And tucked into that appreciation was the contextual observation:
Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation.Identification? Sure.
But identification for what?
I guess it has ever been thus: If there is a buck to be made, there will be someone wanting to make it.
PS. I wonder if the Occupy Wall Street movement might get a boost from encouraging people to change their last names to ... nothing.
Not a change from "Smith" to "Jones," but rather a change to no surname whatsoever. Most people know the people they want to know and when not, are capable of seeking out whom they wish. Most of my friends and acquaintances know me as "Adam" and that suffices. Why should I continue to lug around the extra baggage of "Fisher?" Sure, there might be some difficulties, but would those difficulties outweigh the benefits?