Don’t touch my privates

Don Norvell

Do you believe in the right to privacy?

Most of us answer yes; however, some say no because the Bill of Rights does not explicitly guarantee such a right (keyword: explicitly).

The few people who read the Constitution anymore are aware of the Ninth Amendment’s guarantee of rights not explicitly stated in the first eight amendments. The right to privacy is respected by our courts because it is necessary to logically derive some of the explicit guarantees.

My favorite example is the Supreme Court’s opinion in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). In this remarkably pithy opinion by modern standards, the Court explains how portions of the Bill of Rights would be practically nullified without a generalized right to privacy.

The First Amendment’s “right of the people peaceably to assemble,” and the freedom of association where from it is derived, creates a zone of privacy.

The Third Amendment’s prohibition of quartering troops in a private residence creates a zone of privacy.

The Fourth Amendment’s protection “against unreasonable searches and seizures” and the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination also create zones of privacy.

And so, general privacy is necessary to breathe life into the explicit guarantees.

Where do we have privacy?

The Third Amendment gives me privacy in my home; the Fourth Amendment in my person, my house, my papers and my effects and the First and Fifth Amendment in my mind.

The keyword is “my.” Privacy is not fundamental; it is derived from ownership. My right to privacy extends only to that which I own. Therefore, the right to private property is fundamental to securing our enumerated rights, which is why socialism is so dangerous.

Under socialism, possession of property is a privilege, and no property is private. The government decides by law what you are allowed to possess and has the power to change those laws at any time.

Under the Constitution, the government cannot confiscate my property without due process of law because it is mine. Under socialism, it was never mine in the first place. The government can take whatever it wants.

The Constitution requires a warrant to search my property; however, the government can search its own property on a whim. Under socialism, everything is government property. Socialism guarantees that you will have nothing.

What’s tragic is that private property rights are under attack.

One attack older than the Constitution is property taxes. These taxes were inherited from the feudal economies wherein serfs paid taxes to land lords for their privilege, and the lords paid taxes to the king for their privilege. Property taxes undermine ownership by taxing the exact same thing over and over again. In short, you never really own your home.

The other attack is eminent domain. The Founders sought to respect our rights with the “just compensation” and “public use” phrases; however, cities all over the country have begun taking people’s homes for the sole purpose of collecting more taxes from businesses to which the land is given away.

We must protect our property. Our freedom depends upon it!

Don Norvell is a physics graduate assistant and point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].