the washing go around, when this quite startling young woman walked in. Startling because thelast thing I was expecting was such an apparition; also because the tomato-red shift she worewas so startling in its brevity.II J a 0 p Btct]Gsi440Be:a0i]Ttiet]AC(CThe law protects the law-abiding citizen. It even protects to adegree the citizen who, without denying the force of the law,nevertheless uses force against his fellow citizen: the punishment prescribed for the offendermust be condign with his offence. Even the enemy soldier, inasmuch as he is the representativeof a rival state, shall not be put to death if captured. But there is no law to protect the outlaw, theman who takes up arms against his own state, that is to say, the state that claims him as itsown.Outside the state (the commonwealth, the statum civitatis), says Hobbes, the individual may feelhe enjoys perfect liberty, but that liberty does him no good. Within the state, on the other hand,"every citizen retains as much liberty as he needs to live well in peace, [while] enough liberty istaken from others to remove the fear of them . . . To sum up: outside the commonwealth is theempire of passions, war, fear, poverty, nastiness, solitude, barbarity, ignorance, savagery; withinthe commonwealth is the empire of reason, peace, security, wealth, splendour, society, goodtaste, the sciences and good-will."1What the Hobbesian myth of origins does not mention is that the handover of power to the stateis irreversible. The option is not open to us to change our minds, to decide that the monopoly onthe exercise of force held by the state, codified in the law, is not what we wanted after all, that wewould prefer to go back to a state of nature.We are born subject. From the moment of our birth we are subject. One mark of this subjection isthe certificate of birth. The perfected state holds and guards the monopoly of certifying birth.Either you are given (and carry with you) the certificate of the state, thereby acquiring an identitywhich during the course of your life enables the state to identify you and track you (track youdown); or you do without an identity and condemn yourself to living outside the state like ananimal (animals do not have identity papers).The spectacle of me may have given her a start too: a crumpled old fellow in a corner who at firstglance might have been a tramp off the street. Hello; she said coolly, and then went about herbusiness, which was to empty two white canvas bags into a top-loader, bags in which maleunderwear seemed to predominate.Not only may you not enter the state without certification: you are, in the eyes of the state, notdead until you are certified dead; and you can be certified dead only by an officer who himself(herself) holds state certification. The state pursues the certification of death with extraordinarythoroughness — witness the dispatch of a host of forensic scientists and bureaucrats toscrutinize and photograph and prod and poke the mountain of human corpses left behind by thegreat tsunami of December zoo4 in order to establish their individual identities. No expense isspared to ensure that the census of subjects shall be complete and accurate.Whether the citizen lives or dies is not a concern of the state. What matters to the state and itsrecords is whether the citizen is alive or dead.