By Shamus Fisk and Tayler Houston
Welcome to our weekly politics discussion. If you missed our article on Russia last week, please follow the link here and check it out! This week we are discussing the right to privacy.
Shamus and I plan to take opposing sides of critical issues each week and help our readers learn about the issues. However, I felt too strongly about this issue to argue with him, so this week will be a bit different. This article is a joint effort with a united message.
How much privacy do we actually have in this modern age of endlessly evolving technologies and ‘Big Brother’ like Intelligence Agencies? Well, with the bills passed after 9/11 and people’s fear of the unknown, slim to none.
With the ever increasing outcry for the government to protect the people from riots, terrorists, hate mongers, etc., it is easy to trace the loss of our privacy. The government has embraced these outcries for protection, and we have lost some of our most precious rights.
We would like to quote one of Benjamin Franklin’s more famous quotes:
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”
Liberty is precious; it took almost a millennia to evolve society to the point in which it could even truly grasp and integrate such a concept. Today we treat liberty with little regard simply because for the entirety of our lives, it has always been there. We know nothing else. But make no mistake, other options do exist. Liberty is engrained in America just as a dictatorship is engrained in North Korea. If we continue to allow our rights to diminish, reduced rights will eventually become the accepted norm.
When the government tries to persuade our nation to trade off freedom for security, may we join the “extremists” in saying that it’s not cool to be looking at my history browser. Its kind of our Constitutional right to privacy. Government agencies like the NSA, DIA, CIA, FEMA, and others have no business in my personal affairs. If you want to know what I am looking at, come to my house with a warrant and look all you want. Make no mistake, we hide nothing wrong. However, that does not mean we lose the right to hide.
In all seriousness, we understand sacrificing freedom for security seems reasonable to most. We simply say this may be the greatest flaw of today’s people. We are willing to turn in rights given to us by the blood and pain of our ancestors for a little extra cushion to the history’s safest society. It has been only fifty years since we finally freed our fellow African-American men and women from second-class citizenship. We need to remember liberty and freedom are not concepts as old as time.
We have outlaws like Edward Snowden, who became a whistleblower to show the people just how little privacy we have from the NSA and other intelligence agencies. Again, he is hunted by our government for showing the world that our government is impeding on our most fundamental rights.
These are not abstract rights. These rights have developed over the past 250 years of Constitutional Law. The law guarantees these rights to all citizens. Let that illustrate why our forefathers wanted us all to be freemen and not be dictated by a government. Governments want control. America is built on the idea that the people hold the power. We must hold onto that power.
Other governments, like Russia, now try their hand at swaying our society one way or another to their benefit. They try these plans because we let them. We give up too many rights, so they assume we will not care to lose another. Well, we do care. The United States of America means too much to too many people to allow itself be pushed around. We as citizens have to demand our rights back. Our rights give us our power. Our power does not reside in our large military or in our leadership. It resides in our freedom.
It can be scary, harsh, and devastatingly overpowering to be free. You hold the steering wheel of your financial, religious, and love life. No one can force you who to love, who to pray to, who to buy from. You are the captain of your ship. You hold the key to your own journey and to the pursuit of happiness. Every choice you make could be your best or your last. Do not sacrifice your liberties for an “easier” life. If we allow our privacy and freedom to be infringed upon because of terrorists and fear, then those terrorists won long ago. Our right to privacy and liberty make us different from them. These rights are our greatest strength, not a security weakness. If we give up rights today, the result may very well be a regression of society where your children may only know liberty from the history books.