Toll Roads Are Checkpoints

RECEIVED Mon., June 14, 2004

Editor,
    There is an aspect of toll roads that no one mentions, though I'm certain that everyone is at least subliminally aware of it.
    A tollbooth is a checkpoint. It turns the open road, where anyone might be and anyone might go, into a proprietary space, where no one is allowed to walk, where only those who have passed the checkpoint are allowed, for a specific and limited purpose. (As someone who's hitchhiked most of my life, I know well the difference.) The tollbooth operator, or cameras connected to sophisticated computer programs, will be able to recognize individuals the government might want to track or detain – or who simply appear strange to them – peruse the car's contents, and of course, check the license plate. I think it's no accident that toll roads are coming at a time when the United States is changing from what in Eastern Europe used to be called an "open society" to one much more like the Soviet Union, in which internal movement will be tightly controlled and surveilled.
    Thanks, Austin, for being you.
Lee Foster
Elgin
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