Faria: American naïveté (Part 1): "If you have nothing to hide..."

In a previous article, “European social democracies and gun control,” I wrote that many Americans are extremely naïve when it comes to trusting the government with their liberties. In fact, there is an interesting dichotomy because citizens mistrust the economic acumen of government and don't trust it with their wallets, but it is a different story with personal liberty!Frog In Hot Pot

Thus, we continue to hear the expression, “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” The fact is Americans have lived in freedom for so long, we are not only too trusting with liberty, but like the proverbial frog in the warm bath, don’t even notice when our freedoms are being eroded piecemeal.

I do not know the Telegraph letter-writer, Geraldine Parker or her politics, but she received an avalanche of verbal reprimands and heaps of derision from both liberals and conservatives, both in print and online, for her temerity to express emotionally her concerns about personal privacy.

Despite the accusations of hysteria and paranoia (and admittedly I do have a soft spot for defending the underdog), the fact remains that even paranoids have enemies, as Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir reminded Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during his celebrated 1973 “shuttle diplomacy,” when he wanted Israel to make territorial concessions. Had Israel not held control of the territories gained in the 1967 conflict, the Jewish State would have been pushed into the sea in the initially successful surprise attack of the 1973 Yom Kippur War!

Mr. Jim Huber was one of the chastisers of Ms Parker. He received his own energetic reproof from an irate on-line reader, Bob White, who wrote:

“The Patriot Act and the War on Drugs have gutted the 4th Amendment. Our government and law enforcement monitor our phone calls, internet, mail, what books you read, all without a warrant signed by a judge. Road blocks take place daily under which we can be searched without a warrant. Under the ‘sneak and peek’ provision of the Patriot Act, our homes can be searched without our even knowing about it. It’s easy to see, Mr. Huber, that you are one of the sheep who won’t even bleat as you are led to be fleeced or slaughtered.”

These are strong words but White has a point as to the loss of American freedom. Consider the revelations that have come to light on domestic surveillance; the political abuses of the IRS targeting conservatives; abuses of the ATF and other federal agencies, etc. And if still in doubt, try to exit the country or even fly outside the U.S., not with a gun in your travel bag — but with your hard-earned money — and see what happens! 

All of this loss of freedom has taken place in the name of security and safety, taken place with little resistance from the uninformed and acquiescent general public — and despite Ben Franklin’s admonition! History confirms the danger of government run amok and exercising too much power. And for those who still hold to the naïveté, “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” I will conclude with a summation of what might happen to (and should be feared by) the trusting and unwary citizen — as a result of the cryptic and myriad of laws and regulations in the federal books in the concluding Part 2 of this commentary.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is the author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape from a Lost Paradise (2002). His website is www.haciendapub.com or www.drmiguelfaria.com

This editorial was published in the Macon Telegraph on February 20, 2015. The illustration used in this editorial did not appear in the Macon Telegraph version, but was added here for the readers at HaciendaPublishing.com.

This article can be cited as:  Faria MA. American naïveté (Part 1): "If you have nothing to hide..." The Macon Telegraph, February 20, 2015. Available from:  http://www.haciendapub.com/randomnotes/faria-american-na%C3%AFvet%C3%A9-...

Copyright ©2015 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Comments on this post

Naive Naïveté!

Ben Damron (MT, 2/24/15): Bob White; The sad thing about it is you can be stopped, imprisoned indefinitely without charge! Granted this is unconstitutional and Congress knows it but even though they have played with this for the last few years, they still have not got this resolved.

Bob F: Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

Buffalo Springfield — For What It's Worth Lyrics

Dido (Haciendapub 2/24/15): For those who say "paranoid" We sing with a better rock song:

...Its leaders were supposed to save the country but now they won't pay her no mind.
...Because the people got fat and grew lazy, now their vote is like a meaningless joke.
You know they talk about law, about order, but it's all just an echo of what they've been told.
'Cause there is a monster on the loose. It's got our heads into the noose,
and it just sits there watching...

Our cities have turned into jungles. Destruction is plaguing the land.
The police force is watching the people, and the people just can't understand.
They don't know how to mind their own business. The whole world has got to be just like us...
Now we are fighting a war over there, no matter who wins, you know we can't pay the cost.
'Cause there is a monster on the loose. It's got our heads
into the noose, and it just sits there watching...

America, where are you now? Don't you care about your sons and daughters?
Don't you know we need you now. We can't fight alone against the monster. ---
 Monster — Steppenwolf's Monster, c.1971

More naiveté or deliberate stupidity?

More naiveté or deliberate stupidity? I’m not kidding you... the soporific "letter to the editor" below was published in the Macon Telegraph, August 12, 2016. Some one please tell this citizen to read Dr. Faria's articles on American naiveté (also published in the Telegraph), so we can all have a great laugh!

