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It is in the prosecution of some single object, and in striving to reach its accomplishment by the combined application of his moral and physical energies, that the true happiness of man, in his full vigour and development, consists. Possession, it is true, crowns exertion with repose; but it is only in the illusions of fancy that it has power to charm our eyes. If we consider the position of man in the universe,—if we remember the constant tendency of his energies towards some definite activity, and recognize the influence of surrounding nature, which is ever provoking him to exertion, we shall be ready to acknowledge that repose and possession do not indeed exist but in imagination. - Wilhelm von Humboldt, The Sphere and Duties of Government (The Limits of State Action) (1854 ed.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Letter on an Editorial: A license for chaos, Sun July 15th 2007

"A license for chaos" was an editorial regarding the Real ID Act of 2005 that the editors believed the Oregon legislature failed to address and act on by implementing it.

Here was my letter:

A useful corrective to the Oregonian's editorial
"A license for chaos" -- like much else in the paper --
is to review the ACLU's position. Unsurprisingly the ACLU
opposes the Real ID act, but more interestingly on the ACLU's
website for this issue (www.realnightmare.org) you can find a
color coded map of US states that have passed or introduced
state legislation *opposing* the federal Real ID act. It turns
out that 17 states have passed legislation opposing this
implementation of a national identification system. Arkansas
has decided to opt out, Georgia has authorized its governor
to delay compliance (because their attempt already ended
in disaster), Tennessee opposes its implementation and
urges its repeal, and finally Oregon has introduced legislation
requiring implementation only with federal funds and better
data security and privacy safeguards effectively opposing
Real ID. As usual, the Oregonian is on the wrong side of
the issue.

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