Some thoughts on identity and state citizenship.

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2 years ago

Originally intended to be a short reply to another reply from me to his article about state-issued and governed ID and the evil they represent in his opinion, this piece was so long that i decided it deserved its own stage. Convince me i am wrong.

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Thank you for your reply, and i repeat that you have a point on a lot of the points you make. I also notice you're passionate about this subject and have no illusions that anything i say or do will change any of your views and opinions in the slightest. I also suspect you have personal experience that has strongly affected you in some bad way relating to Id, kyc or citizenship, making your convictions even stronger.

But i do feel that there are things i need to comment on or voice a different point of view on some things in your post and your reply to my reply (that rhymes. lol)

For example, the statement that "no state agrees to print a passport for them" or that it is impossible to get an id card for someone who's homeless is not true. In my country, there are provisions and procedures to get an ID, Social security number, and entered into the registry in almost any circumstance. Even someone never registered from birth, without any papers, homeless and with no record whatsoever can get an identity with the documents that go with it. I'm not saying its easy, i'm not saying it's going to be quick but i am saying even in such an extreme case it is possible (and does happen a couple times per year)

We have many foreign refugees coming to our country and most of them for one reason or another cannot or will not have any documentation about their identities, origin or anything else for that matter. Still they get id's, get social security numbers and get into the register. They can even become nationalized and become a full citizen of our country having the same duties and rights that someone born, registered, raised and living here for all their lives.

You mention also that ID's take away freedom and bring more obligations. You don't mention that having an identity and an ID also grants you rights and can offer protection to people in many cases. If you are registered and have an ID here you have all the rights our constitution says you should have. Those rights include the right to a place to live, the right to be able to provide for your primary necessities of life, the right to freedom of religion, the right to receive health care if you need it, and other rights as written in our book of laws. In our country, if you're unable to work for any legitimate reason you have the right to receive a government welfare income with which you can pay rent, health insurance, utilities to provide basics like sustenance (food, water, heating, electricity and so on). If you are homeless, regardless of the cause or your past, you can accept the requirements of a number of programs and government programs today and have a bed to sleep in that same night.

Do we have no homeless, then you may ask? Yes we do. Quite a few even. But those who are homeless choose to be or rather refuse to comply with the requirements and regulations that are required to be accepted into those programs. Many for example require you to obtain a social security number and an identity before you're eligible for a program. Some require you to agree to join a program for debt reduction and some require you to agree to get a paid job as quickly as possible, reducing your dependency on government welfare and resources. If you're homeless and want a place to live i don't think any of those requirements are unreasonable or demanding.

So your description of ID and what they can prevent you from having as well as of the impossibility are not globally equally true. I happen to know that my country is not too different from many other countries that surround us. Belgian, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and many other nations have similar laws as we have and certainly share the constitutional rights that we have. So getting ID is possible, no one has to be homeless or has no other choice.

Now, my next argument may not have come across the way i intended it. So let me try to rephrase: Humans live together in societies. Throughout the ages, we have learned that without rules there's anarchy and it is impossible to form and improve on society and civilization. We do need societies and civilizations to continue our evolution and development as a species. In history, distinctions between ages and eras are often even defined by the moment it began to practice "specialization". It marks the moment where someone could live their entire lives without ever-growing a single crop or hunting a single animal, without going hungry for a minute in one's life. A brickmaker never needs to grow something or kill something to eat. He only needs to make bricks. Others who will never need to make or lay a brick in their entire lives can live in a brick house, and be a farmer full time.

A society that specializes needs organizing, structure and governing. Without that, it will collapse, and its members will die. It also needs to protect against those who would abuse, steal or otherwise do damaging things to a society and its members to benefit from it.

All this will increase a societies' complexity exponentially, until the point where the registration, administration, and information in such a way that only those that need to receive certain things to be able to perform their role in society are the ones receiving that certain thing requires a standard, easy and accurate way of identifying a person. Share numbers of people alone makes living in a society near impossible without registering, reliably and verifiably, the identity of any member of that society.

That's as basic and generic why civilization as we know it and society as we have it cannot exist without identity, and identification.

You claim nations and governments are harmful concepts. I pose to you that nations are the opposite of harmful. They exist out of a need for protection from being taken advantage of or enslaved or killed by those in larger or stronger groups than yours. Or for protection against forces of nature, you alone or in a small group would never be able to overcome. Those schools, shelters, food banks and so on would be impossible without government.

It is one of the things that contributed to our species' rise from the bottom of the food chain to not being part of the food chain anymore. The human ability to combine our resources and strengths to overcome and achieve things one person or a small group of persons would never be able to achieve or overcome. From a family of parents and children to a clan or tribe of extended family to settlement with several tribes or families to villages to cities to nation-states to nations is a development which made possible our civilization and our way of life. And at some point during that upscaling the number of people and complexity of our society in which we live it became impossible to govern, maintain and protect it without using identity, and identification of what the civilization or society consists of.

You may not realize it, but it is not only the people that are registered, are identifiable through identification. Every building is registered under an identification. Every car on the road has an identity and identification. In fact there is very little that exists in a civilized society that has no identity and cannot be uniquely identified.

Darn, i am out of time, i need to leave. But let me summarize that even though you are right i many ways about kyc or id or identity and that there is a lot of countries and areas on our little Rock orbiting a massive ball of nuclear fusion where ID or lack of it is a big cause for a lot of hard suffering. But nevertheless, the civilization and civilized society that we or at least i and the millions that live in my civilized society are impossible without identity, ID or identification.

Lastly, i would remark that accountability is possible in many ways without state governed or issued identification. But an identification, regardless of who is charged with and responsible for the means of identification, is identification by a central authority. You've just moved one job from one entity to another. The problem is that most often those charged with such responsibility and authority prove far less capable, willing and suited for such a responsibility and likely to exploit, extort, abuse and oppress the authority and capabilities it provides them with.

Maybe the state-issued id or the kyc is not the problem. Maybe its the structure of the government that governs your country, maybe its the people that get elected into that government, maybe its the people that elect those in the government or maybe it is even the victims of the misery you perceive as being caused by the state-issued ID or KYC that is the root cause of all the evil that you mention.

I will always deny that our government is great, that our nation hasn't got its problems, or its people that experience injustice, are poor or suffering as a result of our government's actions or inaction. Neither will i ever be heard saying that having means and options to do things anonymously or privately does not save lives, relieves suffering or makes the world a little better. But the bottom line is that a nation, a state, a government is what it is because its people allow it to be what it is. Either by revolution or democracy, the people can change or remove governments and the state that it governs.

But we are on read.cash which is free and civilized, so we can agree to disagree and move on. How awesome is that?

@AnonSunamun

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