Keeping the baby un-numbered
By Claire Wolfe
Little Citizen 577-00-666X came into the world today.
Properly numbered, per international dictate, she joined billions of other precious humano-numeric global resources.
From this day, government data managers and selfless researchers will watch over every aspect of her welfare -- vaccinations, aptitudes, nutrition, scholastic achievements, emotional adjustment, vocational profiling and of course her all-important family risk factors. Her life's progress will be monitored (and altered, as necessary) by number -- a number she will be carefully taught to cherish.
As she matures, young Ms. 666X's fertility, economic status, purchases, residence, employment, habits and health will be carefully recorded by the numbers. Her number will be the access code that lets her attend college, marry, get a professional license, drive, travel abroad, work, buy a home, bank or invest.
And when she dies, her death certificate will sum up her life as Citizen 577-00-666X.
With careful resource management, the day of her termination will be many years in the future. Today, as her parents submitted her to the hospital staff for numbering, they were surprisingly uneasy about her secure and well-observed future. Were they, they wondered, sacrificing independence and privacy by numbering her at birth? But ... well ... what else could they do?
It goes without saying that Little Citizen 577-00-666X wasn't born in my contrary, cussed, hole-in-the-wall town of Hardyville.
Oh, of course, there are numbered people here. But even the numbered types figure numbering is something a person should make an informed choice about. An hour-old baby can hardly say, "Yes, I opt for convenience and a nine-digit tattoo," or "No, I'd rather face the challenge of a numberless life."
Give the baby a break! Let him make his own choices when he's old enough to know the consequences.
Not easy, is the answer. Though no law requires anyone to have a Social Security number, countless laws and a growing number of business policies make it difficult to live without one. The Social Security Administration's Enumeration at Birth program makes it nearly impossible to get out of the hospital without giving an ID number to your newborn child.
But Hardyville happens to have a circuit-riding lawyer. He rolls across Lonelyheart Pass once in a while to help Hardyvillians litigate about water rights, sheep-eating wolves and the locally entrenched habit of driving without a government license.
Call him Lawyer X*. He has some ideas about keeping babies un-numbered.
This column doesn't constitute legal advice. (I'm no lawyer, and frankly, I haven't checked Lawyer X's law-school diploma, which he swears is somewhere in the toolbox of his pickup truck.) Think about and always check everything this important for yourself. But here's what he suggests:
He adds: "I also carry nice cards laser printed on business card stock which read as follows:
"When you give it to people they tend to leave you alone because they think you're a nut."
Lawyer X concludes: "Proof of identity is never needed. Proof of authorization is only needed by one's bankers. The rest is government garbage. Hopefully enough people will learn this and we can reduce the nonsense a bit."
But of course, un-numbering your baby does lead to inconveniences -- some very serious. Surely, parents ask, there must be less controversial, non-confrontational ways of staying free?
What about getting a religious exemption?
Some normally decent U.S. House members (Yes, there are a couple.) have sponsored a bill, H.R. 2494, to enable parents who can prove they have a "sincerely held religious belief" to claim tax benefits without numbering their babies.
Let's just say for the sake of argument that this bill passes. And let's say you're a congressionally-approved Christian, not some mere mongrel freedom lover like me. What do you do? Certify your beliefs to the IRS, then pray to God that His religion meets their standards? List your "religious nut" status in a federal database? (Very handy next time they're looking for a church to burn.) Feel safe, smug -- or both -- as you take tax benefits for your unmarked children, while millions submit to numbering?
That's not only not safe -- it's collaboration. It's making deals with tyrants to save your own skin -- or in this case, save money.
"But," I hear voices protesting. "If I don't cooperate, one way or another, I can't use junior as a tax writeoff!"
Well goodness. Maybe at this point you ought to be thinking about telling the federal money grubbers to go to hell, rather than bowing deeper to their commands.
Be that as it may, several parents have asked if I thought the dollar amount of IRS credits and deductions made the loss of freedom "worth it." Well, the sum the fedgov offers for selling out innocents varies from family to family, so I can't do calculations for you. But the traditional fee for this type of transaction is 30 pieces of silver. You'll have to decide for yourself whether it's worth it.
*"Lawyer X" is -- in real life -- an attorney, a FreeLife reader and a wide-ranging Internet commentator who chose to offer this information anonymously.
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