Privacy Is the American Dream

This article was first published on @iotex - Medium

150 million Americans made their voice heard on November 4th in a stunningly close and contentious election. But the election is only the roiling surface of the vast depths of the fight for the American Dream, that “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of circumstances of birth. Any fouling of the American Dream emanates from a rotten slab at its very center — the erosion of the Fourth Amendment and all it protects: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” We’ve come a long way from the days when the fourth was directed at Red Coats beating down front doors of revolutionaries. Modern violations of the fourth amendment are not physical. Not seen. Not touched. But felt. They are felt in the same way an invisible virus corrupts the system rendering it nauseous and sweaty.

Despite its mediocre number, the fourth is the bedrock of American civil liberties. It supports the first amendment above all. How can citizens speak out when their communication is unilaterally surveilled and silenced? You will recall that Orwell’s dystopia locked down the citizenry with surveillance, not prisons. Violations to the fourth amendment have always happened in times of emergency, both apparent and real. They stretch all the way back to Lincoln’s suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus to arrest and detain individuals deemed threats to the military operation. Woodrow Wilson’s Palmer Raids in the midst of the Red Scare is a grievous example but the post 911 Patriot Act is both recent and controversial.

The biggest lie Americans have been told for the last twenty years is that to keep our freedom from outside threats we ...

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