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135

THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 135, August 20, 2001
MANSON LAMPS

American Fascism: Part II - I Can See You

by Keith Shugarts
shugartk@yahoo.com

Special to TLE

How Technology and the Supreme Court are eroding our liberties and freedoms

Back in the mists of time, or at least those that my then animal crackers and milk consuming body can remember, a very friendly and smiling lady looked into the television screen through her magical looking glass and said, "I can see Mary, I can see Brian, I can see Neil, I can see Vin, and I can see Keith." Her saccharine (now banned by FDA fiat) sweet smile could not keep down the chill that ran down my young spine that day I heard her speak my name. How could she see me? Could she see the remains of the animal crackers scattered around my feet? What about the milk mustache I wore. Did she know that I was still in my pajamas?

Already we have seen the courts rule that individuals should not expect protection from the prying eyes of the state when they are out in public. These intrusions take the form of red light cameras, speeding cameras, and face identification cameras not to mention equipment that can peer through walls and clothing. The coercive power of additional sources of revenue, painted over with the veneer of additional safety, allow officials to cloak their intrusions with supposed good intentions and disguise yet another tax upon the individual. The siren sound of safety merely disguised the rocky outcrop of absolutism that can tear open the hull of liberty and leave freedom to drown in the turbid waves of oppression. Whilst that erstwhile socialist Franklin Delino Roosevelt warned us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. It is this very spectre of fear that has been used to impose the will of government upon the backs of sovereign individuals. It is fear that government cultivates to sow the seeds of dependence and harvest the bounty of despotism when individuals willingly give up their liberties and freedom.

The red light cameras in Baltimore have been credited with reducing intersection accidents in those areas under the protection of their watchful and unblinking eye. This gives more ammunition to those who would place even greater efforts on the monitoring of individuals and their actions in public areas as statistics have been used to mold public opinion on gun control.

However, because of the limits of the red light traffic cameras, the perpetrator is not always the individual who pays the fine. This is because the only identification available to the camera and thus, the fining authority is the state issued license plate. Please note that these identifying plates are required to be displayed by law and usually require the payment of a fixed yearly sum, or the payment of a percentage of purchase price upon registration with the issuing state one cannot opt out of displaying these plates. This places the payment of the additional tax on the owner of the vehicle rather than the offended party. In essence, the government is taxing the owner of the vehicle for operation rather than commission of a violation and impeding the freedom of movement of that individual. And If you are unsure whether or not traffic violations are taxes, take a look at a ticket the next time you get it and see what the cost of the fine is and then look at the amount of money added for administrative cost and other ancillary items funding for a catastrophic accident fund, emergency response fund, and other government programs.

Meanwhile, the 4th Amendment to the Constitution begins to look more and more like an ineffective afterthought instead of an important bulwark against the intrusive tide of tyranny. This is due to the desire of the Supreme Court to interpret the 4th Amendment in ruling favorable to the governemnt - for reasons listed later in this article.

The 4th Amendment reads as follows; 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.

Despite the wording of the amendment, The Supreme Court has already ruled that even in the case of minor traffic offenses individuals can be placed under arrest and detained without being charged if the government official feels it necessary to do so. Additionally, the Supreme Court has given wide latitudes for the searching of automobiles, boats, and other non-residential possession determining that these possessions do not meet the definition of person, houses, papers, and effects. Without having to gain a warrant, an officer working for the government is allowed to search a vehicle without the same restrictions as one searching as house or residence. The willingness of the Supreme Court to place power in the hands of government officials should not be surprising. 'Brutus' writing on the 31st of January in 1788 in one of the anti-federalist papers said of the judiciary, "That the judicial power of the United States, will lean strongly in favour of the general government, and will give such an explanation to the constitution, as will favour an extension of its jurisdiction."

'Brutus' continues to warn of the general nature of the Constitution and the role of the judiciary in interpreting it when he writes, "Most of the articles in this system, which convey powers of any considerable importance, are conceived in general and indefinite terms, which are either equivocal, ambiguous, or which require long definitions to unfold the extent of their meaning." The great leaps of Constitutional faith the Supreme Court has exercised serves to allow it to extend its influence and, as 'Brutus' says "enlarge the sphere of their own authority". The Supreme Court has grown beyond its boundaries, much like the rest of the government, each office acting as a phalanx to drive through the heart of the Constitution and render it powerless through the steel of interpretation. 'Brutus' worries seem to have been borne out. Rather than resisting the onrushing waters of oppression, the Supreme Court Constructs carefully worded diatribes to urge it onward.

Those smiling faces looking back at me have now become evil leering threats to individual liberties and freedoms singing their siren songs and trying to lure me into the rocks of tyranny. With the United States Supreme Court acting more in its own interests and to further its own jurisdiction, the Constitution, which was once meant to protect individual liberty and freedom, is being used to subvert it. I will leave with another quotation from 'Brutus', "From these considerations the judges will be interested to extend the powers of the courts, and to construe the constitution as much as possible, in such a way as to favour it; and that they will do it, appears probable."



Keith Stehman Shugarts is a graduate of the College of Charleston with a degree in History. He enjoys writing about politics, sailing, and often tries his hand at short stories.



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