Is owning a passport a wretched indication that we are not truly free human beings?
Imagine a world without borders - what would it look like? Are we truly free and at liberty if we are considered invalid if we don't have the right paperwork? That we can't cross man-made invented borders without documents is - objectively speaking - rather strange don't you think?
I don't own a passport, does that mean I am free? (sorry to answer a question with a question!).
Yes, you have the freedom not to have a passport. You have choice; to have or not to have. Freedom = to have a choice.
How do You not have a passport? Never felt like checking out any other country, see what life is other places? Just curious.
Mr. Happy: I have a passport. I have visited other countries, seen other places. I had wonderful positive traveling experiences when out of my country. I know the freedom having a passport delivers as well as it being a personal safety measure.
Great question. I recently worked for a Canadian based company but was positioned here in the US. A condition of my hiring offer was that I must obtain a passport in preparation of any required training in Canada. I felt very conflicted about the passport requirement and, the application process. Ironically, I was laid off a year later without ever traveling to Canada so now I have this document that feels like an albatross around my neck. "Free" seems to be an oxymoron these days. I guess we are free to express ourselves as long as it doesn't offend anyone. We are free to travel as long as we are tagged, chipped, or followed. We are free to carry a gun as long as we have all the proper paperwork. We are free to choose, as long as we make the right choice. It's all very strange to me and yet, I do feel free. I feel free when I am doing things that fill me emotionally or spiritually. I guess that has to be good enough today. lol
I suppose it could be viewed that way, but going back to the Dark Ages would suck. Even many centuries ago people were 'prevented' from travel as the way they looked, dressed and the language they spoke could make it very difficult to move to a new land. Discrimination was just as rampant, if not more so, before the age of shared languages.
I have a passport, and I feel like it gives me more freedom. Perhaps I would feel different if I couldn't get one. I suppose the requirement to have one does restrict freedom, but do we really want our borders open to anyone who cares to come? I think they are a necessary evil.
No. Not being allowed to have a passport, as was the case in most of the Soviet Union, is an indication of not being free. The fact that we don't let people in our countries unless they have a passport enables us to be free (theoretically, at least) from terrorists or others who would wish to do us harm.
There is no such thing as absolute freedom. Each freedom we have is a trade-off. We have one freedom but lose another. When we give a freedom to one person, we take a freedom away from another. A "free" country can only try to strike the optimum balance between freedom and social constraints to benefit the people of that country.
Mazzy Bolera answers this question so well that nothing is left for me to say except, "Good job, Mazzy! You explained the reasoning behind the need for passports in a clear and thorough manner."
Channeling your inner John Lennon huh? No possessions, no borders, and no religion. What a glorious world it would be!
I think that due to the current organization of human beings, with governments being antagonistic towards one another, it would be unwise to simply travel freely from one location to the next.
However, if humanity could all unite, then passports could be eliminated. I am in favor of that.
Having a passport does not indicate a lack of freedom. A passport gifts the liberty to travel throughout the multiple nations of the world, right here on planet Earth. Traveling outside of one's nation is truly an eye opener and a wonderful experience.
I do not find it strange to use a passport or the need for one. Each country has laws and restrictions. Each country has its own stamp they stamp in the passport. These are fun to collect in one's passport.
A world without borders could equal a planet without multiple cultures and total lack of diversity. I would not want everyone on the planet's culture to be identical to mine. A planet without borders could mean a singular planetary governing body. I get the shudders thinking about such an atrocity that would deliver no choice.
The diverse cultures, lifestyles and nations make our world great! We have choice; can live in different nations if we meet their visa or immigration requirements. Diversity is fantastic! I welcome the borders of the different nations on our planet Earth.
Why would a planet without borders necessarily eliminate cultural diversity?
Usually if there are no borders, you are in the same nation. No borders would mean there would be no individual nations. The diversity nations deliver would not be present which could cause an elimination to cultural diversity.
