In response to:

My Papers? No Thank You

Lazy-J Wrote: Apr 27, 2012 7:45 AM
Hello! We already have a national ID card. We as citizens are required to register our children as soon as they are born. They are issued a national ID card (SSN). Although it was touted as not to be used for any purpose other than social security registration, you can't get a job, go to school, enter a hospital for treatment, conduct financial transactions (bank or investment), buy a car or home without a SSN. Of course, illegal aliens are not required to show that card. My granddaughter had to take her certified birth certificate to the social security office yesterday to get a replacement for her lost social security card. She also had to show her new baby's birth certificate and register the little tyke.

With the Supreme Court taking up Arizona's "show me your papers" immigration law, we're once again thrust into a useful debate over the role of the government and the obligations of the citizen -- and non-citizen. Rather than come at it from the usual angle, I thought I'd try something different.

If there were one thing I could impress upon people about the nature of the state, it's that governments by their very nature want to make their citizens "legible."

I borrow that word from James C. Scott, whose book "Seeing Like a State" left a lasting impression on me. Scott...