I had a long debate with my conservative father this evening over the Arizona "show us your papers" bill. He spouted the typical right-wing argument that we have to pay taxes to support illegal "aliens."
Fine, I said, so get rid of the welfare benefits. (Do you have to turn the country into a police state to do that?) He stopped, confused and not sure how to respond. Then, surely enough, he continued ranting about why he supported the bill: illegal immigrants clog the emergency rooms, etc.
Ok, I said. Get rid of the welfare benefits then. That's the problem right? More grumbling.
I went on to ask him if he wanted to live in a country like Russia, where you have to cough up your papers everywhere you go. If you're that hardcore about it, I said, why not have the government simply tattoo a number on your wrist at birth? Now that made him mad (though he had no real response). I told him the immigrants will just get fake documents anyway and that the measure would only inconvenience law abiding citizens. No response whatsoever. Just more grumbling about welfare, which I already endorsed ending.
Conservatives have always hated civil liberties. Liberals don't care much about them either, except that they were going to lose voters in this case.
It's too bad nobody--and I mean *nobody* understands just how precious liberty is. It makes me wish I could have all of them spend a year under a totalitarian dictatorship. Then tell me you don't mind giving up your liberty to ward off the scary terrists/immigrants/eskimos.