“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself, without regard to prevailing superstition or taboo.”
— H. L. Mencken, American journalist
The first principle of people-control is not to let them know they’re being controlled. That is the reason governments propagandize “crime-reduction” as a favorite motive when sneakily setting out to re-engineer society.
Take surveillance cameras in public streets, for instance. They are people-control devices billed as crime-reducers. And the public blissfully embraced the government ‘s tools for spying.
Following the 9-11 (2001) Attack on America, polls showed an astonishingly high percentage of the populace was conned into eagerly trading a pound of precious individual freedoms for an ounce of what they perceived to be safety.
“Whatever it takes to keep us safe,” the paranoids chimed in chorus.
One of those lost freedoms has been privacy, as well as dignity, both which are interwoven into the fabric of individual well-being. Unless this dangerous slide into an Orwellian age of totalitarianism is reversed, soon all freedoms will be stigmatized as deadly sins, and free-spirited, free-thinking individuals will be cast aside as shop-worn relics or locked up as criminals.
A person only has rights to something that can never be taken away by another. Natural–or birth–rights can never be taken away because the government is not the source of those rights.
However, those personal rights and freedoms can be and are denied in countries ruled by two-bit, tinpot, backwater dictators. Canadians and Americans are the latest casualties of their own illogical paranoia that has encouraged governments to encroach on those rights by snooping on people in the name of “public safety”.
“Here I am; I have nothing to hide,” they chimed stupidly in unison.
Canada seems bent on doing down this path, easily denying people their inalienable rights through vaguely-written laws, which are the tools of dictators, whether or not dictatorship was the original intent.
Under the guise of fixing a perceived problem, the newly-created laws end up watering down democracy. Incrementally, governments chip away until laws are abused. Then power is expanded that trample personal rights and freedoms like the environmental legislation, the Firearms Act and Anti-Terrorist Act.
And, if there is any justice, perverted as it may be, all the unconstitutional provisions in those parliamentary acts–especially the Firearms Act–are being paraded out to be included in other forms of freedom-sucking legislation for use on all other citizens who had no sympathy when gun owners were gored. The list of unconstitutional provisions is long but reverse onus comes immediately to mind.
The most recent one is an Omnibus Bill before the 2011 sitting of Parliament. The Yukon’s rookie Conservative member of Parliament, Ryan Leef, didn’t waste any time getting on the Tory party line and learning political ambiguities.
When questioned about the bill on CBC (officially known as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), something in relation to mandatory sentencing, the only words he uttered that stuck out in my memory were “that’s not our intent”.
How many times have I heard that senseless phrase from amateur city councillors and territorial legislators?
Well, Mr. Rookie MP, down there in big city Ottawa, what exactly is your government’s “intent”? Your job, buster, is to make damned sure you and your party don’t pass any vague, Doublespeak, contradictory, freedom-sucking laws to filter through the rest of the country.
People get arrested, charged, have property seized, pay out mind-boggling amounts of money on defense before courts and quasi-judicial boards and go to jail because of the ruthless blizzard of contradictory “unintended” fraud that spews forth from Parliament and provincial legislatures.
Your job as an MP–as is any other politician’s duty–is to understand the implications of what you and your party are trying to do, then write and pass clear, concise laws whose definite, distinct meaning can be comprehended by any lawyer, law clerk, benchwarmer, gas jockey, or other common person on the street–while, I might add, ensuring that your parliamentary handiwork meets Constitution and Charter standards.
I don’t want to hear about gun owners imprisoned under “mandatory sentencing” because they were convicted under provisions of the Criminal Code of being “paper criminals” because they forgot to renew a license or a change of address.
Oh, right, Mr. Leef, you said, that isn’t the Harper government’s “intent”. The “intent” is to put habitual, hard-boiled criminals behind bars. I doubt that the concept is spelled out clearly in the new Omnibus Bill because it is a bunch of hack lawyers in the war room in the bowels of Parliament penning the legislation, and, as a majority government the error-riddled law will pass regardless of what was “unintended” because most Conservative MPs won’t even read it.
The government pretends that any new set of laws takes precedence over everybody’s natural rights. Unfortunately, they do, as long as people believe it. As a Christian nation, however, Canada was built on a concept that people have certain inalienable, God-given rights that cannot be tampered with by governments at any level.
In the past, those rights and freedoms were cherished to the degree that gun-bearing people were always at the ready to rise up and fight to preserve them. Some of the basic rights, which make-up the foundation on which Canada and the United States were built, are:
1. the right to defend self, family and property against the depredations of evil people.
2. the right of freedom to worship according to the dictation of one’s own conscience.
3. the right to quiet enjoyment to own property without harassment by government.
4. the right to freedom of speech, thought, belief, opinion and expression; the right of freedom of peaceful assembly; the right of freedom of association; and the right of freedom of the press, including other media communication.
Now, almost 800 years after King John signed the Magna Carta that ordered the state to cease interference with people’s rights and freedoms, people are oddly willing to reject their civil liberties in exchange for a false-sense of security. Freedom is a fragile thing, each one linked tenuously to another for the whole. If one is destroyed, the domino effect will eventually topple them all.
Interwoven into those rights and freedoms is the innate need for privacy and dignity. That is why people wear clothes, have blinds on windows, doors on bathrooms, private telephone lines and sealed mail.
Anybody who has suffered a house burglary knows the horrible sense of violation and uncleanness after an intruder has invaded the private domain and riffled personal belongings. Surveillance cameras give governments legal licence to be peeping Toms, invading your privacy. Yet it is not government’s business which store you go into or which restaurant you come out of.
