Passports used to ensure safe passage, but now are just permission to travel
October 3, 2016
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
It’s funny to think that had history taken just a slightly different turn, Global Wealth Protection wouldn’t exist in the form it does today. I imagine that could be said of everything and everyone to some extent. The purpose of Global Wealth Protection is really finding ways to live freer under the current circumstances which is why we highly encourage diversity in holdings, becoming location independent, and maximizing privacy.
One such strategy in accomplishing those afore mentioned goals, is obtaining multiple residencies, citizenships, and/or passports. All three of those concepts had the original intention of protecting the resident, citizen, and/or traveler, believe it or not. By knowing from whose kingdom you came, other countries would know to allow them safe passage and not see them as trespassers or aggressors. These writs were known as “safe conduct” papers.
It’s a lot like holding a title to property though, when you think about it. Oh, don’t mess with that car, it’s mine! Look, I have the pink slip for it here. Oh, don’t take that dog, it’s mine! Look I have a chip in it and tag on it. On the one hand, it’s nice to have the protections of the owner… on the other, it sucks that you would need to be someone’s property in order to receive any defense of your rights.
Anyway, time rolls on, and eventually “safe conduct” papers became known as passports, and were used by businesses and private citizens to travel across borders and ports. They were optional services provided by the state to its people and even foreign nationals. Because it was optional, the good intentions of these documents were more believable then, than now.
Then came World War 1. That was the advent of a new level and brand of tyranny. Just the year before, the US instituted the federal income tax and the Federal Reserve. During the Wilson Administration, reporters were rounded up, newspapers were shut down, neighbors were reporting on neighbors. And around that same time, passports became mandatory in many countries throughout Europe.
After the war ended, there were talks:
“The 1920 Paris conference recognised that restrictions on freedom of movement affect ‘personal relations between the peoples of various countries’ and ‘constitute a serious obstacle to the resumption of normal intercourse and to the economic recovery of the world’.” (Source: The Conversation)
With more excuses than solutions, countries moved forward keeping the passport, but limiting the costs and restrictions on the paperwork. For example, they abolished exit visas and lowered the cost of entry visas. The issue of passport abolition was revisited in 1924, but apparently that wasn’t really a good time to follow through on getting back to the pre-war conditions of free travel either.
But in the interim, while the world anxiously awaited the “right time” for passport abolition, more passport issuing offices were opened to facilitate demand to make it “easier and more affordable” for people. How kind.
While the words and sentiments all said, “Abolish the Passport!” their actions said, “Dig Your Heels In and Keep the Passports!”. More offices? An adoption of a uniformed appearance? Every policy following these abolitionist conferences gave more permanence to these documents. Not too long after, the rhetoric was apologetic for the passport.
“As the Italian delegate reminded the conference that conditions had changed after the war and the passport was ‘particularly necessary as an identification document for workers and their families; it provided them with the protection they needed, enabled them to obtain permits of sojourn.’”
“Another delegate alluded to the Soviet Union when he refused to restore the pre-war regime. He said, ‘conditions had changed so much since the war that everyone had to take into consideration a good many things they could formerly ignore.’” (Source: The Conversation)
After WW2 they tried again to abolish the passport, but it was successfully argued that returning to pre-WW1 travel agreements would require countries to go back to pre –war conditions entirely. I don’t know why that would be necessary, but more policies were instituted under the guise of facilitating freer travel, while adding permanence to the passport institution.
Even as late as 1963 the effort was made to abolish passports, but by then, passports had become so commonplace, it was difficult to undo the conditioning. What conditioning? That countries control the free movement of people; that freedom to travel – one of the most basic and primal rights of man – would become an action by permission of a bureaucrat.
Now you have countries literally trying to out-do one another in making these documents tamper-proof! Passports now feature embedded microchips and biometric data to varying degrees, such as photographs, fingerprints and iris patterns.
“The new Nicaraguan passport, for instance, boasts 89 separate security features, including ‘bidimensional barcodes’, holograms and watermarks, and is reputed to be one of the least forgeable documents in the world.” (Source: Guardian)
It’s even become a bit of a competition for which countries have the most POWERFUL passports!
There are rankings on the world’s best and worst passports!
Passports started as something that was supposed to ensure safety for citizens during their travels, and now have become a means of leverage against those citizens, as well as a means of tracking them down like property. It’s a low cost and high perceived value item that governments sell for easy money. It’s a means of trapping citizens who owe taxes, or were not compliant with some filing code.
Even I break it down in similar terms: easy, cheap, and quick. You can get two of the three in most cases when trying to obtain a passport or residency, but you can’t get all three. Of course, even those descriptors are relative.
In less than 100 years, the absence of freedom has become almost natural and understood. It was just slowly phased out over time. There are generations of people who will be incapable of imagining a time without government funded roads, social security, and income taxes. There are generations of people who will never understand what it means to run to the gate where your loved one is disembarking at the airport. Like just about every government program that started out as something voluntary and temporary, over time, it becomes a permanent fixture in our society.
In less than 100 years we’ve come full circle: it was okay to ask if someone had their papers in order, then it was evil and fascistic, and now we are back to thinking a little fascism ain’t so bad.
Here we are in 2016 with a bunch of “well-intended” antiquated policies that are not working. And here I am with a business partially predicated on trying to help you get from one country to the other with all the necessary paperwork in order. Yes, there are businesses that exist for the sole purpose of helping you reclaim your right to privacy, free travel, and property: businesses like mine who refuse to normalize the absence of freedom.
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