Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Congressional Issues 2010
Passports and the Freedom to Travel

Congress should:
  • abolish all requirements for passports and visas

What would America's Founding Fathers say about the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)? If you've never asked that question, here are a few essays to get you started.

While TSA agents are looking at us naked and opening up our luggage and examining our underwear, the Fourth Amendment says:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Declaration of Independence complains about "swarms of officers sent hither to harrass our People, and eat out their substance."

What would America's Founding Fathers say if they could see our airports today?

Would they excuse swarms of Fourth Amendment violators once they realized that we are in the midst of a "war on terror?" No, they would not.

Here's a look at our past -- before World War I -- from an unlikely source.

‘The Economic Consequences of the Peace’

What an extraordinary episode in the economic progress of man that age was which came to an end in August, 1914! The greater part of the population, it is true, worked hard and lived at a low standard of comfort, yet were, to all appearances, reasonably contented with this lot. But escape was possible, for any man of capacity or character at all exceeding the average, into the middle and upper classes, for whom life offered, at a low cost and with the least trouble, conveniences, comforts, and amenities beyond the compass of the richest and most powerful monarchs of other ages. The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, in such quantity as he might see fit, and reasonably expect their early delivery upon his door-step; he could at the same moment and by the same means adventure his wealth in the natural resources and new enterprises of any quarter of the world, and share, without exertion or even trouble, in their prospective fruits and advantages; or he could decide to couple the security of his fortunes with the good faith of the townspeople of any substantial municipality in any continent that fancy or information might recommend. He could secure forthwith, if he wished it, cheap and comfortable means of transit to any country or climate without passport or other formality, could despatch his servant to the neighboring office of a bank for such supply of the precious metals as might seem convenient, and could then proceed abroad to foreign quarters, without knowledge of their religion, language, or customs, bearing coined wealth upon his person, and would consider himself greatly aggrieved and much surprised at the least interference. But, most important of all, he regarded this state of affairs as normal, certain, and permanent, except in the direction of further improvement, and any deviation from it as aberrant, scandalous, and avoidable. The projects and politics of militarism and imperialism, of racial and cultural rivalries, of monopolies, restrictions, and exclusion, which were to play the serpent to this paradise, were little more than the amusements of his daily newspaper, and appeared to exercise almost no influence at all on the ordinary course of social and economic life, the internationalization of which was nearly complete in practice.

—John Maynard Keynes, The Economic Consequences of the Peace, New York: Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 1920, pp. 10-12.

Globalization and Monetary Policy - Southwest Economy, July/Aug 2005 - Federal Reserve Board, Dallas

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