I see where you are coming from. I think it would depend on how much respect people show to different cultural beliefs. Our government likes immigrants to "assimilate" into our culture. We don't have to buy into that though!
Thank you, I was using the "assimilate" into one culture you mentioned as the precedent set for a planetary no borders scenario with one global government. The assimilation factor nearly cost the American Indian their entire culture.
No because look at the terrorist who had papers and destroyed the world trade center. If we didnt have borders every evil person that wanted to destroy human beings would. I see nothing wrong with having a passport to come and go in the United States or any other country. It keeps unwanted evil people from getting in. It has nothing to do with freedom. Passports have been around in some form for hundreds of years. Governments learned long ago that an official document or certification -- one that identified a traveler as a citizen or national with a right to protection while abroad and a right to return to the country of his citizenship -- is a necessity. Passports, letters of transit and similar documents were used for centuries to allow individuals to travel safely in foreign lands, but the adoption of the passport by all nations was a development of the 19th and 20th centuries. An executive order on Dec. 15, 1915, required every person entering or leaving the United States to have a valid passport. So it has been around a very long time. Before any of us were born.
It keeps unwanted evil people from getting in. - Myth. Let's be serious now: borders do not keep people out, hence You got a problem with illegal immigration, down south ... why do You indulge in myts?
Agreed. In addition, border control is vital. It's pointless having passports if the passports aren't checked. I've noticed that my passport is checked these days by inputting it into some sort of computer system. Very necessary.
Mr. Happy: National borders do protect. Without them the entire world is exposed to more negatives than with the national borders. The majority of countries do their best to protect its citizens; domestic tranquility is a very precious right.
I guess it's all in how you look at it. On the one hand having to be able to prove you are who you say you are does restrict a perceived freedom, but no more than modern society expects. On the other hand having a passport indicates a person will be crossing international borders and is therefore a citizen of not just one country but planet earth, and that's a type of freedom our forefathers never even considered.
"Needing" to own a passport to travel to most everywhere beyond our own country, is an indication, literally, that we do not live in a "world without borders.".......that we are FREE to obtain the appropriate documents, in order to cross borders. "Made-made " borders have been in existence since the days of Christ.
Trying to "imagine" being a civilization whose people have no country...no homeland......nowhere from which they come....any different from where they may go, no ethnicity of their own or unique cultures of their group, without boundaries to encompass a specific territory.......would be a civilization of dull, bland, mechanically clone-like humans without diversity....not to mention mass confusion and dysfunction. NO identity?
A "passport" insures there is a valid record of my identity, home land, medical history and next of kin. No one should want to travel far and wide into unfamiliar areas of the world, encountering foreign languages and dissimilar culture, without an official record of identification.
Tell me, what might happen to a U.S. citizen visiting Egypt, for instance.......were he/she to became seriously ill or injured?........arrested or kidnapped?........even die or be murdered? How do you prove who you are, where you are from, what separates you from the Natives?? WHO are you? How would anyone be notified? Your country would not even know to represent or assist you.
Likewise, when foreigners come to our country, it is most imperative we are apprised of their country of origin, as well as other pertinent information.
"Objectively" speaking or otherwise.......you speak of a vast world of nothingness, inhabited by wandering, herds of wild beasts. Speaking of .....even the animal species have their natural habitats in numerous & various areas of the world, for the purpose of their very survival.
Why must we be issued a birth certificate...a social security number, a driver's license,? Why can I not perform brain surgery without a medical license?
Because we are, after all, civilized, rational, vital HUMAN beings, with individual identities, from the countries of our origin. Unlike plants and animals, we have an evolved brain and a system of survival. We THINK.
I do not wish to imagine a world without borders.....only a world of Peace & Tolerance.
Trying to "imagine" being a civilization whose people have no country...no homeland - Having no borders does not mean one does not have a home. Haha!! It just means freedom to go and come as we please.
