Keeping score on civil liberties

I stumbled upon a very disheartening piece written on WashingtonsBlog: a scorecard on the Bill of Rights v. the Government. Sadly, it appears that the Bill of Rights isn’t playing very well. In fact, one could say that at the moment, it looks like a rout.

This rather lengthy but well-documented piece covers all of the first 10 Amendments. By the time I got down to the Fourth I was sobered. By the time I got to the bottom I was fairly well dismayed. This blogger presents a compelling argument that most of the Bill of Rights is in tatters.

The sad thing about the article is that it clearly articulates the reduction in our rights without even needing to mention the TSA and the demise of a traveler’s reasonable expectation of privacy for his or her body. There you have it: we live in a world governed by people who don’t believe that travelers have a right to expect that strangers will not be grabbing their testicles or rubbing their breasts.

The absurdity of that statement — the truth of that statement — stops me in my tracks. And yet, that argument isn’t even needed for the WashingtonsBlog writer to prove many times over that our privacy is constantly being invaded. Major companies are complicit in this: for instance, half of government requests for email information from Google were done without warrant, and Google provided the requested data around 90% of the time.

There are some small efforts at fighting back: 34 gun-related companies, not happy with the current gun control rhetoric, have notified various government entities that they will apply any gun control laws to all customers, government included. There’s a certain poetry to that approach.

It occurs to me that all of the stifling of free speech, the Constitution-free 100-mile-wide zones that encircle us (I live in one), and the incomprehensibly huge amount of watching and spying to which we are being subjected on a daily basis go back to a flawed original premise that spawned the current TSA approach. It’s all based upon fear and an apparent belief that there exists a critical mass of evil so large that the operating assumption must be that everyone is evil, and therefore everyone must be watched.

Bring out the Puritans: fall prostrate and declare your sins, ye unwashed masses. We are all evil and need to be cleansed. This time, however, it’s not an over-zealous church that is making the pronouncement, it’s your government. And their uniforms aren’t nearly as cool as those of the Knights Templar.

  • Kachtice

    “But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty once lost is lost forever.” – John Adams

    We have become what Adams warned against and Obama has only been making it worse. Once described as the “land of the free and home of the brave” it no longer applies to a Government that is more about terrorizing those abroad and at home. This Government no longer represents the people, profit and greed comes before life, liberty and happiness. Hoping for change isn’t enough, our elected officials represent the interest of those who bought them and until the sheeple come to realize this we have no other path than that of the Romans.

    The system is broken and neither party, Republican or Democrat, has the ability or inclination to fix their system that allows those whom they work for to engorge themselves on the suffering of the lower classes. Scrap the system that allows the supposed representative of the people from profiting from that position, no person should profit when it requires the suffering of another or group of people. Going back to a system that was forged on the sacrifice of the common people for the rights of the elite few doesn’t work. A new foundation with fewer cracks and broken pieces needs to be built so every person is given equal footing to achieve their own version of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. Anything less is a crime to those who have sacrificed in the past and will sacrifice in the future.

    This generation is responsible for the corruption we have allowed, it is our responsibility to correct those mistakes. The protection, safety, prosperity and happiness of those who are yet to come depend on the sacrifices we make now, inaction is the same as selling them into slavery. Once again Adams tells us what we have to do.

    “Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.” – John Adams

  • TSAisTerrorism

    Gee, Wendy, thanks for ruining my Saturday.

    But seriously: this is appalling, isn’t it? And what of those that invade our privacy? It’s shocking how up in arms they get when the light is turned on them (vis a vis the gun control measures you cite). Hopefully enough of us have backbones to turn some of this back.

    It’s going to be long. slow slog, I’m afraid.