By Doug Newman
Originally published here on June 6, 2009. Reposting in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s Maryland v. King decision, which says that cops can take your DNA without a warrant.
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“Take My DNA — I Have Not Committed Any Crimes”
I was going back and forth on a Facebook discussion thread the other evening and someone made the above remark.
My first thought was to quote my favorite motivational speaker, Matt Foley: “Well la-de-frigging-daaaaaaa.” Such is the nonchalance with which so many Americans are relinquishing what is left of their liberty.
If this woman who posted this remark is so willing to ignore her Fourth Amendment rights and to have her body violated, would she also submit to, say, a strip search in front of God and everyone at the local shopping mall? How about a cavity search right in the middle of the main intersection of her town?
Time and again, in the Patriot Act world, people tell me “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.”
I have plenty to hide: my life, my privacy, my dignity, my self-respect. If you have probable cause that I have done something wrong, get a judge’s warrant and then we will have something to talk about. Otherwise, leave me alone.
“The makers of the Constitution conferred, as against the government, the Right to be left alone; the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized men.
– Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States – 1928″
There is one other and far more important issue here: the presumption of innocence. Are you going to make a criminal out of me if I refuse to submit to a warrantless search? After all, my refusal to submit MUST mean I am hiding something.
A minute ago, I was just walking along minding my own business. Now, you are going to totally interrupt my life and make a criminal out of me because I just want to be left alone?
And if you are so nonchalant about your 4th Amendment rights how about your other Bill of Rights guarantees? How about other things such as Habeas Corpus, Bills of Attainder and Ex Post Facto laws?
When we disregard the presumption of innocence, we lose America.
I see way too many parallels between America in 2009 and Germany in 1933. Hitler did not get elected on a Monday and start loading the Jews onto box cars on Tuesday. Bit by bit by bit he persuaded the German people to give up their liberty, and bit by bit by bit they went along.
Oh sure, they got it back in 1945.
For decades in America, the powers that be have been telling the us that we need to give up our liberty and the American people by and large have complied. This creeping tyranny is always implemented for some noble-sounding reason. The left always tells us it is “for the children” or to fight global warming. The right always tells us it is to fight drugs and terrorism.
The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.
— Albert Camus
America, “the land of the free”, now has the world’s highest incarceration rate. All 10 policy planks of the Communist Manifesto have been part of the law of the land for years.
I write this on D-Day, June 6. The more I live and learn, the more I believe most of America’s wars have been staged events. Be that as it may, the average soldier, sailor, airman and marine believes he is leaving home and hearth for your and my freedom. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million, Americans have given their lives over the last 234 years so that you and I can live and breathe in freedom, relative freedom thought it may be in recent decades.
And how do people like this woman who said “Take my DNA – I have not committed any crimes” thank them? How do they “support” them?
“Oh, I’ll give up my freedom.”
Don’t tell me about Jane Fonda at the Hanoi Hilton and don’t tell me about the dozen or so people every year who desecrate the American flag. Have a good long look in the mirror!
It is bad enough that our troops have been lied to in the way they have. It is even worse when so many people take their liberty so lightly.
If America ever comes under full-blown totalitarianism – and it is on a bobsled ride in that direction as we speak – it won’t be because of some dorko in a cave in Afghanistan with a diaper on his head. And it won’t be because of Big Crock Obama. It was because of people on your street, people next to you in the checkout line, people next to you in church and people whose your kids play little league with your kids. The American people in 2009 – left-wing Obama groupies and right-wing Bush groupies alike – are just like the German people of 1933. They will give away their freedom.
I used to say this to left-wingers who wanted the government to solve all their problems and provide cradle-to-grave economic security. Now I say it to right-wingers who are willing to give up their civil liberties in the name of freedom and security. MOVE TO CUBA! MOVE TO NORTH KOREA! That is where they do things YOUR WAY!
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
– Ecclesiastes 1:9
The times, technology, terminology and actors on the stage may change, but human stupidity doesn’t. Don’t let history repeat itself.