by Paul Craig Roberts, Paul Craig Roberts:
My Generation is the last one to have known privacy and to have lived out most of our lives in freedom.
I remember when driving licenses did not have photos and most certainly not fingerprints. A driving license was issued on proof of birth date alone.
Prior to the appearance of automobiles IDs did not exist in democratic nations. You were who you said you were.
The intrusive questions that accost us every day, even when doing something simple as reporting a telephone or Internet connection being out or inquiring about a credit card charge, were impermissible. I remember when you could telephone a utility company, for example, have the telephone answered no later than the third ring with a real person on the line who could clear up the problem in a few minutes without having to know your Social Security number and your mother’s maiden name. Today, after half an hour with robot voices asking intrusive questions you might finally get a real person somewhere in Asia who is controlled by such a tight system of rules that the person is, in effect, a robot. The person is not permitted to use any judgment or discretion and you listen to advertisements for another half hour while you wait for a supervisor who promises to have the matter looked into.