Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why Polls Should Not Matter on PRISM and Government Spying on Citizens

"The government does not need to know more about what we are doing. We need to know more about what the government is doing. We need to turn the cameras on the police and on the government, not the other way around." - Ron Paul

Soon after the story broke that our government is scooping up meta-data on millions upon millions of U.S. Citizens the government-media complex released poll data suggesting that the majority of Americans were OK with it.  Were the questions asked using skewed language?  Of course.  Are the abuses much worse than is being generally reported in the media.  Of course.  But that's not the larger problem in this story.   The larger problem is that people are being conditioned to accept that polls even matter on issues such as these.  The should not.

The 4th amendment says that there will be no search and seizure of citizens without a warrant, and that the warrant will only be issued on probable cause, and that it will describe in the warrant exactly who or what the authorities are looking for in the warrant.  None of that was done here.  The government just scooped up the records.   None of the requirements of the fourth amendment were met.   The Feds just helped themselves to the information.  And if they ever wanted even more information, they need not bother going to a real court, but a secret FISA court, set up in the Executive Branch to churn out vague warrants without too many questions.

The fourth amendment is in the Bill of Rights friends.  A "right" by definition is a claim by an individual against the government.  It is an area of life that, by mutual agreement in the compact which established the nation, is not subject to majority vote.     The will of the majority is not supposed to matter when you are talking about a right, because it is an area of life that was agreed on from the start to be "off-limits" to government.   

It does not matter whether or not the majority of Americans think I should be allowed to own a firearm, because its my right.  It does not matter if the majority does not approve of my religion, or of my speech.   Those things are supposed to be protected from government interference for the benefit of all of us.  Therefore it does not matter whether 56% of the voters think that what the government did was OK, because the Constitution says that its not OK.   The whole point of a right is that the majority opinion does not matter.  We are free as individual persons, we are not bound by the will of the collective in matters of rights.

The question that should be asked when the government violates what our Constitution recognizes as a right is "Do you think the government should be bound by the Rule of Law?" because that is the real issue here. The Rule of Law means that government has to follow its own laws.   If the government can do X even though the Constitution says that X is forbidden, then what are the limits government?   Government is tasked with upholding the law, and looses all moral legitimacy when it becomes itself lawless.  Not only that, but citizens loose all protection of the law from their government.  Instead of protecting the rights of citizens from private threats, government itself becomes the oppressor, government becomes the violator.

Of course, a virtuous population is the best defense against big government.   If the majority lose their understanding of rights and individual liberty then they will soon loose the essence of them. There is some hopeful news from the poll in that younger voters were far less likely to approve than older voters.  Older voters were schooled to view America and its government as a force for good.  That they get checks from this government each month only increases their ease with it.   Younger voters are far more appropriately cynical, and they are the ones who are getting deductions from their pay in order to finance the checks which go to the older voters as well.

The most depressing thing in the poll was the numbers on Democratic voters.   They displayed the symptoms of carbon-units who have surrendered their intrinsic human individuality in favor of assuming a herd-animal mentality.  In 2006 when Bush was doing looking at phone records, 61% of Democrats found it unacceptable.   In 2013 when Obama is doing it much bigger, and the threat from terrorism is much smaller, only 34% of Democrats found in unacceptable.  That is not the sort of intellectual consistency and integrity that I am going to be inclined to surrender any of my rights for.   A huge segment of our population have gone tribal.  Principle matters not, only the way the wind blows for the Great Man of the day.   That is just one reason why I, and you, should consider their opinions on whether or not it is acceptable for government to violate our rights as irrelevant.


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