One of the prime indications of radical Islam’s victory is the retreat of free speech in the west. In the US we are unaware of the intimate connection between the Fourth and First Amendments. Having given up our privacy on all fronts in the false expectation of guaranteed security, our government now monitors, collects, and stores every possible action that we perform in public or in what used to be the privacy of our homes. Our houses are no longer our castles, but closely watched dormitories from a bygone era renewed. And tomorrow it will be worse.
Stalin, Mao, and other mass murderers of their own citizens made no pretense of operating under laws, they argued that state security trumped consideration of such niceties. And the state was ever insecure. In those times, times which are now returning, the state was always that ultimate arbiter of what a citizen really said, thought, and intended. The actual record of spoken word or written speech was of no use to a citizen wishing to defend himself against the state intent on his destruction.
The chilling institutional ‘we know what you really said/thought/meant’ is an unanswerable charge against an autocracy, especially one that has a deep archive of records and recordings of every expression you ever allowed yourself, no matter in what context or environment. With an abundance of data on every citizen, a case can be cobbled together to support any and every conceivable indictment the state needs to control or contain an individual – the ‘what you really…’ gambit is the state’s trump card.
The Fourth Amendment reads, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
The abrogation of the Fourth – now having been admittedly violated regularly “thousands of times” by our state security apparatchiks – means that ALL expressions during our waking hours will be a matter of permanent, searchable record. In past years, we know how differently we have behaved when we were told that we were being recorded. The communicated rate of information instantly slowed down and became deliberate, guarded, and more ambiguous (to give us wiggle room in the future should we be called to account). Lawyers and politicians have excelled in this kind of communicating, the rest of us have despised it. Being a ‘straight talker’ in America has always been an admired attribute.
But can we continue to be straight talkers if we are always thinking about the words and actions coming back at us within the context of someone else’s interpretation of ‘what we really said/thought/meant’? And that someone is always a person or agency, more powerful than we, that does not have our best interests in mind.
The result is that the violation of our privacy – within the intent and context of the Fourth – means that our freedom to express ourselves, to talk straight in order to communicate with appropriate clarity and get things done, has been compromised. In short, our First Amendment rights will have been constructively abrogated when all of our past is a matter of record to be interpreted by others in the service of their agendas.
Finally, we again come to the asymmetry between the Left and Right in these matters. The Left are the promulgators, monitors, and enforcers of politically correct speech. It is they who have worked hard to enshrine these interpretations into laws under labels such as ‘hate speech’. It is they who know what are ‘dog whistle’ phrases that carry the meanings only they may assign. It is they who in the media invoke the ‘what they really …’ rule, and then go on to lambast ad nauseum these homebrewed infractions. It is they who, for example, can ruin a career of person who honestly admits to having used the word ‘nigger’ in their distant past. (And in their small part, these pages have also been witness to numerous invocations from the Left of ‘what they/you really meant …’.)
Having already made enormous strides in academe, the lamestream, and public offices everywhere, this is how autocracy starts on the road to a society that conforms agenda with realization.