One of the
most hateful things about America are the petty bureaucrats. Even the police
in America have become the enemy of the people. In this article Doug Casey
looks at the bureaucratic numbskulls who clear us through customs. What
are they looking for?
How many of
us know that the tiny strips inside the new U.S. currency can be read by
sensing devices that are discretely situated in the customs areas of most
Are the customs
agents looking for bombs, or escaping loot? Whatever they're looking
for, they are looking rudely.
article Doug Casey corners the soul of the customs agent and finds it tiny.
many, even most, people resent being herded like cattle into lines in order
to be interrogated, have their baggage rifled and have their government-issued
papers stamped. But, in years of watching my fellow citizens being processed,
I find it rare that any have other than an ingratiating smile for the agent.
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Americans are whipped dogs, ready and willing to have a cavity search performed
on their person if some nothing-nobody in a uniform sends them to a back
of a general process causing Americans to lose whatever self-respect and
individuality they might still have-which was the main thing that’s always
distinguished them from nationals of other countries, most of whom are
inured to acting like sheep.
I suggest you
study your body language, and that of others, when next you clear customs.
Here are a few practical suggestions. Do these, and you’ll feel better
cringe and supplicate. Stand tall, look the agent straight in the eye and,
under no circumstances, smile. Your demeanor should not be, like most,
that of a child, afraid to be scolded. It should be that of an objective
scientist studying a familiar but unappealing insect. Answer questions
curtly, with a single word. Don’t volunteer anything. Don’t make small
talk. Don’t make pleasant conversation like all the whipped dogs around
If the agent
proves inquisitive, ask, in a firm and business-like way, exactly why he’s
asking. If you get an unsatisfactory brushoff, ask to see the regulation
authorizing them to ask you that specific question. Never lose your
temper or cool. Don’t adopt an attitude, or be a hard case; you’re
not looking for trouble. You simply want to maintain your space and integrity
in a nonaggressive manner, which is quite enough to come out way on top.
Never lie, or say anything from which you’ll have to backpedal. You don’t
want to give them an opening to go on the offensive. It’s imperative to
maintain the high moral and psychological ground.
If you have
a problem with the agent’s attitude, ask to see his supervisor. In dealing
with the supervisor be businesslike, rational, and a concerned citizen,
interested in seeing that everything is done in a 100% correct, proper,
and by-the-book fashion. If you’re not treated in a correct and proper
manner, ask for the names and numbers of those involved, write them down,
and then write a letter to their superiors. You won’t, incidentally, get
their names. But I promise you’ll ruin their day. If the agent says
“Thank you,” your response should be neither “Thank you” nor
“You’re welcome,” unless you’d also thank a mugger.
had your privacy violated, and it could have turned into a nightmare. One
time when an agent thanked me, I simply looked at him and walked off. He
had the impertinence to call after me, saying “I said, thank you.” I looked
back at him, and said “I heard you the first time.”
I’ve had many
fascinating interchanges with these people over the years, and practice
makes perfect. If everyone treated these bedbugs with the disdain they
deserve, it would quickly cave in their fragile personas and they’d have
to go out and find productive employment. The reason I suggest you deal
with them as I’ve described, however, is for your own benefit, and that
of society, not for that of the agent.
Only once have
I encountered an agent who seemed like he might be a decent human being.
On that occasion, I said, with true interest and concern: “You know, you
seem like a decent guy.
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you doing here?” His response was a look of unhappy resignation, and
he said “I don’t know. I’ve really got to get out of this game.”
The most overblown,
overrated, disappointing, popular, and stupid movie of the season? The
prize goes to Independence Day. The movie is full of dumb dialog and even
dumber technical errors. The first job of a work of cinematic fiction is
to suspend disbelief, to make you say to yourself “Yes, I know it’s just
a story, but everything is the way it would be in real life.” I have no
problem with an alien invasion; it’s a far out, but not unbelievable, prospect.
The problem is things like fighter pilot Smith shucking and jiving over
to a downed alien craft, sitting down on it, lighting a cigar, and then
simply punching the alien in the head (through its space suit) to knock
it out after it opens the hatch. Or like the earthlings attacking the alien
orbiters (each described as larger than Manhattan Island) with conventional
munitions; a laughable concept. And a dozen more things like that.
The movie reminded
me of the braindead 70’s TV series Battlestar Galactica come to the big
screen. The only credible characterization was the scumsucking Secretary
of Defense, who reminded me of a cross between Robert MacNamara and Dick
I can live
with wasting $7 and a couple of hours. What really got me was how much-
and why- Americans seemed to like the movie. Especially the “why,” which
would appear to be a celebration of everyone joining together to defeat
a threat from outside, resulting in the total destruction of an innately
evil and uncompromisingly aggressive enemy. The problem is when people
are looking for an enemy like that, they usually find him.
fits the mood set by the recent TWA explosion and the Atlanta pipebombing.
that’s an ugly mood. One tipoff to the movie’s abysmal quality was that
America’s second most dangerous politician, Bob Dole, a man who’s previously
reviewed movies he hasn’t even seen, said Independence Day was the type
of movie Hollywood ought to be making. God help us. The man would be even
worse as a movie reviewer than as President.