Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
Security vs. Privacy is the topic of the day.
Security inherently involves giving up something else. We understand this. In the past we have been more adept at paying for our security with blood and treasure. However, today's enemy is not as easily foiled with blood and treasure and increasingly we have been asked to pay for our security with other things we hold dear. To get security we give up our freedom of movement and our freedom of privacy.
When we put our young people in harm's way to protect our security, it is a great trust. We all understand the dangers involved, but we also expect our military to reasonably protect the lives of those in their charge. It is a great responsibility for the leaders of our military to be entrusted with the lives of so many and it is a great trust we place in them. We have come to expect this and for the most part, our trust has been kept.
But today, we are asked to give up our freedoms to obtain security, We have a government asking us to give up our privacy so that they can protect us better. But privacy, like our blood and treasure, is also precious and requires a great trust in those to whom we grant access to our secrets. Here in lies the problem.
The Catholic Church has long recognized the critical value of that trust and this is why its priests will protect the seal of the confessional even unto death.
But the government, especially this latest incarnation of it, has repeatedly shown that it does not care about truth or our constitutionally protected freedoms and has trampled upon them with various combinations of lying, subterfuge, intimidation, and demagoguery. Just the last months alone have myriad cases of the government abusing its power in direct assault on the freedom of religion, freedom of press, the rights of assembly, and on matters of national security.
In almost every way imaginable, our government has brazenly violated the trust placed in it and the oaths of its members. Most of these transgressions have taken place with the full consent and imprimatur of all three branches of our unchecked government.
So when the news broke last week of the government's secret peering in to our private records, I was alarmed but unsurprised.
The president, seeking to quell concern over the programs, said "If people can't trust not only the executive branch but also don't trust Congress, and don't trust federal judges, to make sure that we're abiding by the Constitution with due process and rule of law, then we're going to have some problems here."
Yes, we are going to have some problems here. You and the rest of the government of both parties have shown a blatant disregard for the constitution, our freedoms, and the truth. So when I look at the security threat posed by foreign extremists and I look at the threat posed by a government without restriction that has repeatedly shown a willingness to abuse the trust placed in it for its own advantage and power, I have a problem here.
History has shown us that most of the people murdered in the world have been murdered by their own government. So yes, I have a problem here.
In this particular case, I choose not to place any more trust in a government that squanders the trust already placed in it. I will take the increased security threat because I can't trust my own government.
If we get attacked again, it will be the fault of the government that abused the trust placed in it.
So yes, Mr. President, we do have a problem here. It is a trust thing.