Thursday, June 5, 2008

The protection from Government Intrusion

“No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”—Amendment III, Bill of Rights

This amendment was considered important enough to be the third listed protection in the bill of rights, right after the freedom to associate with other citizens, speak out against abuse, and to keep arms to resist tyranny. One has to wonder if there was a large problem with soldiers over staying their welcome while staying in people's homes.

It is a fairly effective form of intimidation: putting an agent of the State inside the houses of people whom the State considers “troublesome.” Having an agent of the State live with the troublemakers has an absolutely chilling effect, and most especially when the agents start abusing the power—"pushing the envelope," as such agents so often do. This would have been known to the authors of the Bill of Rights. The Third Amendment was put there to prevent just this sort of thing.

It was impossible for the founders to foresee the advent of electronics, video cameras, microphone "bugs" and the like, but the fact remains the same: the presence of agents of the State present in people’s homes, intimidating them by their very presence, and by their presence also enforcing the State’s policies, as well as reporting (to a superior rank or office) any opposition towards the State. Whether the actual person is present, or the person is "virtually" present, the effect is the same: a chilling of the rights of the people to oppose the policies of their Government.

"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."—Amendment IV, Bill of Rights

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." —Amendment V, Bill of Rights

Why am I mentioning these particular parts of the Bill of Rights this morning? Because I woke to find that the police in our Nation's Capitol are searching people, demanding their papers, and wanting to know what their business is. Even scarier, some citizens are cheering them on, demanding that the Government keep them "safe," whatever that is.

We are searched to enter aircraft. We submit to random searches at work, school, and in our cars. We outlaw guns, "hate speech," legislate morality, and agree to allow our email and telephone calls filtered and monitored. We submit to "random drug screens" and allow our tax rates to climb to pay for it all. Still crime increases, and the government tells us that things would only get better, and we would all be safer, if they had just a little more power.

This is how the Republic dies. Not by invasion, nor by enemy action- but to be destroyed by our own demands, sheep bleating demands for our own safety.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said, but methinks the choir has heard it before. Preach on, nevertheless.