In Defense of Liberty
In Defense of Liberty
On March 7th Wikileaks released another series of documents called Vault7. In these documents it detailed the the dark affairs of cyber warfare, and the lengths that unelected intelligence bureaucracies will go to get the information they seek. It detailed the secret surveillance programs used to collect and record information from everyone’s cellphones, computers, and even your TV. It also detailed the program that enables intelligence agencies to remotely control a vehicle for targeted assassinations, and how to use foreign Malware to attribute blame of cyber attacks to a foreign government. This all comes on the heels of a huge debate on the involvement of Russia in American political affairs. Coincidence? In short, this disclosure painted a picture of an Orwellian nightmare that has come about from our unbridled intelligence agencies. It also brought to the forefront the historical warnings our nation’s founders wrote about on protecting our rights under the Constitution.
For years, Americans have been led down the path that the only way to stave off utter destruction posed by criminals, foreign nations, and terrorists is to surrender personal liberties in the interest of safety, which is the exact opposite of the warning Benjamin Franklin gave when he stated, “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”. We have been led to believe that we desperately need domestic dragnet surveillance programs, and that these programs have adequate safeguards to protect our civil liberties. We have been told that these safeguards will prevent rogue elements from using this information to delegitimize, embarrass, or blackmail our citizens. Isn’t it interesting then to see some of the perplexing, eleventh hour, dramatic reversals of decisions that have been made by politicians and the judiciary as of late.
What these programs have created is an enormous government warehouse of your personal conversations, opinions, and thoughts that can be accessed and used to destroy you if you step out of line with the information gatekeepers. Don’t get me wrong, these gatekeepers exist on both sides of the political divide. The most honest way to look at our situation is, whatever your ideological position, if you run afoul of your political masters, be prepared to have your private life displayed for the world to see. How many people would actually express their private opinions and secret thoughts to their close circle of friends and loved ones if they saw a government issued tape recorder sitting on their kitchen table? It is this threat that causes us to self-censor, and not challenge the politicians that have forgotten they are supposed to be servants of the people.
Many will argue that these programs are desperately needed, and that those that say otherwise are traitors of our nation’s national security goals. I would ask if it is in our nation’s security interest to overthrow the leaders of foreign nations, then allow brutal terrorist groups to take power, create a massive refugee crisis, then invite the refugees of the nation we just decimated into our nation, all while we have limited means of vetting these individuals. Of course this doesn’t make sense, however it feeds into the “necessity” of erecting dragnet surveillance systems, establishing a massive domestic security presence, and rolling back the citizenry’s right to privacy under the 4th Amendment. James Madison stated, “The means of defence against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home”. This is not the fault of our men and women serving in our military, but the fault of self-serving politicians that get us involved in these “foreign entanglements” that George Washington warned against.
For years some have been screaming from the rooftops about these programs, only to be met with the dismissal by mainstream media and establishment politicians as a “tinfoil hat conspiracy theory”. Now many people are emerging from the fog to wonder how we have gotten to this point. Well, how we got here is a very easy explain. The Roman poet Juvenal best described this apathy of political involvement as “bread and circuses”. The politicians knew that keeping the Roman citizens distracted with entertainment spectacles, and providing free food was the easiest way to tame the masses that might otherwise object to the destruction of their civil liberties, and the corruption of the political elite. Fast forwarding to the modern-era we can see how we have also succumbed to this same serving of “circuses” in the form of professional sports, reality TV, obsessions with social media, and the noxious dribble pouring from the mouths of the Hollywood elite.
In addition to these distractions, we have turned our “institutions of higher learning” into indoctrination centers that abhor the idea of free speech, and challenging the “wisdom” of the intellectual class. We have seen the establishment of “bias response teams” on college campuses whose expressed mission “is educational prevention of bias, investigating alleged bias incidents, disciplining offenders, and organizing coping events after such incidents”. Essentially we have allowed the establishment of a college-based “Ministry of Truth” written about in George Orwell’s cautionary book “1984”. These days we actually see people marching and rioting in the streets demanding that guest speaking events that introduce a counter viewpoint are shut down, and that speech that may “offend” someone is eliminated. These protesters fail to realize the entire purpose of the 1st Amendment is to protect speech that is controversial, because non-controversial speech, and speech endorsed by consensus requires no specials protections. Benjamin Franklin wrote in the Silence Dogood Letter No. 8:
“Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech; which is the Right of every Man, as far as by it, he does not hurt or controul the Right of another: And this is the only Check it ought to suffer, and the only Bounds it ought to know.”
“This sacred Privilege is so essential to free Governments, that the Security of Property, and the Freedom of Speech always go together; and in those wretched Countries where a Man cannot call his Tongue his own, he can scarce call any Thing else his own. Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech; a Thing terrible to Publick Traytors.”
It is We the People that have taken our eye off the sacred prize of liberty. It is We the People that remained silent while legislation was passed that allowed the establishment of dragnet surveillance, and the indefinite detention of citizens without due process. It is We the People that have sat on the couch and cracked a beer, while watching sporting events where players kneel at the singing of our National Anthem, feeding into our nation’s self-destruction. It is We the People that have taken to the streets to defend the notion that narrowly defined, “socially acceptable” speech is the only speech that will be tolerated. This must end.
Patrick Henry said, “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel”. Well guess what, posting a picture of a Spartan helmet with the words “Molon Labe” scrawled underneath does not classify as guarding with jealous attention the public liberty. Nor does changing your Facebook avatar, or posting angry-faced emojis under an article. The first step to safeguarding the public liberty is first knowing what our liberties are, so we can determine when these breaches of our constitutional firewall occur. After we are familiar with them, we must then pass this information to our friends, coworkers, and our sons and daughters to prevent the institutional brainwashing that is at work. Finally, when we recognize a breach of the public liberty we must make our voices heard, and demand accountability from those politicians that have forgotten that they are servants of We the People. Until this happens, we will continue to slide farther until all of our rights have been eliminated, and we become subjects, not citizens.
Oath Keepers of Green Valley / Sahuarita
“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” Mark Twain
“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” James Madison