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November 25, 2009
Personal Liberty Allowance
In a time of expanding surveillance and shrinking liberty, the citizens of Great Britain are now threatened with yet another massive assault on their rights and dignity.
A certain Lord Smith of Finsbury wants the government to lord it over Her Majesty's subjects even more obnoxiously by slapping them with a "personal carbon allowance."
This carbon allowance would be enforced by giving everybody a personal ID number. Britons would have to supply the number whenever they buy anything, from gas to airline tickets, affecting their carbon output. Presumably, vendors would check a customer's newest proposed purchase against some database. Only so many logs you could toss on the fire and then you're out of luck, unless you buy more carbon credits.
The proposal is vicious in itself. But the potential for "abuse" of such an abusive protocol is also massive. In an age of rampant credit card fraud and identity theft, how hard would it be for a sales clerk in the proposed regime who has used up his own quota to "borrow" somebody else's carbon-permission ID number?
If the British government wields this latest Orwellian bludgeon and the citizens don't rebel, they'll accept anything. We Americans may shake our heads in disbelief, but we're hardly immune to such eco-totalitarian trends.
It can happen here. After all, Lord Smith's proposal merely takes the obsession over carbon emissions to its logical -- and absurd -- conclusion.
This is Common Sense. I'm Paul Jacob.
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Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge and the Citizens in Charge Foundation, which sponsors both Common Sense and Paul's weekly Townhall Column. The opinions expressed in Common Sense are Paul Jacob's and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Citizens in Charge or the Citizens in Charge Foundation.