Tag Archives: right to privacy

Ben Franklin: Thoughts from the grave…

Ben Franklin

As scandal after scandal seems to be uncovered, people are still clinging to their liberal leadership regardless of the magnitude.   As some used to say “Nixon was the only person who could go to China” my father, and political cartoonist A.F. Branco, coined the phrase “ Only Obama can get away with a scandal.”

The NSA has decided that privacy is not important.   So what?

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” So why should Franklin , the man Walter Isaacson stated was “the most accomplished American of his age and the most influential in inventing the type of society America would become”, be an expert on things of this nature?

Ben Franklin wasn’t just a major figure in the American Enlightenment. He was an author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.  Benjamin had a resume that arguably gave him a platform to suggest relevancy in our era, at least enough relevancy for some to lend an ear to his advice from the grave.  But if that’s not enough, it’s important to remember the setting in which Franklin lived.

For most of us, regardless of social status, we live in a time and place where we aren’t in the immediate midst of war or invasion.  We all have struggles, trials and tribulations, but many of us are also comfortable sitting behind our computers attempting to put into perspective the violence and insanity that we hear about in the middle east, and other parts of the world.   During Franklin’s era however, he was all too familiar with war.  He also knew the negative effects of a government who did not see “faces” but instead, faceless “numbers.”  Franklin was against authoritarianism in the government and in religion.  He had a profound respect for the teachings of Christ, stating that they were “the best the World ever saw, or is likely to see” but he also rejected the effects of religion, and realized the possibility that Christ’s words may have been corrupted over time.

All in all, Franklin was a brilliant man who realized the potential for human nature to create an environment that was none too friendly to the common hard working person.  His fundamental principles were built around the practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, and self-governing institutions.  Those same values built the country that we have today, rapidly disintegrating under the utopian façade of progressivism.

It isn’t just this current issue with the NSA.  We were warned before by another man, who’s fundamental principles were similarly aligned with Franklin.  Ronald Reagan stated that we would never vote for socialism ” but under the name of liberalism the American people would adopt every fragment of the socialist program.”  Reagan had a specific scathing review for governmental reform of healthcare, because under the false pretense of providing healthcare for the masses, we would also be subject to an intrusion of privacy.  I would encourage everyone to watch Reagan’s 10 minute speech he gave in 1961, which was an eery pre-cursor to the health care system being implemented today.  (You can find it on you tube)

WHY IS PRIVACY IMPORTANT?  If everyone is doing the right thing, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about right?  Hypothetically, sure.  But who exactly is to say what is “right“?  Ideology grounded in the Ten Commandments and Red Letters from the New Testament are something that have guided many in life when all else has proven rocky and unreliable.

With an ever creeping government intent on keeping tabs on its people, we are more and more subject to what the minds of the political elite deem the “correct” way of living which, according to the government, may often coincide with our personal morals, but what happens when it doesn’t?  Franklin and Reagan believed quite seriously in the following creed: “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Franklin, Reagan, and the many others before them were correct. Their intent was always to give people the freedom to make their own decisions, and pursue their personal motivations with minimal hindrance from the government.  They took their positions seriously, but more importantly they took seriously the fact that they derived “their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

The administration espouses that their actions are in the name of the safety of its people, but we will always be faced with enemies of our way of life.  “Essential” to our life and liberty is the ability to  make decisions without being put under a microscope, so to speak.  Furthermore, we’ve already seen the government take steps to re-establish some of the foundational belief systems our forefathers had, in the name of tolerance.

So, in an era where president Obama advises to reject the voices suggesting “tyranny is always lurking around the corner“, one may contend that a biblical perspective that advises  “test everything; hold fast to what is good,” might be a better alternative.  Having humbly taken the time to logically “test” some of the actions of the Obama administration, one can’t honestly say that the idea of tyranny is out of the question.

1. The Benghazi scandal
2. Fast and Furious gun running scandal
3. An IRS scandal targeting Conservative Tea Party groups.
4. A scandal involving collection of private phone records of several AP reporters.
5. The NSA and Prism scandals, essentially allowing the government access to all internet and phone activity.
6. The “Affordable” Healthcare Act that coincidentally will be deemed the largest tax increase in history.
7. Signing the NDAA which authorized the indefinite detention of American citizens without due process at Obama’s own discretion.

(THOSE ARE JUST A FEW)

Obama quoted his administration:
“I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness …. Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

Jay Carney stated:
“This president has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and openness that is greater than any administration has shown in the past, and he’s been committed to that since he ran for president and he’s taken a significant number of measures to demonstrate that.”

