Real ID: Security from What, May I Ask?

By Doug Newman
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Originally written on February 16, 2008

Ever since 9/11, millions of Americans have been more than willing to surrender their liberty in the name of “national security.” Security from what, may I ask?

Terrorists pose zero threat to our freedom. Terrorism is not a philosophy of government, but a means of venting political grievances. Terrorists neither control nor governments nor command any armies. The 19 hijackers of 9/11 are – how shall I describe this? – DEAD! You can’t take over a country and force its people to speak Arabic and to pray toward Mecca five times a day WHEN YOU ARE DEAD!

patriot actsHowever, our government has been hard at work, with our blessing, turning the land of the free into a full-blown police state. While our troops fight and die “for our freedom” in Iraq and Afghanistan, we gladly give up our freedom here at home. Millions of us praise grossly intrusive airport security, warrantless searches and wiretaps, no-knock raids, tasering, arbitrary arrest and imprisonment, guilt without trial, torture and martial law as necessary for our “protection”. Protection from what?

Another measure being implemented in the name of protection and security is the Real ID Act (RIDA). Last week, former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA) wrote a piece in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the threats to our liberty inherent in this act. Let me briefly summarize.

  • The Tenth Amendment forbids Uncle Sam to regulate state-issued driver’s licenses and identification cards.
  • The RIDA would undermine the First Amendment right to petition for redress of grievances by requiring a RIDA-compliant card to enter any federal building, including the office of your congressman or senator.
  • The RIDA would undermine the Second Amendment by requiring a RIDA-compliant card in order to purchase a firearm.
  • The RIDA could undermine the Ninth Amendment by requiring RIDA-compliant card to board an airplane or even to travel between states. (Ze papers, please.)
  • Citizens could be required to show a RIDA-compliant card in order to vote in federal elections.
  • A veteran could be denied access to a VA hospital because he or she did not possess the required RIDA-compliant card.
  • Under RIDA, you would have no recourse to correct erroneous information or fight identity theft. (Even if you maintain that you have nothing to hide, you do indeed have something to fear.)

Feel any freer? Feel any more secure?

Hmm. Me neither.

And it is not “the terrorists” who want to do this to us. It is our own government.

I was referred to Mr. Barr’s fine column in an e-mail containing the following phrase: “First a card in your wallet, next a chip in your flesh….”

RFID_In_HandThe RIDA moves us inexorably closer to the “mark” prophesied in Revelation 13:18, without which no one may buy or sell. The technology is already in place for such chip implants. When these implants become a reality, and you step out of line, the powers that be can just turn that chip off. It will all of a sudden be as if you never existed. You will not be able to so much as buy groceries. You will become, in true Orwellian fashion, an unperson.

Our supposedly Great Christian President is pushing the RIDA. Former Arkansas Governor – and shameless religious hustler – Mike Huckabee likewise supports it. The only surviving presidential candidate in either major party who opposes the RIDA is – surprise! – Congressman Ron Paul.

And if you are so trusting that a Republican president would not abuse their power, would you be similarly trusting of A DEMOCRAT? If you give up your freedom to one party, you give it up to the other as well.

America has two constitutions. There is the written Constitution, which has a very simple purpose: to restrain the federal government and to protect our God-given rights. And then there is the constitution of the people themselves, i.e. what are we really made of? And if the people are so mentally, morally and spiritually bankrupt as to surrender their liberties for some touchy-feely sense of security, the written constitution becomes just a worthless piece of paper.

This article prompted me to dust this off:

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About Food for the Thinkers

My name is Doug Newman. I live in Aurora, Colorado, just outside Denver. Food for the Thinkers is mostly about the connection between Christianity and libertarianism. Most Christians do not understand libertarianism. And most libertarians do not understand Christianity. Hopefully, this blog helps clear up those misunderstanding. Check out my old page at And remember: When you let people do whatever they want, you get Woodstock. But when you let governments do whatever they want, you get Auschwitz.
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