Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Uncomfortable Liberty

Saw the following in the CNN article on Spitzer's resignation today:

"Sources said a federal money-laundering investigation led agents to Spitzer. According to two sources, Spitzer hit the federal radar when a bank reported to the Internal Revenue Service that a significant amount of money had been suspiciously transferred from one account to another."

I know I'm the only odd duck in the world that finds our national lack of concern about constant warrantless surveillance of financial transactions to be more of a concern than warrantless surveillance of international phone calls to the numbers of suspected terrorists. I understand the truth of my odd position, and of course I have some ideas as to why that might be, but I'd STRONGLY suggest that the vast majority of us are more "at risk" of some sort of Government intervention in our lives due to dollar transfers than we are due to having the Feds listen in on our call to Osama Inc..

My suspicion is that the largest reason for the outcry on the phone surveillance is that "Bush did it" and the lack of interest in the financial surveillance is that "we need that to help soak the rich on taxes". Since the left and MSM has no principles or need of consistency, this seems to work fine to them. One would think that unfettered access to hookers is one of those "rights" that Democrats would hold dear, but apparently Spitzer was too prudish for the left to want to defend.

The Spitzer case shows us again that the Government is watching all our financial activity-even account transfers down to a fairly low level. I certainly have no love for the EX-Democratic Governor of NY, nor for high priced hookers -- BUT, if this "bust" had been the result of a Bush administration wiretap, might not we hear some outcry? Spitzer had made a lot of enemies on the right AND the left, so nobody is standing up to defend him, and of course it is VERY hard to do so -- a family man that is Governor of a state hiring very expensive hookers is just pretty hard to defend.

That is the hard part about real liberty-it allows citizens to use it to do right and WRONG. The principles that the country were built on are intended to CERTAINLY protect against INDISCRIMINATE warrantless surveillance of the sort that seems to have caught Eliot Spitzer. Since I believe that "consistency IS an issue", I'm forced to conclude that he ought not be prosecuted at all. There is NO REASON for the government to have the power to violate his right of privacy here! This is exactly the kind of abuse of government power that the left likes to allege has been made by the Bush Administration in listening in on calls to suspected terrorist international numbers. I'd argue there is a clear difference, and the lack of concern over what has been done to Sptizer shows that the outcry against Bush on this front is due only to partisanship, not to real concern over the infringement of individual liberties.

Putting the principle of individual liberty at a higher level than personalities and politics means that a guy like me has to defend the rights of an Eliot Spitzer, since the cost of loss of liberty to us all is MUCH greater than the cost of not being able to catch Spitzer. I agree that the question needs to be ASKED relative to listening on international terrorist numbers, but were our country to return to an era of rational discourse vs uninformed generally left-leaning bickering, we would see that our rights have already been trampled in the financial realm, and no matter how much the lefties might be willing to give up some of their financial liberty to see it used against "the evil rich", we fail to recognize the loss of liberty that snares our "enemy" at our own peril.

Today they get someone using questionable methods that we happen to be OK with them getting -- when those methods are used against us, we have already surrendered the high ground.

No comments:

Post a Comment