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E Verify and the Collectivist State, Part One

by Lynn Atherton-Bloxham

"Your Papers.”

This was the moment he had dreaded more than any other. Not the final digging and the worry he might have miscalculated and they would not emerge beyond the perimeter of the fence. Not the crawling for almost an hour on their bellies when every fiber in him strained to stand and run as fast as possible. Not the fear that they had the wrong farm house. Not even the long walk into the town, listening to every sound and hiding quickly when anyone passed who might be suspicious of two strangers.

He did dread the further splitting up again as each must take a different route. But no, no moment was as dreaded as the command to present the official papers. Look calm, he mentally commanded. He deliberately relaxed his shoulders and feigned an air of indifference while the officer examined the forged documents. He felt the almost acid sweat on the back of his neck and the urge to wipe at it was almost overwhelming.

Though he looked more German than Bud, his German was poor, the accent not believable. Bud's German was better, so they each played a part. Bud jerked his head toward him and said to the guard in German, “Stutters bad, not too smart, but he works hard.” The guard glanced at him again. Joe smiled and nodded. Then he slouched a little and yawned. He hoped he looked as if his only concern was being bored and tired after a hard day's work.

While he waited he willed his mind to dwell on pleasant things as he had done so many times these past two years, in battle and in the prison camp. He thought of home and his wife Sue, Susie to him. Home, America. No pompous guards, no authoritative demands for papers, no prison camps. Joe and Bud had both noticed how the old farmer had trembled every time he glanced at the door. Then they noticed the door had been repaired. No, no more suspicious police, breaking down your door. No guards at every town road. No papers! Free to go across the whole of America if he damned well pleased! Home! Soon. Soon.


For those who remember the World War II era, we could hear the terror in people's voices as they related their frightening experiences. We watched movies, read the letters, post cards, and books that made real to those who were spared that surreal time. We were horrified at the idea of the control the police and military “over there” exerted on the populace. (Many Americans did not realize the extent or even know of the Japanese internment camps). We knew of some of the tragedies others experienced.

Even as children, we understood when guards asked for a person's “Papers” something dreadful could happen. Several generations of Americans held the memories of the horrors of totalitarian regimes and those memories became a part of our common heritage. This made the very idea of a National Identity Number and authorities with the power to demand one present papers, anathema to most Americans. So why are so many suddenly in favor of the idea? Why? Are the reality of those travesties no longer a part of our memories?

Those who normally want the State to stay out of the economic affairs of people, suddenly desire the most authoritarian implementation of control. The State has already accumulated an amount of power unimaginable to someone in the not too distant past. The encroachment on people's freedoms to move about, travel, drive, fly, is already highly advanced. Control over ingress is vaunted as desirable, forgetting that walls limit everyone's egress as well.

New burdens on business are being encouraged, no, more accurately, some are begging the State to institute sweeping controls on private businesses with E Verify. Worse are the penalties and punishments for any business who even mistakenly hires an illegal. Businesses are raided and people rounded up like cattle and deported or held in internment centers with little concern for their well being. People who have said they stand for individual liberty, the sanctity of each human, the ideal of freedom that sets America apart, these very same people are clamoring for E Verify.

Make no mistake, E Verify is the same tactic used to instill fear and obtain control upon which every authoritarian regime has solidified their power. It does not matter whether our “officials” are police, military or mild mannered women and men at one of the many Administrative Agencies. Neither does it matter if our papers are actually filed electronically and accessed by a small card all will be required to carry. The critical impact is the same; peaceful people are no longer free to go when and where they please without permission.

Those who claim they want to live in a country with a free market, where each person makes his own decision on buying and selling, working for a company or for themselves, are nodding yes to E Verify. When contradictions exist, check your premise suggested Ayn Rand. A Free Market must mean each employer makes the decisions to hire and fire and not the State. Permission will soon be required to “allow” an employer to hire any willing employee, not merely those with darker complexions. Some are so intent on restricting immigration they are willing to destroy the very meaning of a private business. They desire that the State, not the owner of a business, should decide and hold control even more minutely, the details of running the owner's business. How far we have fallen.

Strangely, few are protesting E Verify. Both major political parties support, favor and desire that the State should acquire and hold further power. Only the libertarians are a consistent voice against E Verify. The Democrats seem to think every egregious control on business is necessary and proper. Many, thankfully not all, Republicans seem more intent on not allowing those they deem “undesirables” to obtain work. The end result is that both major political parties are promoting and condoning an extreme set of rules and regulations. The Democrats happily will destroy the market, then be distraught when all people, not just business owners, are damaged. The Republicans will be distressed when they awaken to the further erosion of personal liberties for all people. The media blithely gushes that this is at least one area where both sides agree.

A program such as E Verify holds the very premise of the collective. It refutes both the principle of individuality and the right of property that was treasured by most Americans. Very clearly, the Declaration of Independence states that all men are endowed with Inalienable Rights. This certainly means one does not need to ask, beg, be allowed, permitted, or granted, the right to one's own pursuits. Each human already possesses the inherent right of self determination. The right to buy and sell skills and labor in a free and voluntary market to sustain one's own life is, or was, the mainspring of the American people. It is the inspiration for people from all over the world who came, and still would come, not for handouts, but for freedom and opportunity.

There is an enormous amount of data on the inaccuracies, errors, misfilings, bureaucratic mistakes, inefficiency, critical delays, and typical bureaucratic bungling surrounding the E Verify program. Typical of government bureaucracies the program considers not at all the enormous financial burden placed on businesses. Putting aside the right that should exist for any person to hire or be hired in a voluntary arrangement, the bureaucracy does not care a whit about the people incorrectly denied a job.

If you value justice and appreciate and understand those important principles of freedom and individual liberty then you will understand why the very idea of E verify is quite simply a totalitarian concept. All the many technical and practical shortcomings of E Verify are ridiculously beside the point.

This article originally appeared in the AmericanDailyHerald

About The Author

Lynn Atherton-Bloxham has been an enthusiastic pro-freedom activist for many years. A registered commodity and stock broker, her work has included conducting financial and economic evaluations for businesses. As a writer and political and social analyst, her work has appeared in many publications, starting with the Johnson County Missouri Conservative Newsletter in 1962 and continuing since with the Kansas City Business Journal, The Heartland Institute, the California Libertarian Journal, and the Oklahoma Libertarian Forum.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.