Whether its through rhetoric, mounds of confusing paperwork, or just plain denial,  the products of this administration have been anything but transparent.  It makes me uneasy to think that an administration that blatantly LIES about transparency will now have an unprecedented amount of access into our personal lives.  You can argue perhaps that some of these measures are necessary to ensure the safety of the American people,  but given the fact that our president has shown his disregard for our foundational documents, it doesn’t make me confident that he has our best interests in mind.

Ben Franklin also famously said,  “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”  Given the current IRS, and AP scandals its almost as if Franklin is here looking over our shoulders.  Everyone should stay grounded and “test everything.”  Not through the partisan side of Republican or Democrat, but through the humble eyes of a human being.  Right is right.

Violence is not the answer, but with enough people taking the time to hold fast to their values and not let political correctness sway them into feeling wrong, or obsolete,  good will prevail.  At the very least it will hold accountable those who think our foundation is changeable.

50 Shades of Conservative

With the recent popularity of the novel Fifty Shades of Grey, the world of BDSM has been thrust into the mainstream. There is a twisted sort of irony to this, since this lifestyle – perhaps more importantly, some of the portions of the information about it online – have been either under fire, or used as ammunition in assorted arguments among conservatives on Twitter. For the record, this is a distraction, like just about anything else that causes conservatives in general to fight among themselves.

Mikamatto (CC)

However, I thought it might not be a bad idea to take this opportunity to point out a few interesting facts about BDSM that were apparently either skipped entirely, or at least misrepresented in the novel. First, I’d like to start with something obvious – yes, there are conservatives out there that engage in some form of BDSM, whether it involves inflicting pain, or simply involves a dominant and submissive relationship dynamic (D/s). Come on now folks! Let’s start using those little gray cells, shall we? There are some out there that would argue that many “traditional” marriages are really just committed D/s relationships, with one being generally dominated by the other. It’s logical, if you really think about it. If both are dominant, logic says they’ll constantly battle each other for supremacy. On the other end, neither one wants to take charge, so they can easily end up being undecided about the simplest of things. Now, if one is relatively dominant, and the other relatively submissive, that lends itself to a much more harmonious existence. Add a few sex toys to the bedroom, and that’s a recipe for a kinky relationship.

And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Now, onto the little things that bothered me about that lovely little book. First of all, anyone that decides to get into a master and slave contract with someone without knowing them for quite some time beforehand is downright insane. And no, I’m not buying that a virgin would jump into that lifestyle from the beginning either. But, the biggest fallacy is that the dominant is completely in control. The author made a valiant effort to show the dynamic accurately, but missed the target by failing to stress that the submissive is actually the one in control. Assuming that it is a safe, sane and consensual relationship in the first place, the dominant cannot do anything without the prior permission of the submissive. The dominant only has power because it is given by the submissive. That message needed to be repeated, and often. It’s irresponsible not to do that in this sort of writing, since it could (and did) have a wide general appeal. I’m not even going to get into the little details that just don’t ring true.

In case you didn’t guess it yet, I’m not writing this from a theoretical point of view. This is a “been there, and done that” for me, and no, I am not answering on whether or not it’s only in my past – my personal life, my marriage, my choices, my business. But, I will say a little bit more about my past. I’ve known several politically conservative couples over the years that consider themselves members of the BDSM community. Honestly, the majority of the couples I knew with dominant men paired with submissive women were conservatives. That is my personal experience, so it is anecdotal at best. But, that doesn’t make it meaningless either. And, my personal introduction to at least part of this world was with two men (not at the same time, of course!) that were conservative.

My primary point is that what people do in their bedrooms used to be at least relatively sacred, as in others respected their privacy. And any intimate matters used to be off limits. That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Sometimes it takes the form of people wanting government to help them “save people’s souls” from sin. If anyone doesn’t know my lack of concern for those non-issues by now, they haven’t been paying attention. But what really disturbs me is what appears to be a rampant disease of trying to dig up dirt on other conservatives – out the skeletons in their closets, or otherwise ridicule them. In case you can’t guess, I have nothing but contempt for people that do that sort of thing. That’s saying something, since there was a time when I wasn’t above yanking skeletons from the closets of politicians.

So, here it is – conservatives can be kinky. There is no law against it. There is nothing to be ashamed of if one chooses to do something off the wall in the bedroom, as long as it’s “safe, sane and consensual.” And there is nothing wrong with conservative adults enjoying or creating visual or literary arts that depict those kinky activities. I understand that there are many conservatives that find this sort of thing offensive, and that’s obviously fine as well. It is not fine for conservatives to force each other to view, read about, or participate in kinky sex. That said, like it or not, this is one thing the Libertarians got right – the intimate relationships of life are not meant for public or governmental interference. That’s why we call them “intimate.”

