permission papers -- clearing as privilege what dare not be called a "right" anymore: the freedom to produce.
This, in America.
All that I feel like saying about it today is that, someday, it might be understood that this was a landmark abomination of the political principles that had made this country the light of the world. This understanding, should it ever arise, will be many generations down the road, and will await a depth of rational analysis not capable of intellectual traction in the current mush of bromide and sheer hustle in the cannibal-political arena. If, however, thought itself is not actually bred out of the species -- a prospect which I do not actually fear, but serves as a scale of scope here -- then someone of genuine historical note and import will announce with all the authority of fact and truth that a crucial turning-point in the demolition of American culture was when Americans submitted to government approval their natural, inborn, imperative to apply reason to the problem of survival.
This is not completely new in principle, of course. The social security number has long been a device angling on this end, and -- it should go without saying -- splendidly subversive as a social conditioner to general botzation (the coerced alignment of individual human beings in rank and file) of a once and briefly fiercely free people.
This, however, is one fearsome spear of jagged cop-stroke flying around in a general political maelstrom of non-principles and mal-principles; a high-pressure front settled on what this place is and who gets to get in anymore, and why, and who sez so. It'll slide right into the books and sit as holy writ forever more, or a good goddamned long time, at least -- long enough that it will be a remarkable generation indeed that finally sits up on the floor at its parents' knees and says, "Hey! Waitaminnit... you mean to tell me that there was once a time when Americans could just set out on an idea and go to work without asking anybody's permission??"
By that time, there will have been a hell of a lot of evil built on something like "employment verification", and one might legitimately wonder what it would take to be able to see through all of it, back down to the principles that are being so casually shot down today, in our lifetimes.