Perspectives: You must have something to hide

OPINION – Imagine you’ve just caught your child in the act of smoking pot. If your child were to explain that he had been doing it behind your back for months and that all of his friends had been doing it as well, how would you react?

Would you be inclined to say, “Fair enough” and let the issue drop? Or would you insist upon a return to acceptable standards and behavior regardless of who else had done it or how long the deception had been taking place? Now let’s apply this logic to the state’s increasing efforts to erase privacy through the gathering of our personal information.

This type of information gathering takes a number of different forms. Under the Affordable Care Act, we see our health information becoming a sought-after government commodity. The PATRIOT Act has turned our banks into unpaid agents of the state when it comes to our financial information. The giant National Security Administration facility being constructed near Bluffdale, Utah, is there to scrutinize our electronic communications – as it has since 2001. Government, through automated license plate tracking devices, now knows our whereabouts when we are traveling.

To hear the rhetoric of apologists for the surveillance state, one has to wonder what exactly they may have been smoking.

Politicians and pundits have predictably invoked the necessity of unchecked and unaccountable uses of government power as being necessary to fighting the unending war on terror. But the most alarming trend is the number of U.S. citizens who have been brainwashed into accepting such activities with the justification that other governments have done it. Worse still are those who say, “There’s so much information out there about all of us that no one has any expectation of privacy.”

Yet privacy still matters, even in a post 9/11 world.

The most common retort of defenders of domestic spying is: “If you’re not a terrorist, then you have nothing to fear.” But this naîve mantra shows a remarkable lack of comprehension of the Constitutional system of limited government created by the Founders. If we can trust the president, whomever he may be, to always act in our best interests, then why do we need the Constitution in the first place? Why should he deign to swear an oath of loyalty to the Constitution if he can rightfully operate above it?

This has never been a case of left vs. right or Republican vs. Democrat; it is a matter of the state vs. the people.

The need to invade the privacy of its own citizens has always been the hallmark of the police state. Such governments are easily recognizable by how they regard their citizenry either as a resource to be managed or as potential criminals who pose a threat to the state.

Information equals power to the state and if that information comes at the expense of personal privacy or liberty, it is an improper use of government power.

In the Soviet police state, informers were used to gather personal information about people’s lives and business activities. Today we have supercomputers and sophisticated electronic means to do so on a much larger scale. The main difference between the Soviets and modern America is that they were a full-blown totalitarian state, while we are currently a blossoming authoritarian state.

Anytime we allow or excuse the exercise of unconstitutional powers on the part of any government official, we do so at the risk of our liberties. To let government off its leash, even for the purpose of fighting all those nebulous terrorists out there who supposedly “hate our freedom,” is to put that very freedom in jeopardy.

The Bill of Rights was not intended for government to obey only when times were good. It was amended into our Constitution to reinforce the limits on government power during times of crises when leaders would be tempted to exercise unrestricted power.

The principle that too many Americans have forgotten is that government is to remain subordinate to the people. The promised safety of domestic spying is never equal to the corresponding loss of freedom it brings. Free people needn’t apologize for keeping their leaders in line.

It’s time that our leaders and our laws at all levels are held to the acceptable governmental behavior of a free nation. This can only be done when we demand that they abide by their constitutional limits, and vote them out when they don’t.

Bryan Hyde is a news commentator and co-host of the Perspectives morning show on Fox News 1450 AM 93.1 FM. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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  • ken October 1, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Good lord one would have thought we could get some alternate news source other then The Spectrum, nope we just get more and more of the right wing, Faux news dribble. Wow STG news is just another puppet.

    • Murat October 2, 2012 at 7:23 am

      The sloppy manner through which you convey your thoughts leads me to believe that you are a common dullard.

