Some thoughts on this, the state in which we live today, and the direction we are heading in.
"Imagine, if you will, what Thomas Jefferson would have done if-had drones existed at the time-King George III had sent drones to peer into the bedroom windows of Monticello. I suspect that Jefferson and his household would have trained their muskets on the drones and taken them down. I offer this historical anachronism as a hypothetical only, not as one who is urging the use of violence against the government. ANY government!
Nevertheless, what Jeffersonians are among us today? When drones take pictures of us on our private property and in our homes, and the government uses the photo as it wishes, what will we do about it? Jefferson understood that when the government assaults our privacy and our dignity, it is the moral equivalent of violence against us. the folks who hear about this, who either laugh or groan, cannot find it humorous or boring that their every move will be monitored and photographed by their government.
Do you believe that this is not coming? the photos that the drones will be retained and used or even distributed to others in the government, so long as the "recipient is reasonably perceived to have a specific, lawful government function (?) in requiring them." And for the first time since the War of Northern Aggression, the federal government will deploy military personnel inside the United States and publicly acknowledge that it is deploying them "to collect information about U.S. persons."
It gets worse. If the military personnel (usually an over-worked clerk with barely adequate training) see something of interest from a drone, they may apply to a military judge or even, god forbid, a military commander for permission to conduct a physical search of any private property that catches their interest or intrigues them. And any 'incidentally acquired information" can be retained or turned over to local law enforcement personnel. So what is next-prosecutions before a military tribunal?
The quoted phrases above are extracted from a now-public 30 page memorandum issued by President Odrama's Secretary of the Air Force on April 23, 2012. The purpose of the memorandum is stated as "balancing", obtaining intelligence information, and protecting individual rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. Does anyone other than me have a problem with the order that they appear in? Note the primary of intelligence gathering over freedom protection and note the peculiar use of the word "balancing".
When liberty and safety clash, do we really expect the government to balance those values? of course not. The government cannot be trusted to restrain itself in the face of individual choices to pursue happiness. That is why we have a Constitution and a life-tenured judiciary: to protect the minority from the liberty-stealing impulses of the majority. And THAT is why the Air Force memo has its priorities reversed-intelligence gathering first, protecting freedom second-and the method of reconciliation or means of balancing the two constitutionally incorrect.
Everyone who works for the government swears to up-hold the Constitution. It was written to define and restrain the government. According to the Declaration of Independence, the government's powers come from the consent of the governed. The government in America was not created by a powerful King reluctantly granting liberty to his subjects. it was created by free people willingly granting limited powers to their government-and retaining that which they did not expressly delegate.
The Declaration also defines our liberties as coming from our Creator (personal note-lets not go there!), as integral to our humanity and as inseparable from us, unless we give them up by violating someone else's liberties. Hence the Jeffersonian and constitutional beef with the word "balancing" when it comes to governmental power versus individual liberty and privacy.
The Judeo-Christian and constitutionally mandated relationship between government powers and individual liberty is not in balance. it is a bias-a bias in favor of liberty. All presumptions should favor the natural rights of individuals, not the delegated and seized powers of the government. Individual liberty and not governmental power is the default position because persons are immortal and created in gods image, while governments are temporary and based on force.
Hence the outrage that you should feel at the coming use of drones-some as small as golf balls-to watch us, to listen to us, and to record us. Did you consent to the government having that power? Did you consent to the American military spying on Americans in America? I don't know a single person who has, but I only know of a few who are complaining.
If we remain silent when our "popularly elected" government violates the laws it has sworn to uphold and steals the freedom we elected it to protect, we will have only ourselves to blame when Big Brother is everywhere. Somehow, I doubt that the previous generations fought World Wars I and II only to permit a totalitarian government to flourish here."
There comes a point in every persons life, just as in the life of every nation, where they reach their Rubicon-a boundary, a line in the sand, a point at which one says "This far-and no further". A river crossing that divides ones life. One one shore, there is blind, unquestioning obedience to authority, while on the other shore is the courage of your convictions. Once you cross that line, that river Rubicon, there is no going back.
There is, however, a blueprint for the way to live, a simple yet powerful way, but one that will probably be foreign to most-try harder today to be better than the person we were yesterday.
So simple, and yet so very difficult!
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