The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Government foolishness

On July 13, 2006, I went to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration office to get a new identification card. (Why the Motor Vehicle Administration is the place to go is strange enough — but because it's issued in a format based on a driver's license, MVA issues it.) A card was issued to me, with an expiration date of July 13, 2011. Five years was the term, apparently.

Yesterday I attempted to go to a meeting that was scheduled to take place inside a Federal Government building, so I had to show a photo-identification card. At first, the security guard was about to pass me in, but then she said "Let me look at that card again." She saw the date, and I was denied entry.

First of all, why was there a need to put an expiration date on that card, in the first place? If it was valid proof that I was who I claimed to be on July 12, why was it not on July 14?

And why would it be necessary to deny me access to the building, just because my card expired, less than a month ago? I think both the State of Maryland (for setting an expiration date on the card) and the U. S. Government (for caring that it had passed, less than a month ago) were being rather foolish. As I said, it would have been sufficient to let me into the building less than a month ago — why not yesterday?

So I had to head back to the MVA office to get a new identification card. At first glance, I thought that perhaps this was just a scheme for the State to collect more money from fees to issue these cards. But I was charged nothing for the new card — and, surprisingly, the expiration date on the new card was August 6, 2019! If five years was all that a card was good for in 2006, why am I given eight on the new one? All I lost was the chance to participate in a meeting and a bit of time; the processing took perhaps a half hour, but I had to spend some time traveling to the MVA office. The State gained nothing — in fact it lost, since the clerk who renewed my identification card had to be paid. What was the point of all this?

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