Thursday, March 27, 2008

EU & US Big Brother and the costs

Many times in my exploration through the internet I find Americans (and to a lesser extent EU members (not including the Brits)) who are extremely patriotic, drawing pride from their constitutions and freedoms. This I feel is natural and good. We certainly should compliment states and governments that respect the society they serve.

However in regard to the US, whilst most citizens still believe in liberty for themselves and their fellow neighbours, many have stopped supporting the notion that foreigners should also enjoy these same freedoms and rights, as can be shown through their "patriot act" and the US Visit scheme (in which all visitors must be fingerprinted and photographed). Also I don't envy anyone who has to try and obtain a US Visa! Interestingly though according to (you might have to view an advert to access the site), since 2001 according to the commerce department America has lost over $100 billion in tourist revenues because of the new "anti-terror" regulations and Bruce Schneier points out the excessive costs of the scheme equating to a spend of at least $15 million per criminal/illegal immigrant caught.

The EU however is even worse, because unlike Americans who are directing their totalitarianism outwards, the EU is targeting its own citizens. For example, Statewatch has highlighted that the "majority of the (EU Council) delegations supported the commission proposal providing for an obligation to take fingerprints from the age of 6 years".

Unfortunately what both governments are missing is that one step leads to another. As with the ID Card scheme, when they are installed under one regime, other omnipotent officials use that as justification for installing them in a new location. The US approach therefore is doomed because "what goes around comes around".

The EU approach is also flawed, but for different reasons. The EU was created to prevent war and fascism returning to Europe. It sought to do this by creating economic and ideological connections based upon liberalism. By subverting this ideology which promotes tolerance with one which denies privacy or secrecy except to those in authority, the foundation for the abuse of human rights has been erected. Economic stability cannot always be guaranteed. Additionally as the pool of creativity is drained by bureaucrats and authoritarians the competitiveness and vibrancy of Europe will be threatened and undermined.

It is only by working together for a genuinely free world for all people that we can all enjoy the benefits. To deny freedom to others is to prove you do not deserve it yourself.

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