I Have This Belief

WHICH I’M NOT SURE I’ve ever posted about here, but it goes like this: information about a person — much like the right of self defense — inheres to the individual, as much a part of the person as the name or self-ownership. It belongs to the person it describes, as intimate and personal property as you can get. Without a full-throated defense of this liberty, self-ownership — the very right to life itself — finds itself on a slippery slope to state ownership of the … well, they can no longer be called citizens, now can they? Say, “subjects”.

I believe that no one, no entity — state or commercial, public or private — has or can have any right to any bit of information about you. In this, I am a privacy absolutist.

In our relations with the state in particular, we should assert and preserve the right to be anonymous. The state has no need or right to know who we are, only that — in a manner to which it can be legally attested — we meet whatever criteria the state has chosen by which to parse the citizenry today.

The state doesn’t need to see your picture ID to grant you access to an airliner; the agents of the state need only an ironclad assertion that you have proven yourself trustworthy to be granted that access.

Your insurance company does not need your social security number (and lets not get started on the very existence of the SSN, as being too broad a subject for this venue) — nor your bank — merely those bits of information which permit you to interact, in total privacy with your bank or insurance company.

The state does not have the presumptive and preemptive right to be informed of your every financial transaction, only that you have made (rebuttable) assertions as to your income for purposes of taxation — and in order to rebut your assertions, the state must prove its rebuttal, in court, and under the rules of due process.

Agents of the state may not observe and record your conversations without a warrant, as described under the Fourth Amendment, without regard to the venue. Jurisprudential precedent on this matter notwithstanding, there is no exceptions clause in the Bill of Rights, and the imperatives of the law are clear. Weasel-wording does not make the state’s importunings better, it makes it worse. Agents of the state may not follow you around — in public OR in private — and observe your actions and behavior without following to the letter the forms prescribed in the Constitution. If they want to “tail” you, they have to get a judge to sign off on a warrant, and demonstrate probable cause. And, when the agents of the state object that that will make their jobs more difficult, let us reply, “That is a feature, not a bug.”

And the agents of the state do not have the right, the license, the authority, or anything but the naked, illegitimate power to invade your home without notice, breaking your house, killing your pets and livestock, putting your family’s very lives in danger, and expect to be met with anything but equal force in opposition, and have no cause of complaint when members of their armed gang of thugs is killed in the commission of their crime. Rather, they should expect to be hauled before a magistrate and tried on charges of felony murder.

(Side question: if it is permissible — even praiseworthy or in some cases mandatory — to use force, indeed lethal force, to stop the commission of a felony in progress, what level of force is permissible, praiseworthy, or mandatory in the prevention of a violation of the Constitution?
Hmmm?)

And most certainly, agents of the state do not have the lawful authority to meddle in the relatioship between a merchant and his customer, and require the merchant to build into his product that which renders it a tool of the state in the violation of the citizen’s — I contend absolute — right to privacy in all his person, effects, and affairs.

NO BLACK BOXES IN CARS.

Far from expanding the state’s reach in this, we as a people must insist that said reach be shortened.

This is, incidentally, one reason why I will never buy a GM product. Two words: On Star.

Actually, it’s one: OnStar.

WHAT. Everr. They even brag about how an operator in some phone room in … wherever … can shut your engine off if the police tell them to.

I don’t care what guarantees and assurances GM makes. They’re in no position to protect my rights to privacy from overweening state intrusion. I, for one, do not care to give anyone outside my automobile’s cabin control over my vehicle. I would be — as would anyone — a fool to trust them that far.

Cross-posted at Eternity Road

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