12 October 2014

Greenwald: Why Privacy Matters, and the Endowment of Individual Rights and the State

Privacy is the space that defines the will of the individual, which sets the area that says, 'this is mine, because this is me.'
Privacy is the 'outer skin' of the self.

I may wish to share my space to varying degrees with family, friends, and acquaintances. If I have the good sense I may even wish to open my heart and live in a continuing act of worship and companionship with my Creator.
But that choice to conform myself to His will and open my thoughts and heart to Him, is mine. This is a gift that is hard to comprehend, but which grants us the intimacy of His love, rather than objectification as a possession, or a thing to be owned.

It is His most supreme condescension that He grants us the power to resist, to say no, to be other and apart from Him if we so choose. He makes us the sovereigns of a portion of His being, and says, you are free. And in His caring for another grants us a soul of our own. This is the essence of our being, and the wellspring of our existence.

What kind of love is in thrall to the beloved, which has no choice, no self identity that it may give to another, freely? What are we to an all-powerful God, except that which He has granted to us, forever, as ours alone and ours to give?

A tyrannical State, which has no virtuous restraint, by its very definition wishes to insert itself into this private space, not as a gracious God who grants us the will to either open or close the most private recesses of our heart to Him, but rather to take by force that which marks our individuality. It would be as a god, but on its own perverse and darker terms. It seeks to possess, uncaring, which is the opposite of love.
Privacy and the primacy of the individual is no gift from the State, but a recognition of what has been defined as 'an inalienable right' precisely because it is not granted by the State, but something higher, superior to an earthly power.

Surveillance, on an indiscriminate and massive scale by an increasingly intrusive State, is not a benign act in the cause of homeland protection.  It is not an excess of zeal among well meaning bureaucrats.  It is the very definition of statism.

It is an act of the will to power of the State over the individual, to claim that last bastion of privacy that marks the least amount of space that a person may occupy as their own. And it is relentless in its jealousy, expediency and ownership.  It asserts the supremacy of power, and takes all power to itself.  
The violation of the individual is not incidental to the establishment of a tyranny.  It is essential. 
"If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and those who claim to be the bearers of objective and eternal truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than Fascist attitudes and activity.  

From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, we Fascists conclude that we have the right to create our own ideology and to enforce it with all the energy of which we are capable. ”

Benito Mussolini, Diuturna

It is the State's way of asserting that all that we have, all that we are, all that we may do or think, belongs to them at their unquestioned discretion and expediency.

 It is the will to power, and the way of earthly death. And we who belong to the Lord can have no part of it, for He is ours and we are His. He calls us by name, and we hear His voice.

Statists of both the left and right seek to elevate the State to an unnatural priority over all things free and individual, since individual choice is inseparable from any notion of freedom. Therefore they must subordinate the individual to the expediency of the State not only in so called 'emergencies' but over time as a matter of their continuing policy.
One sees this theme of the primacy of state sanctioned organizations over people today. This is the basis of the 'corporatism' that seems so bizarre, but that we are already seeing creep into our legal judgements.
Therefore Corporations will have the rights of people and beyond.  They are relatively free of the most important civic obligations, and are granted privileges and perquisites beyond the individual.   Under a statism that claims the definition of all value as its prerogative, some are more equal than others, and justice is by definition at the discretion of the State.

Not to belabor the point, but as an aside this is why Alan Greenspan said that all Statists react to gold with an almost hysterical antagonism. Gold, having no counterparty risk, has been historically regarded as a natural and independent measure of economic value and store of wealth.