FC: Objectivist Center replies to Politech post on torture, nat'l ID

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Fri Nov 09 2001 - 07:56:03 PST

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    I invited David to reply to these previous messages:
      "The Objectivist Center applauds national IDs, torture, snooping?"
      "Rudyard Kipling, the Objectivist Center, Ayn Rand & National ID"
    The Objectivist Center article in question is here:
    "The prosecution of this war against the terrorists will not be in the 
    hands of international bankers. It may involve extremely disquieting 
    tactics: assassinations (which are already being discussed); secret trials 
    (to prove we have the right guys without revealing to other terrorists how 
    we know); and even torture (to avert imminent attacks, say)."
    From: "David Kelley" <dkelleyat_private>
    To: "'Declan McCullagh'" <declanat_private>
    Subject: RE: National IDs
    Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 17:19:13 -0500
    Mr. McCullagh:
    In response to your comments about The Objectivist Center and national ID
    1. The point Jim Robbins' statement about a national ID card was not to
    propose this measure but to mention it as a possibility, and even then only
    to illustrate how the war on terrorism might affect the trade-off between
    security and liberty.
    2. Robbins's statement was one among many in a thoughtful article, and that
    article was one of many that the Center has published in Navigator and/or
    posted on its website. It is disappointing that so many libertarians seem to
    have fastened on this "red flag" issue and ignored everything else.
    3. Robbins's statement does not express the Center's position, nor is the
    Center "talking up the need for more eavesdropping on Americans," as you
    assert on wired.com ("The Oracle of National ID cards, October 27). Our
    general policy is to publish a range of opinion, with the proviso that
    authors of signed articles speak for themselves.
    4. The Center's actual position can be found in its position statement
    (http://www.objectivistcenter.org/pubs/position_statement.asp), the relevant
    section of which says, "The first responsibility of government is to ensure
    the security of its citizens—i.e., protect their right to life. In doing so,
    however, it must also respect their rights to liberty, property, and
    privacy. Measures that limit the latter rights are justified only if they
    are objectively required for security and are tailored to minimize
    restrictions on other rights." Whether or not a national ID card can satisfy
    this criterion is not an issue on which we have any position.
    I would appreciate your making this position known to your readers.
    David Kelley
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