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Liberty and private property are tied together

March 17, 2017 - 12:05am

One could say the American Revolution was all about the right to private property. The cry of taxation without representation the colonists saw as the unjust taking of private property. Private property is not just someone’s possessions, but the fruits of their labor. Half of the 10 acts of abuse by the King of England in the Declaration of Independence were offenses against private property.

This right to privacy is enshrined in the Fourth Amendment prohibiting warrants that fail to name the person, place or thing to be searched or seized or that fail to show a probable cause that a named target has in fact committed a crime. A person’s house and papers were meant to be private. This prevents wide-open fishing expeditions by the police or government and is meant to include personal papers not only found in filing cabinets but also in the cloud or in email.

How much consideration is given today to regulations which are becoming more and more intemperate and unbridled in regard to the Constitution’s mandate to protect the liberties and private property of each individual? Many believe that private property must yield to public necessity. But any redistribution of wealth is a redistribution of private property and lessens our liberty. The government produces nothing and is only able to bestow benefits on some Americans by taking from other Americans.

Free college is not free, it is a taking of private property through taxation for the benefit of others. This sounds noble considering that, according to Forbes, people who complete college will enjoy a higher earning capacity, will be healthier, more likely to marry, and have higher levels of social trust. Ironically, approximately 60 percent of the population do not attend college. So taking private property, in this case money in the form of higher taxes from the majority of Americans without a college degree, will fund the 40 percent who will eventually earn more than those who funded their “free” college. Civil forfeiture is another abuse of private property but all too common these days.

Unfortunately, the event of Islamic terrorists flying airplanes into buildings on 9/11 has been used by the federal government for national security reasons to abandon our Fourth Amendment privacy protections. Admittedly, it’s a delicate balance, security vs. privacy, and sadly it took what many call a traitor in Edward Snowden to bring that point home to all Americas. Not only was our government spying on us and collecting data without warrant or probable cause, the then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied about it in Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. The Patriot Act and its supposed protections Under the FISA Court relies on the fear of more attacks to subvert our Fourth Amendment protections. And so many terrorist acts later we have seen a clear indication that these attacks have not been prevented by this invasion of our privacy. That barn door however remains wide open.

As citizens of a free republic it is our duty to preserve it. If you would like to take a free online course on the U. S. Constitution go to:

Mikie Kerr is a Waikoloa resident and Constitutional enthusiast who writes a monthly opinion column for West Hawaii Today.

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