*Special thanks to Kurt Schlichter for being his #caring self, and coming up with the title for this post!

Do You Hear a Droning Sound?

Conservatives need to remember, you can’t be a little bit “private” either.

When Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell casually mentioned during a radio interview that he supported the use of “military–style” drones by law enforcement it sparked an immediate uproar, but not from the usual suspects.

One would assume the ACLU would be filing a lawsuit claiming a drone–born invasion of “privacy.” (Although after legalizing almost all the old perversions, what could liberals possibly be doing now that requires so much solitude?)

And instead of objections from Fairfax County police pilots who stood to be grounded and Fairfax Auxiliary Police officers who stand to lose one of the few perks of their unpaid job: helicopter ride–alongs — it was John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, who declared, “…a rapid adoption of drone technology before properly vetting the safety, privacy and civil-liberties issues involved would be a disaster for your administration and the people of Virginia.”

Shaun Kenney, former communications director for the Republican Party of Virginia, blogged, “Who the hell wants to give government the right to fly a drone over your home?” And Bearing Drift, a conservative political blog, complained, “Say it Ain’t So, Governor!”

Unfortunately for my fellow conservatives these complaints are 151 years too late. Air power for observation dates back to September 24, 1861 when Thaddeus Lowe went aloft for the Union near Arlington. George Armstrong Custer, who had his own problems with practitioners of unconventional warfare, floated serenely over the Peninsula later in the conflict.

Today police helicopters already fly over homes in Northern Virginia and the General Assembly has passed a law authorizing state police aircraft to cite drivers for speeding. Drones just replace existing technology with a less expensive alternative that does the same job with a smaller government footprint, a development that would normally appeal to conservatives.

Helicopters have proven to be both very useful and very expensive. Currently the estimated yearly budget for two Fairfax choppers is approximately $1 million, producing an average of 150 hours total flight time each month. The budget includes pilots, cross–trained police/EMS officers, ground technicians, mechanics and all the rest of the infrastructure. The use of drones, which Fairfax already has permission to do, would reduce some of these costs while increasing flight time.

Objections to drones frequently mention the “right of privacy,” which is a shaky Constitutional reed for conservatives to grasp. Privacy, as such, does not exist in the Constitution. It originated in Griswold Vs. Connecticut when Justice William O. Douglas discovered heretofore unknown “penumbras” and “emanations” leaking from the document that when run through a gas spectrometer were found to protect “privacy.” From this small step the court later leaped to a right to abortion.

Conservatives can’t be a little bit private any more than they can be a little bit pregnant. Relying on this flawed Constitutional reasoning validates the liberal intellectual framework that protects the “right to abortion.”

Limitations on drone usage don’t depend on an invented right from a liberal court, but are already found in the plain language of the 4th Amendment which says ““The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…” To be Constitutional and admissible in court, drone usage would have to conform to existing case law surrounding the 4th Amendment.

Banning drones because of “privacy” concerns would be small comfort when PeePaw wanders off into the woods and civil libertarians fail to volunteer to join the search party.

Drones will prove invaluable during pursuits, allowing police to maintain aerial contact with suspects without filling the streets with a conga line of speeding cruisers careening around corners and risking collisions with innocent bystanders.

The use of drones by local police also conforms to the conservative principle of subsidarity, which posits that power or governmental functions should be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority, that is consequently closest to the people. Anyone who has ever tried to complain about TSA damaging luggage will instantly realize the difference between local police supervising drone usage and Department of Homeland Security’s Janet Incompetano.

Personally, I don’t think we should allow the fact that certain Middle Eastern religious fanatics have had unpleasant experiences with drone technology to color our impression of how the domestic use of UAVs would affect us in Northern Virginia.

The chance that a resident of Prince William County or Fairfax County would have a rendezvous with a drone–launched Hellfire missile is nonexistent. Adding a Hellfire line item to the budget would put a big dent in Fairfax’s pet “affordable housing” program and here in PWC Police Chief Charlie Deane would have to choose between air interdiction and outreach to illegal aliens.

City Council in Iowa Forces Citizens to Hand Over Keys to Private Property [Video]

[Cedar Falls, Iowa] – Ordinance #2740 was passed with a 6-1 vote by the Cedar Falls city council. The law forces home and business owners to give the government the keys to their property.This would give the government access to private property whenever then city deems it necessary. Serious questions arise over 4th amendment rights, liability of damage of the owner’s property or injury to government workers who access the property without invitation or warrant.

It is certainly hard to believe that any city in this great nation (east of California) would allow anything like this.

Special thanks to @carold501 for sending this to me.