"Truth telling — Obama wants to take our guns away! Hillary wants to eliminate the Second Amendment! (Insert the name of any Democrat running for office here) wants to deny us our Constitutional rights! Get real folks. No president, no political party, no citizens group has that power. It’s time for a civics lesson. The Constitution details how an amendment can be repealed or modified:

"Either Congress or the states can propose an amendment to the Constitution. Both houses of Congress must propose any amendment by a two-thirds majority, or two-thirds of state legislatures can compel Congress to take up the matter. Once passed by a two-thirds majority of both houses of Congress, the proposal is then sent to the various states where a three-fourths majority is required to ratify any changes (See Article 5 of the Constitution of the United States of America).

"Over the course of our history, hundreds of amendments to the Constitution have been attempted, yet, since 1887, only 27 amendments have been successful. The process, by design, is meant to be extremely difficult.

"So, when a politician says an opponent wants to take away our rights as citizens, it’s time to get real. We the people need to hold politicians accountable for their statements. I would love to hear Donald Trump asked to explain how Hillary Clinton is going to eliminate the Second Amendment. He can’t. He hasn’t a clue. It’s simply not going to happen." — 
Lee Murphey
, Macon

To which the following alert citizens responded:

Jim Hartley
: Mr. Murphey, Your naïveté is amusing.We have already had our rights taken away. They were not suddenly ripped away by jackbooted hooligans. They were frog-boiled away by glib "leaders" who know what's good for us.Under the pretext of "reasonable" rules, we've had our 1st Amendment rights eroded. The same has happened to our 2nd Amendment rights. The 2nd Amendment says: ". . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." Through "reasonable" arguments, the clear language was overridden by those seeking control over us. Restrictions on the type of arms are constantly being debated and legislated away from us. The erosion continues everyday. So, yes! Hillary wants our guns and will try to take them, "little by little and inch by inch," and it will continue until we have no rights.

Emory Lane:
 Mr. Murphey, to gain an understanding of how guns rights are abridged read "Guns and Violence: The English Experience" by Joyce Lee Malcolm. It explains exactly how it was done in the UK and details the results.

Mike Ganas:
 Mr. Murphey, they do WANT to take our guns. Many have even said so. The Constitution means little to the ruling class in Washington, and I mean both parties. If they want to end private gun ownership, they'll find a way. Now with that said, when they come for our guns, they'll need to bring theirs.

Losing rights

I read with interest the Letter to the Editor in the Macon Telegraph by Mr. Lee Murphey, as well as the thoughtful comments posted by several other readers. I would like to join in the discussion.

I receive a publication from Hillsdale College in Michigan called Imprimis. I highly recommend this publication to all. The latest issue [July/August 2016, Volume 45, Number 7/8] was written by Scott Pruitt, Attorney General, State of Oklahoma. In his article, “The Next Supreme Court Justice,” Mr. Pruitt reminds us of a very important issue at stake in the upcoming presidential election — an area the mainstream media would like voters to ignore or forget.

Many points made in Pruitt’s article would have provided needed clarification for some of Mr. Murphey’s naive statements.

Pruitt explains: “Contrary to what many believe, the primary guarantee of our liberty in the Constitution is not the Bill of Rights. Rather it is found in the structure of government under the Constitution, which is designed to prevent accumulation of power and oppression of the people. The Constitution separates powers between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government, and divides powers between the federal government and the states. The founders expected that members of the different branches would be zealous in defending their powers from other parts of government that attempted to encroach on them. They expected state legislatures to do likewise. These constitutional structures provide the greatest and broadest guarantee of liberty by limiting governmental power. And today they are under threat.”

To illustrate his point, Mr. Pruitt provides recent examples of how President Obama, as head of the Executive branch, has “effectively engaged in lawmaking,” a function reserved for the Legislative branch in the U.S. Constitution.

Most importantly, Mr. Pruitt goes on to list several cases which will be reviewed and decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in the next few years, particularly after Justice Antonin Scalia’s vacancy has been filled.

Pruitt writes: “Moving to the Second Amendment, the next justice will likely cast the deciding vote on whether to continue to recognize an individual right to “keep and bear Arms,” or whether to interpret that right so narrowly as to effectively do away with it. For example, just this month, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California held that the Second Amendment does not forbid laws that prohibit most people from carrying (i.e., bearing) a firearm in public. Without a justice willing to stand up for an effective right to bear arms, the Second Amendment might very well become a dead letter.”

Readers of this issue of Imprimis will realized, if nothing else, how easy it has become for liberals and progressives to make an end run around the constitutional liberties that many, like Mr. Murphey, naively believe are inviolable.