    • Daniel October 2, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Ken, STG News has open Letters to the Editor that anyone can write, if you really feel that way do the American thing and take it upon yourself to provide a different view point. Also, I would point you in the direction of a writer by the name of Ed Koceila who writes his own opinion columns, he is very liberal and provides a different view point (although many think he is a puppet himself), or if Ed isn’t your taste try his adopted son Dallas Hyland (not really adopted, although some have said that Dallas’ idolatry of Ed is borderline obsessive) Dallas provides a VERY unique perspective of the world that is different then what you will find anywhere else in the St George area. Finally, the author of this article, Bryan Hyde, is not your cookie cutter run of the mill southern utah columnist, in fact you would be hard pressed to find another extreme libertarian expressing those view points anywhere else in St George (and if you do please share). In short Ken, the sad trolling comment you left only shows that you are more of a puppet being used to cry a faux complaint under the disguise of alternative news when really what you want is for this view point to be silenced and yours the only one heard.

      • Omari October 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm

        Hah, nice Daniel! is very different and much more real-world than The Spectrum (local fox news affiliate) paper.

  • Fred October 2, 2012 at 4:19 am

    As usual Bryan hits the nail on the head. He is so correct. And as usual Ken does not know what he is talking about.

  • zacii October 2, 2012 at 4:41 am

    Excellent article, Bryan.

    The problem is that the majority of people buy into the idea that you can trade liberty (privacy) for security. In the end they will end up with neither.

  • Brett October 2, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Hi Ken,

    If you prefer the left-wing spin, be sure to read Ed’s column here at the same website.

    Occasionally, there are even opinion pieces from writers who do not wear tin-foil hats!

  • Damie October 2, 2012 at 9:40 am

    I would like to point out that St. George area columnists were at the forefront of the whole “if you’re not in favor of extreme security you love and help the terrorists in a time of war” movement during the last administration. The same people now rant endlessly about the freedoms they thought should be tossed out and sacrificed in the name of being a “true American” when the administration was Republican. The same people who were using the phrase “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear” now rant against what they previously fought so hard for. Now I’m wondering if they will switch back to being in favor of extreme security when the Repubs are back in power again.

    • Curtis October 2, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Good question. The Patriot Act was passed and signed by a Republican Congress and Republican President and Romney has said he would have signed the Defense Authorization Act

  • ken October 2, 2012 at 11:57 am

    Fred you still upset that your rant got blown up with facts and that you lied? Sorry you can’t handle reality.

    Murat your not worth the time and from your posts you prove that daily!

    I don’t want right or left I want someone who talks in facts not a radical opinion. Thanks for those who can answer without the need to bash. I do understand that there are a bunch who need to bash because of their low self-esteem.

    • Murat October 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      You’re dumber than a 2nd grader in special ed, Ken. Why don’t you value education?

      • ken October 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm

        You prove my point with every post! Thanks.

      • Dghws October 3, 2012 at 4:27 pm

        Really Murat? You have got to be choking me… Can you post anything of value, of worth, with clarity of thought and process, without calling names or putting others down? If so, I haven’t seen one.

        • Omari October 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm

          And you guys feeding into his rants are just what he wants…fuel to his fire!

          • Dghws October 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm

            So do nothing? Nope, I’ve had enough of his posting of hate, name calling and slurry of typed venom. Ignoring or putting up with the gradual and very slippery slope of deteriorating values has not helped our community or our nation. I’m thinking that 9 out of 10 area business have also grown weary of that line of thinking and have switched to FOX rather than CNN or MSNBC.

        • DoubleTap October 4, 2012 at 8:52 am

          Dghws, thats the point of Murat. He has no self value or self worth and does not possess a clear thought process of his own. He needs to learn to put his bong down long enough and get a few breaths of fresh air. All he knows is name calling and put downs of others because he himself was raised in that manner. All you can really do is, maybe, and thats a big maybe, feel a little sorry for him to a real small degree. Real small….

  • Omari October 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Does anybody else HATE how 9 out of 10 area businesses have fox news on their screens in lobbies or cafeterias rather than CNN or other sources?! So degrading to the alternative local.

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