In most cases, an average internet-goer will be hard pressed to find a source of well-reasoned and thoughtful debate regarding the problems of our day. Given the extraordinary number of political blogs and punditry that abound online, sifting through the chaff can be challenging.
Part of the issue is that we, as a networked population, have become increasingly focused on the concerns that are most relevant to our individual experience. We develop impassioned opinions about those subjects that elicit the most powerful emotional response from us. What too often happens is that this micro-focus diverts our attentions from the macroscopic issues at the root of almost all of our national and international concerns.
Case in point:
Recently I became involved in a very lively message board debate regarding the upcoming implementation of RealID rules passed into law at the Federal level, as well as the State level in some cases. There is a deep and abiding fear, among certain populations, that RealID will be the end of personal privacy, allowing the government to track us through RFID chips, control our ability to move freely about the country, and even place limitations on our ability to conduct commerce.
It is indeed true that each of these outcomes is both possible and foreseeable. The question is "Where do we draw the line?".
In this particular case, we cannot draw the line at RealID, because many of its attendant functions are already carried out redundantly by other pieces of legislation or infrastructure.
RFID chips are already present in a half-dozen things that you probably have on your person or near you right now. Your debit card, your drivers' license, you garage door opener, your cell phone, your iPod/iPad/iTouch/iPhone, your computer, and more than I can mention in a short time.
The Federal government already has the power to freeze your bank accounts, as does the bank. They just did it to the Libyan dictator, and it is a common tactic during criminal investigations or ongoing trials.
Identity, both real and virtual, is already not as secure as most people believe. Advanced metrics allow the determination of an "anonymous" internet user's identity based on browsing patterns and site activity. Real-time surveillance allows for the identification of a person through facial recognition. Existing laws already allow local, state, and federal authorities to pull surveillance footage from any camera they want in pursuit of "persons of interest".
Furthermore, universal adoption of MAC codes for electronic devices allows the identification of a device's manufacturer, serial #, and point-of-sale. Combining that data with MAC-based authentication for registered software allows for end-user identification.
Even immigration reform is a red herring. Most readers of this site and other alternative media will already be well aware of long-term plans that are already in motion for the merger of US/Canadian/Mexican economic interests.
Agency Mission Creep is only a cause for concern if your primary focus is the size of government. Duplication of responsibility in an effective government creates redundancy and safeguards against failure by agencies with sole responsibility for their scope.
If we begin to think of humanity as a network of people, each with their own causes and priorities, we begin to understand why focus is necessary.
Let us assume a situation where we have two individual clients within the human network that makes up the United States. Let us even assume that one is a registered Democrat and the other a registered Republican.
They both look around and see that the country has no plan for fulfilling its financial commitments while continuing to provide essential public services. The Democrat looks at it and screams "Corporations are ruining America!", while the Republican looks at it and screams "Unions are ruining America!". Both are ignoring the larger issue, which is WHY the country cannot pay its bills.
I have no intention of diverting people from fighting for individual freedom. On the contrary, "Freedom and Justice For All" is one of the guiding tenets of my life, as well as (ostensibly) the United States.
What I AM trying to do is get those who are interested in defending personal liberty to move away from the "weed" issues and attack the "root" issues, such as monetary policy and political corruption.
After all, if the Government could be trusted to be a responsible steward of its Citizens, we wouldn't need to worry whether or not they tracked us. Tracking by a benevolent government could actually be quite beneficial, as we would never have lost children, puppies, kittens, bikes, cars, etc.
In essence, what I am saying is that if we address the root issues, issues such as RealID, the topic of this particular article, will become non-issues, which is the actual goal. This is only something that we should fear if we fear the government. Allowing that many do fear their government, it follows that it is that government which requires reform, not its individual policies.
If we are to try and address the systemic issues of corruption, government abuse of power, et al, we must address the circumstances which make those issues' existence possible, otherwise we are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
If you have a lifeboat, this may sound like an excellent use of a few spare hours. If not, you should be devotedly focused on addressing the systems and constructed institutions which must be repaired in order to prevent the ship from sinking. To beat this dead metaphor once more; you do not save a sinking ship solely by bailing water. The hole in the hull must be repaired.
Choose what metaphor you will, be it "Pick Your Battles", "There Are Bigger Fish To Fry", what have you. What matters is that we come together as concerned citizens and address the underlying systemic problems that have created the daily issues that Citizens and elected Representatives around the nation and the world are grappling with.