Monday, March 27, 2006
'Give me Liberty or Anarchy (so called) by way of the Fourth Amendment (in practice)'
The Virginian Patrick Henry was never so specific. In understanding a sacred text, it is sometimes useful to abstract the axioms and consider how they effect the defined set. One thing that I have seen in terms of significant social changes that was not considered in a government course or discussion is that the right 'for people to be secure in their persons.. against unreasonable searches and seizures' (the Fourth Amendment to our Constitution) has really had the effect of trumping or at least mitigating attempts at governmental controls on behavior. It is perhaps an unacknowledged balance in the 'checks and balances' of our government. No one can remember when any intoxicant was legal, except alcohol, but Ricky Williams can never seem to pass an NFL urine drug screen. Similarly with the 'migrants,' as they are termed in Spanish in Catholic prayers. Can you imagine a police vehicle going 'hooahh, Hooahh' like the Gestapo cars in an old movie, followed by doors crashing and people yelling, 'No somos criminales!' No what happens instead is that they can't file a small claims suit for wages or a contract because they have to have a driver's license, papers, to file the suit. (The 'migrants' are not 'home free.') Perhaps we could unpretzel ourselves slightly were we to allow them to be what they have as an identity for themselves, 'migrants,' and not answer an unasked question re: their immigrant status. Under the protection of the Fourth Amenment, a growing divergence from official policy presents political issues that are not really solvable by the right citizens saying essentially 'I never agreed to this (illegal but de facto permitted by the Fourth Amendment) situation so change it all back.' The Fourth amendment has had the effect, even during 'back alley abortions,' of allowing minorities of people to create facts on the ground independent of the intransigence of the King or, in the view of the nonrespondent, a 'tyranny of the majority.' To refer to my previous post and derivative of the idea of 'tryanny,' these transgressions tend to happen when people do not find nurturing and empathy in the legally allowed situation. Glenn Reynolds brought up this brouhaha.