Police have a passion for these high-tech toys which are one step removed from enforcement officers barging into your house whenever they feel the urge, just to look around, and possibly help themselves to whatever possessions they fancy.
The next step will be/has been to bring the cameras into your neighbourhoods, homes, tap your phones and intercept your mail (cell phones and email are already under Google and government surveillance without warrants)–all under the excuse of crime reduction. Under the firearms, terrorism and environmental legislation, enforcement officers already enjoy variations of such discretionary powers that exceed those of the police.
As soon as Tampa, Florida decided to install computerized face-matching cameras in public places back in 2001, Vancouver, British Columbia started making overtures to copycat the snoop software.
The-then federal Privacy Commissioner George Radwanski described the cameras contemplated for Vancouver and other Canadian cities as “the thin edge of the wedge that will irrevocably change our whole notion of our rights and freedoms.”
Surveillance cameras on public streets needlessly and dangerously tip the balance, he told the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association.
Radwanski, who answered to Parliament during his 2000-2003 tenure, had ruled in his earlier remarks that such monitoring is against the law. Yet monitoring is rampant as governments break the law, and was only then in its infancy.
Meanwhile, politicians have rejoiced in their ability to concoct new crimes by writing an inordinate number of laws and by-laws that send ordinary people tiptoeing through life in an unsuccessful attempt to be “law-abiding” citizens.
However, there is no such thing as “law-abiding” any longer in this new Orwellian era of Newspeak because corrupt, politically-correct politicians have voted to pass illogical, ridiculous, moronic, upside-down laws that have no business gazetted in Canada.
The term is a misnomer. Nobody can get through a day without committing sins on a regular basis. Back in 2002, the Yukon’s capital city of Whitehorse was toying with installing extra sets of eyes–and maybe ears–in hopes of nabbing those respected citizens who were getting away with “crimes” that councillors and legislators had fabricated by the ton.
If super snoops see you talking with someone already on the police list, they will assume you are guilty by association. Your mug will end up in the database of suspects. You may have an inkling how your photo got there, but you won’t have any recourse for removing it.
Digitizing leaves a lot to be desired. There are many sets of look-alikes. Your face can be wrongly matched to photos already in the police files. And these guys work on assumptions rather than facts.
The-then Whitehorse mayor Ernie Bourassa tried to peddle the claptrap over CBC radio that cameras on public streets would reduce crime. He parroted airy-fairy, idealistic notions that “criminals” would be caught, dragged into court, justice served and restitution paid.
See what I mean? The “criminals” he spoke of catching were respected citizens because he certainly wasn’t going to squeeze “restitution” out of ragtag welfare recipients, some of whom were the ones defacing property and breaking out street lights.
I have heard the oft-repeated theory he espoused:
“If people aren’t doing anything wrong, they should have nothing to hide or fear.” My answer to that crock is: “If people aren’t doing anything wrong, why the government’s indescribable urge to spy on them?”
Because public officials aren’t going to be happy until every person is labelled a criminal and registered in the police’s database, or, more preferably, basking in a government-owned concentration camp.
Yet people have a God-given right to go about their business without someone peering over their shoulders, in their windows, observing every transaction, perhaps every human contact.
No one can be truly free who has to go through life feeling their every action is being observed and monitored, stressed former Privacy Commissioner Radwanski. “That is the very essence of the fundamental human right to privacy, which is a crucial element of our freedom.”
One argument is that private businesses and public buildings already have cameras. So what? You don’t have to go in. The owners set the rules of the “house”. A customer has a personal choice to enter or not to enter the premises to obtain a service or product.
Back on the public street, privacy should be restored. However, if armed policemen, soldiers and/or cameras are stationed on every corner, pedestrians will start to scurry along streets Orwellian style.
They’ll duck their heads, not speaking to any one, especially strangers, for fear of being wrongly associated with some drug dealer or rapist. People will start imitating those who do crimes of force by disguising their identities with hoods, masks, scarves and balaclavas–which all cold climate Canadian residents already do out of necessity in winter. How long before the government outlaws Canadians from wearing hooded parkas and other identity-disguising paraphernalia?
When traveling in non-free, police-state countries, Radwanski spoke of the drabness of life that results from this utter lack of privacy. “There’s kind of sullenness in the air,” he added.
Why would Canadians want to intentionally turn their friendly communities into a paranoid state of oppression where people are afraid to talk with friends on the street, or who become so xenophobic they are reluctant to give assistance to valued tourists?
Freedom is the easiest thing to give away and the hardest thing to get back. Adults and students should think long and hard before nonchalantly succumbing to their illogical paranoia and continuing to champion the trading more pounds of liberty for an ounce of false security. They will regret it wholesale.
Something can be done to overthrow this wave of madness, though. According to author Tammy Bruce, activism relies not on groupthink but on individualism–a word that does not even exist in Chinese and other languages used in dictatorships.
In Bruce’s book “The New Thought Police: Inside the Left’s Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds” (2001), the author explains why the socialists feel compelled to destroy individual liberty.
Be prepared, she warns, to suffer the initial wave of attacks from every group you anger with your logical and strong opposition. However, the big reward she promises for fighting the good fight to preserve freedom is the ease with which you will be able to sleep–not having to fear somebody will kick down your door in the middle of the night because you did the right thing for yourself and your fellowman.
November 7, 2011