PostHeaderIcon The Vanishing Fourth Amendment

America as at an awkward stage. Its too late to work within the system, and too early to shoot the bastards. -Claire Wolfe

This is a classic internet surfing adventure. John shared the above quote in a comment here a couple of days ago. He couldn’t recall where he heard it, and I repeated it in another venue. I was informed there that it was from Claire Wolfe’s, “101 Things to Do ‘Til the Revolution.”

Unfamiliar with the book or it’s author, I asked Google about them. One review called Claire “the Ayn Rand of the twenty-first century,” another said she was “America’s most eloquent anarchist.” It turns out the book was written in 1996, so perhaps it is no longer too early… 😉

A seven year old book review pulled a very cogent quote from it:

If the government issued permits for free speech, would you get in line for one? If your state allowed you to hold a political meeting, but only if you obtained the proper license and consented to having your name entered in a government database, would you lay your money down? If you ask the government for a permit, you are admitting you don’t have a right.

Amen! I have refused CCW permits offered to me by two different Sheriffs, as unnecessary.

Poking around, I found the portal to archives of much of her prodigious writings. Under miscellaneous, I spotted a curious 2005 article entitled, “CRIMINALS HAVE MORE RIGHTS THAN THE POLICE (AND BE VERY GLAD THEY DO)” that was published in “S.W.A.T.” magazine, of all places. The cognitive dissonance of an anarchist, who had penned the above quotes, being published in a cop magazine, compelled me to download the PDF. Coming on the heels of my “Domestic Terrorists” post yesterday, I am glad I did. It begins:

The Founding Fathers, those sterling folk we’ve been taught to revere, were soft on crime. They were a bunch of liberal whiners who considered it more important to protect criminals than to give the police effective tools to fight crime.

This is the absolute truth. Why else, when they wrote the Bill of Rights (the first 10 amendments to the Constitution), did five of their 10 basic statements of liberty focus on protecting accused crooks?

Even more outrageous: The Founders believed criminal suspects have inborn rights, while government agencies merely have delegated powers. Powers that can be revoked by the people at any time and must always be strictly limited.

In the blind eyes of justice and the highest law of the land, criminal suspects and individual police officers have exactly the same rights, while police agencies have no rights at all. Yep, if the Founders were around today, they might be card-carrying (although also gun-toting) members of the ACLU.

And for that we should all be glad…

What follows is a very well written discussion of the importance of the Fourth Amendment and how we have been steadily losing its protections for the past forty years. It is well worth the read, and concludes:

In the Caballes decision, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that since a person can have no “legitimate” privacy right to contraband, then a dog-sniff that’s intended only to reveal the presence of contraband does not violate rights.

Stretch that opinion just a little further and you reach a point where any search that turns up something illegal automatically becomes a legal search.

Stevens’ position is closer to King George’s than to Madison’s, Jefferson’s, or Patrick Henry’s.

But King George didn’t know about database searches, drug-sniffing dogs, infra-red technology, satellite imaging, aerial cameras, chemical sniffing, microphones, phone taps, keystroke loggers, and a host of other modern search and surveillance technologies—all of which present both the ability and the profound temptation to search anybody and everybody—just in case they might be up to no good.

Down that road lies the police state. At the end of that road, we won’t find a crime-free society, though the prisons will be full. At the end of that road, we won’t find good citizens, working together with trusted and valued police officers, both committed to justice. At the end of that road, police won’t find themselves respected and valued for their role in protecting the rest of us.

We’ll find merely millions of cowed and resentful citizens who’ll consider police their oppressors and their enemies. And no one—not even the police—will benefit.

I couldn’t agree more. Download it and read it. Then perhaps we can discuss the Blackwater advertisement on the second page another day soon. Dressing like a jackbooted thug is bad enough; I have a real visceral issue with cops wearing masks in America. â—„Daveâ–º

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