I hate name tags. I suppose it has something to do with that libertarian streak that dominates my thinking. What annoys me most about convention name tags is that they somehow remind me of the Star of David forced upon Jews in Hitler’s Germany.
And so it was no surprise that when I attended the Libertarian National Convention in 2004 that I was accosted by the national Chairman on the convention floor who demanded that I not only present my “papers” but demanded that I display them dangled about my neck. I thought of the ironic comparison between the nation’s leading libertarian and a Gestapo agent. And, again, at a 2004 gubernatorial debate I was confronted by a rent-a-cop who insisted that I display my name tag but (another irony) refused to ID himself when I demanded his name.
I’ve learned to comply. At the 2010 convention I dutifully wore my papers lest anyone demand I justify my presence on libertarian turf.
What I learned is that a conflict exists between the notion of private property (which, in a sense, the Libertarian events are) and liberty. I learned that LP chairman Geoff O’Neil was well within his right to insist I present my plastic-enclosed papers and the Jeffersonville cop, though inexcusable in failing to recognize a gubernatorial candidate, was obliged to secure the debate facility. There is a fact that must be taken to heart by Libertarians: Sometimes personal ID is reasonably justified.
When a person presents himself on my front porch, I have a right to demand that he identify himself and, if necessary, insist he prove it. When conventioneers show up at a Libertarian event, the party’s authorities have a right to insure we are properly registered. When immigrants show up at our nation’s borders, our government has a right to demand they verify their citizenship.
What holds true of a Libertarian Party convention — that registered members be obligated to identify themselves by displaying their papers — also holds true of our nation: Legal citizens may be obligated to identify themselves. For that reason it is questionable to fault the controversial Arizona initiative that allows law enforcement to demand residents display what is tantamount to convention name tags.
I found it amusing while signing in to the 2010 Libertarian Party convention that the staff member refused to view my drivers’ license when confirming my registration, then proceeded to process my ID that was required to be displayed as plain as a Third Reich Star of David.
I also note that Libertarians, libertarian fundamentalists in particular, are careful to protect their party from political trolls who care little for small government and would hi-jack the party to pilfer it’s invaluable ballot access. They would join in droves, vote out libertarian leaders and replace them with those who hate libertarian ideals. For that reason the party requires members to sign a pledge (as in “allegiance”) aligning themselves with libertarian principles.
As the Libertarian Party is justified in opposing open membership, our nation is justified in opposing open borders. As Wayne Allyn Root proficiently noted, open borders will fail as long as the welfare state remains intact. The logic for the nation is identical to that for the party. Hordes of big-government intruders are invading our borders. Once they are granted amnesty they will vote for big-government leftist politicians so they may sap our resources and destroy any vestige of liberty.
Libertarians are to be applauded for standing firm on the front lines against an over-zealous big government’s abuse of civil rights and defending the integrity of free trade. But their enthusiasm must be tempered by acknowledging the difference between common-sense practicality and over-reaching authoritarianism.
As name tags are justified to qualify registered convention attendees, identification is justified to qualify legal citizens of our nation. And as open membership would destroy the Libertarian Party, open borders are destroying our national sovereignty.