Mr. Happy: True no matter with or without borders, one would have a home. The question one should ask is what type of government would we have without multi-national borders? Would it be a global republic? Totalitarian or democratic? Think about it..
Freedom is mostly a state of mind.
What you have said reminds me of a quotation by Rousseau - man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.
I get your drift about human freedom.
I think that the problem with the notion is that in order for folks to be truly free, human beings must be perfectly respectful of others. Given the probable impossibility of that, the next best thing for all of us is a world of well-constructed rules. Yes, this inhibits our freedom but allows us at the same time maximum freedom. How so? Well, the passport is a paper device that allows me to travel to places with different governments (systems of rules). It therefore gives me the power to travel around the world to nearly any place I want. Practically speaking, that allows me a lot of freedom.
Rather than being hamstrung by a desire to be perfectly free, I choose to think of the passport as an enhancement to the human condition.
Of course, I am an old man who has seen too much. I think that as we get older (and maybe more tired?) we tend to think of limitations to ideal freedom as enhancements to our personal freedom. Wretched is a pretty strong word; it's an indication that we are not truly free or with liberty, yes. To the extent that I cannot eat what I want everyday, I am not truly free or with liberty. But, it's a pretty good condition to be in (to be able to eat), maybe?
Owning a passport means someone trusts you to go beyond your own country's boundaries without embarrassing them. If we didn't have borders somebody would grab someone else's lands and then create borders incorporating their 'new territories'. The borders are an insurance against territorial disputes. Just because some people have problems with their grasping neighbours doesn't mean the system doesn't work. Nor should we expect our passports to 'do their job' beyond the bounds of reason. Some countries don't respect the rights of, say, British or US citizens. The idea is 'not to push the bounds' on your own. You can easily disappear and embarrassed officials in those countries might deny you ever showed up in the first place. An airline's records don't necessarily mean you caught the 'plane and claimed your seat. If you want an adventure holiday it doesn't mean you have to risk your neck against your fellow beings as well as against the elements. Not everybody's as 'fired up' about rights as Europeans/Americans.
No, owning a passport is not a wretched indication that we are not truly free human beings. I feel privileged to have a passport and view it simply as required to travel. Crossing man-made borders is not too unlike going to someone's ranch, estate, or home. You need to prove who you are. It is a security measure for the places you visit.
It is not a right to travel abroad and is a privilege in our modern world. If we were "truly" free and without borders there would be a lot of negative things to come along with this. Paperwork of a variety of types is required for most people traveling abroad, even if not a passport.
While I don't agree with too much government involvement, having passports is a reasonable thing. A world without borders would be even more corrupt and dangerous than the world we already live in.
Perhaps we are free in some ways and not so much in others, especially in not being immune to laws and some which seem so unjust. As far as passports, I can see the need for identification and what it may prevent as far as terrorists threats and the like. The more we all live in today's world of changes, the more seemingly complicated everything appears to become. You would think modern technology would help to alleviate rather than complicate all of this. Don't seem to.
I feel that, because of the fact that I don't have a passport, most of the world is closed off to me. And, as long as we're quoting song lyrics and others, maybe "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose?"
The same question might be posed about simple property rights. The Native Americans never could understand the European concept of borders and fences. The Earth belonged to everyone, and no one had the right to prohibit travel from one section to another. Sadly, we have long passed that point, arriving at the proposition that surrendering liberty to obtain security is perfectly logical, else we are left with a Hobbsian worldview that life is "solitary, poor, brutish, and short." Thus, the answer to your question is no, we are not absoslutely free if our freedom to travel is restrained, but we have already forfeited so many others (Cf. the PATRIOT Act) that passports seem trivial both in the existential and philosophical sense.
I dont think so!!! Passports are necessary to maintian the security of people that enter each country. Just think how easy it would be for Al Queda members to enter the USA if we did not require passports. Obviously passports are necessary and every country that I know of requires one before you can enter their country.
