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This is an old draft post, which I was inspired to release based on Royce Christian’s posting yesterday of “Souless? Not such a bad thing…“, which in turn references my own recent loss of “identity” vis-a-vis institutions that rely upon state-issued documents thereto. Originally it was going to be called “Steal this Identity”, releasing 100% of all the ID documentation on myself I could get my hands on, perhaps something like how the gentleman at Two–Four posted his Social Security Number recently. Sunni Maravillosa talked me back off that, cliff, however, and I realized there was little point to it. Still, a whole bunch of questions here without good answers and a whole lot of “yeah, but…” nonsense commonly given in response as justification for the cages we live in. Enjoy my incomplete thoughts. They stay crispy in milk!
If you’re the victim of identity theft, does that mean you lose your identity, as in “an identity is not something you have any more”? If not, what about agency? Status as a human being who ought to be subject to the same law as everyone else? Do you cease to be a person? An entity? Do your friends hold a funeral, or maybe put up posters around town, hoping that someone has been able to identify you and knows why you lost your identity?
Hopefully you answered all of these questions “no”. If you haven’t lost anything and if your situation in all those ways hasn’t changed, it can’t rightly be said that your identity was “stolen”. The identity referenced by “identity theft” is not identity of any intrinsic value (except, I believe, in certain exceptional trade situations), such that it can’t be easily replaced. It is Ihre papieren, bitte. True, someone can steal all you own and encumber you with debt for the rest of your life, but it’s not like you cease being who you are. Your circumstances change, you do not.
At some point during the dissolution of the institution of the state, new methods of authenticating people shall arise which are created by the market according to its needs and tolerances. Will that happen due to market initiative or in response to states ceasing to provide the identification function? What forces and acts will lead to the bulk of humanity ceasing to rely on states’ methods of identification? What would a non-state identification system look like? How much would it be used, in comparison to how much intrusive provision of identity documentation we suffer today?