A bit of huge privacy news happened a couple of days ago that was overshadowed by all the coverage of the freak storm Sandy. U.S. District Judge William Griesbach handed down a decision in favor of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) that allows police agencies to go on private property without a warrant to secretly install surveillance cameras. The case involved two Wisconsin men suspected of growing marijuana plants, so DEA agents went on their 22-acre property to set up surveillance to catch them in the act. The men argued the video should be thrown out because they had “No Trespassing” signs posted all around their property. The judge disagreed.
I believe people growing illegal substances should be prosecuted, but this case, in my opinion, is just the continued pressing forward of the government wanting to be the all-seeing eye of Osiris and their attempts to erode private property rights. Although this case dealt with drug dealers, it’s no doubt the government could easily turn such a ruling into justification to violate the rights of law-abiding citizens if they feel like it when one considers the fact presidential administrations now give mandates for things that violate one’s right of personal conscience as if no Constitution exists. The judge narrowed such surveillance to multi-acre properties, but that could easily be changed in the future to include small properties.
This case represents the creeping socialist mentality that continues to grow in our government–the socialist mentality that says the government has the right to trespass or confiscate (loot) personal property at will as it sees fit. The creepy part is that socialists will swear up and down that this is in line with what Christianity teaches. They will tell you that Jesus and his disciples taught that we’re not supposed to gather earthly possessions but that we’re supposed to let others freely have access to it. Is this true?
Those who love to use Christianity to promote social justice often relay the story of the widow’s mite as condemnation for the rich not giving as much as the poor widow. They love to point out that Jesus criticized the rich young ruler for not giving away everything as Jesus suggested. Socialists also point out that believers in the early church sold their personal property and gave the proceeds to the poor. But what they conveniently omit is the fact that neither Jesus nor his disciples forced these people into giving. They allowed them to have free will over what they did with their possessions. Socialism doesn’t. Socialists take other people’s things by force to give them away as opposed to giving their own possessions away.
Jesus was not one to forcibly impose on others. When Jesus healed the man possessed by Legion and the townsfolk asked him to leave, he left their region [Mark 5]. When the centurion wanted Jesus to heal his servant, he asked Jesus not to come to his house and Jesus complied [Luke 7]. When a village of Samaritans would not allow Jesus and his disciples to enter their village, they went to another village [Luke 9:52-56]. When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the gospel to different cities, the disciples were commanded to simply shake the dust off their feet and move on if they were not welcomed in [Luke 9:4-5]. When Ananias lied about the amount of money he gave to the church, Peter condemned Ananias for lying but acknowledged that Ananias had the power and free will to do whatever he wished with the proceeds he got from selling his property [Acts 5:4].
Throughout the Bible, God acknowledged people’s property rights (e.g. the year of jubilee, Leviticus 25) and set up laws to preserve them. Socialism does the opposite. Socialists are like Ahab and Jezebel who conspired against Naboth to steal his property.
Source: Declan McCullagh. Court OKs warrantless use of hidden surveillance cameras. Cnet.com. October 30, 2012.