Friday, November 01, 2013

Why 'privacy is a conservative cause'

Sentiments like these from conservative direct-mail guru Richard Viguerie on Politico (10-31) are among the reasons Grits thinks America may be on the verge of a Fourth Amendment revival. In a column at Politico, Viguerie declared that:
Privacy used to be a dirty word among many conservatives because the liberal Warren Court of the 1960s used concepts such as “penumbras” – words not expressly found in the Constitution — to overturn state laws that protected traditional moral precepts or valid law enforcement.

In recent years, however, beginning with the passage of the USA Patriot Act during the George W. Bush years, but expanded seemingly without limit under Barack Obama, conservatives have awakened to the threat of the massive surveillance state. ...

Even Republican hawks are turning. Some of the same lawmakers who helped usher in the surveillance state, including the co-author of the Patriot Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R.-Wis.), are pushing back with their own legislation.

So, what’s changed?

With the scandal-plagued IRS mucking around in our health care decisions and Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA snooping into our “private” communications, the constitutional stakes are simply much higher.

The NSA scandal, moreover, strongly suggests that intelligence officials can and do lie to get around the Fourth Amendment legal limits and the limply enforced limits imposed by the Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), raising the privacy issue to a new level.

The recent scandals also dovetail with the rising influence of limited government constitutional conservatives and their quest to break with the George W. Bush era of Big Government and Big Surveillance.
The conservative icon concluded by extending his critique beyond government to corporate America:
Privacy used to be the exclusive realm of libertarians and the left, but the world that Edward Snowden unmasked has propelled conservatives to push forward on privacy.

It is time for conservatives to throw off the influence of surveillance state advocates, make common cause with libertarians and receptive liberals, and take the privacy fight a step further to rein in companies that – wittingly or unwittingly – have become the government’s partners in the massive surveillance state.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen and thanks for this post.