Under tyranny, privacy is usually the first right to be trampled in the name of public safety
October 7, 2011
At the very foundation of perhaps every modern day conflict between the expansive powers of unchecked bureaucracy and the dwindling freedoms of the ordinary citizen dwells the vital issue of privacy. Privacy and the right to hold personal and political views without being singled out and scrutinized by government is absolutely essential to any society which dares to deem itself “fair and just”. Ultimately, without the presence of these two liberties, and without people to defend them, a nation is ill equipped to circumvent the growth of tyranny, and anyone claiming to be “free” in the midst of such a culture is living a delusion of the highest order.
Often, social engineers attempt to direct debate over the issue of privacy towards rationalizations of relative morality, or artificially delineated priorities. We quibble over the level of government intrusion that should be tolerated for the sake of the “greater good”. We struggle with questions of bureaucratic reach, wondering at which point we should consider government a threat to the safety and liberty of the people, rather than a servant and protector. The dialogue always turns towards “how much” room government should be given to lumber about our personal lives. Rarely do we actually confront the idea that, perhaps, government should not be welcomed at all into such places.
Really, what makes a governmental entity so special that it should be allowed free access to the activities of the average citizen? Why should ANY intrusion of privacy be tolerated, let alone the kind that goes on today? Our most important concern is not how much leeway our government should be given to snoop into our pocket books, our medical records, our education, our political leanings, or our child rearing philosophies, but rather, whether or not they fulfill any purpose whatsoever through these actions. Is the government, as it exists now, even necessary, or does it cause only harm?
Under tyranny, privacy is usually the first right to be trampled in the name of public safety. Its destruction is incremental and its loss a victim of attrition in the wake of more immediate crisis. Disturbingly, many people become so fixated upon the threats of the moment that they lose complete track of the long term derailment of their own free will in progress. Government, no matter how corrupt, is seen as an inevitability. Conditioned by fear, desperation, insecurity, and sometimes greed, we begin to forget what it was like to live without prying eyes constantly over our shoulders. In the past decade alone, Americans have witnessed a substantial invasion of our individual privacy as well as a destabilization of the legal protections once designed to maintain it. Not just America, but most of the modern world has undergone a quiet program of surveillance and citizen cataloging that goes far beyond any sincere desire for “safety” and into the realm of technocratic domination. Read More