People will continue to justify trading liberty for security until one day we wake up chipped and bar-coded like livestock in a corporatocracy.
Rather strange? No. It would be strange if it were otherwise. Man has always been tribal for the sake of survival. A world without borders? There would be standing room only in the U.S. the U.K and other northern European nations where a benefit and entitlement culture has been created. Migrants with little more than the clothes they stood in used to flock to countries where they would be free to earn a living; free from political or religious persecution. Now they pay thousands to traffickers to chase the benefits and then find them selves forced into prostitution.
Open borders in the UK have enabled criminal gangs from the four corners of the world to move in with people trafficking, child prostitution, drugs, guns and even slavery. We have shootings, stabbings, gang warfare, rape and murder on a scale we have never seen. Not that we don't have our own pond life I hasten to add; but why import more. No borders? I think we should see a working example before going for it.
Interestingly; most people in settled nations never move more than twenty miles from the parental homestead. It's only the intrepid, or those on the make who migrate over great distance.
A world without borders would look great. We would be free to go and come as we please. I actually missed a wedding in India this spring because I went to the airport without a Visa.
I never knew I needed a Visa to enter India. I am a Canadian and European Union citizen, I offered any of the two passports but I was still turned away. That honestly made me feel pretty bad; like a rat in a cage.
Most people indulge in Fear. I have read most of the comments left by people and that is all I see: Fear.
Comments such as "borders keep the bad guys out" are just plain nonsense. If that was true than why do we have so many guns from the United States here in Canada? The borders do not keep bad guys or bad things out. They are there for show and to keep the poor people from moving around.
If borders did any good we would not have the huge problems with illegal immigration ... Fear keeps us separated, keeps us suspicious of our neighbours, trembling of what "those people out there" might do if they get "here" ... Haha!!
China build the Great Wall of China to keep Genghis Khan out and that did not work. Genghis Khan sacked China anyway. When will we learn to work together as supposed to try to separate each other with walls and stupid imaginery lines called borders.
Here's an article about borders and walls, which talks about a few failed examples: http://mrhappy.hubpages.com/hub/Borders-and-Walls
I always considered my passport as a pass to another land. A legal authorisation between countries. Never did I feel entirely free since our staying in any country is limited. However with the e-passport (with the chip), the facial recognition, now, I definitively feel prisoner of my moves! Technology, in that case, is not a symbol of improvement!
I am free, because I am free inside myself.
I don't think that ideas that other people have - even nations of other people, or a world of other people - changes our internal, intrinsic freedom.
Yet the world, as it is, does not truly allow us to express that freedom. Your vision of a world without borders is beautiful. Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh - during his 30 years as a refugee when he couldn't even visit home - spoke of the freedom of clouds to float across borders with yearning.
On the other hand, centuries ago, there were no passports, and people were much less free to travel safely than we are now. Nationalist hostility and fear of foreigners has, overall, gone down in the last few centuries.
So, oddly enough, national identity and passports were, historically, a step in the right direction.
May we create peace among nations, and a world without borders, sooner rather than later!
I don't see how having a passport keeps you from being free. It is because you have a passport that you can freely visit pretty much any other nation you choose. Freedom is great, however without rules and regulations, you would have a society running amok.
I have no issue with having a passport. I have several as I'm a citizen of more than one country. It allows me to live and work in several countries. I like that.
The idea that there should be no national borders and everybody should be able to come and go as they want is not a new one.
Unhappily, it isn't based on human nature. In order for that to work, human kind would need to have a different kind of nature. Like many in the animal kingdom, they tend to be territorial and they like to keep their own piece of property to themselves. There's not much wrong with that, so long as some don't grab most of the property for themselves and others don't see might as the right to grab property that doesn't belong to them. We all like to have a home.
Along with having a passport goes the idea of border control. There is little border control or immigration control in the US. This country is very easy to get into when one comes in from Mexico. Less so if one flies in from Europe.
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