Those who know me know that I’m not very political. Those who know me well know that I AM quite political, but thinking about a system as broken as ours can frustrate me to the point of mental paralysis. I also worry quite a bit about the fact that nobody really knows which of two candidates or which of two policies would be the best for our country and society in the long run. If top economists and political strategists can wave their PhDs at each other across partisan aisles, what hope do I have of accurately predicting what politically decisions would yield the best possible outcomes? It’s because of this sort of thinking that I have so far avoided voting and I try to ignore politics as much as possible. “Plug back into the Matrix. We have steak.TM”
In the end, there are circumstances tragic enough and causes clear enough to wake me out of my selfish funk at make me think for just one lousy minute about the world we’re shaping for our posterity. It doesn’t get much more clear-cut than the bill of rights and few amendments are more clear than the fourth.
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.
This is pretty simple stuff. “Papers” includes letters, documents, and records. Today’s letters, documents, and records are stored digitally. So, the government has the right to search and seize my digital information provided they have probable cause. I believe that recently reported abuses are contrary to the Constitution of the United States of America and any laws that enable such abuses should be amended to reflect the freedoms our founding fathers secured for us.
There will always be a trade-off between freedom and security. It is very easy to put bad guys behind bars in societies with limited freedoms. It’s also a lot easier to put good guys behind bars. I believe that the decision makers behind these programs likely believe them to be in the best interest of our nation. The problem is that even if they have purely altruistic motives, what about the next guy? What about the guy after that? Our nation was built with checks and balances that in theory should prevent even the most charismatic tyrant from seizing power. This is why we must act now to restore our freedoms. If we don’t quash these invasive programs and the laws that prop them up, they will one day be used by those who would usurp power and authority over us. How important will security be when there are no longer freedoms to protect?