Your papers, please

from, via the Hartford CourantApparently, it is possible to be too ignorant of the state’s rights vs. federal rights issue, and too complacent in the idea of a Democratic majority in congress magically making everything better. I was totally ignorant of the RealID Act and that it’d progressed so far.

Ars Technica has an article about Real ID and how some states are refusing to adopt the standard. According to the Wikipedia article, California is one of the states eager to adopt it, so it’s still unclear what can be done by those of us who live in CA and are just anti-Federalist enough to be annoyed by the bill, but apparently not so politically savvy that we did anything about it when there was still time.

This Snopes article refutes the more tinfoil-hat level conspiracy concerns, but seems nonplussed about the bill’s legitimacy. I can remember growing up and hearing people in suburban Atlanta freaking out about UPC symbols, ATMs, and even credit cards being either government plots or The Mark of the Beast. So it’s a damn shame that legitimate complaints about this inane bill could come across as similar paranoia.

Going back to the Ars Technica entry, I think the problem is best summed up by this observation:

When considering the potential security implications of the Real ID act, it is worth noting that the 9/11 hijackers were all legal residents with proper identification.

Personally, I tend to be so skeptical of conspiracy theories and privacy paranoia that it could even be called naivete. But even if you dismiss the privacy concerns, the idea of increased federal bureaucracy with no foreseeable benefit should be alarming. A centralized mandate for identification from Washington, forcing the states to modify their already-existing systems to comply? With absolutely no effect on terrorism or illegal immigration, the two areas that homeland security is supposed to care about?

You don’t have to be a libertarian to think that’s pretty stupid, if not downright scary.