Friday, March 09, 2007

Frum & Perle: Seventeen

AETE pps 70-3, a section of the book where Frum & Perle endorse what amounts to a libertarian's nightmare.

[We recommend] a national identity card that registers the bearer's name and biometric data, like fingerprints or retinal scans or DNA, and that indicates whether the bearer is a citizen, a permanent resident, or a temporary resident -- and if temporary, would indicate whether the bearer is permitted to work and the date by which he or she is supposed to leave.


Americans are fighting to defend their liberty. None of us wants to live in a country where authorities snoop on the people. But on those occasions when individuals can lawfully be asked to identify themselves -- when they are stopped for a moving violation or some other infraction -- the identification should establish that we genuinely are who we claim to be. Law-abiding citizens value privacy. Terrorists require invisibility. The two are not the same, and they should not be confused.

Riiight. But anyway, let's get to the thought-crime section:

As Americans intensify their vigilance inside the borders, they also need to expand the definition of those activities that cause them to be suspicious at the border. Right now, American law bars the admission of aliens suspected of terrorist activity -- but not of terrorist sympathies. In general, it is forbidden to deny admission to a would-be visitor to the United States for expressing political or religious views that would be protected under the First Amendment if he or she were an American citizen. [...] While it remains theoretically possible to deny a visa to a prospective visitor with extremist views, the decision to exclude must be made by the secretary of state personally and must be reported to Congress. Paperwork deters: As a practical matter, terrorist sympathizers are almost never excluded.

It should be obvious thta the people most likely to engage in Islamic terrorism are those who believe what Islamic terrorists believe. Yet so anxious are we to avoid repeating the errors of the McCarthy period [...] that we now hesitate to take protective measures against even the most egregiously menacing people.