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Constitutional Right To Privacy And The Us Patriot Act

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Privacy Essay

Privacy. What do you think the average American would say if you told them they have no Constitutional Right to Privacy, as privacy is never mentioned anywhere in the Constitution? That the information they share over the World Wide Web has little if any protection by or from the government. Of course our government is hard at work to modernize the form of weeding out the unsanitary to which some cenacles might call censorship. But the main question still stands, do we have a right to privacy and is the government violating our natural freedoms, or do we need someone to monitor the actions of our society to keep order. The question is as old as government; to what extent should the government influence our lives. When you get down to it, privacy is the protection from influence, privacy is freedom, and in the following argument, influence will be wielded as a powerful epitome.

Freedom. To have the ultimate freedom is what many past and modern philosophers call the State of Nature. In this state we are completely alone, and therefore have the will to do as we please, in a sense the ultimate freedom. Under this freedom John Locke says we have three unalienable rights that cannot be taken away by a just man, these include life, liberty, and property. Life is of coarse our ability to survive, and in the State of Nature survival is base upon our own will. Liberty is our ability to make decisions for ourselves, and when living unopposed by any other cognizant being, we live

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for ourselves only, this being our only motive. Property is more of a metaphorical right; property stands for basically our right to distribute the fruits of our labor as we please. As an example, imagine that a farmer exists out in the woods alone and farms and cultivates his crop; as a right, he has the power to do with as he wishes the fruits of his labor, this is the right to property. Thomas Jefferson, the primary writer of the Declaration of Independence, later changed the "right to property" to the "right to pursue happiness". This change instead assumed that any property held by an individual is for the overall purpose of promoting one's happiness.

Although the State of Nature has and still is a hot political sciences debate, in a realistic sense it is completely hypothetical. This is because the State of Nature is unattainable by any modern man under reasonable circumstances. One reason has to do with the modern era we live in. We train under a specialized criteria as to promote our entire society's well being. This entails the Greek sense of Virtue, in which a farmer farms and a computer programmer programs computers. If one were to depart from this social structure, than they will make heavy sacrifices in many basic areas taken for granted such as food and shelter. If an accountant were to go into the woods for a month with nothing except a knife, he would have very little chance of success. The second reason why the State of Nature is unattainable is that humans are naturally social creatures. Just like all other primates, humans depend on the basic roles set by family with clear dominant and repressive characters. It has been scientifically accepted that highly developed brains found in primates if isolated from social contact, will in time

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become retarded and degenerate. So we are undoubtedly dependent

on our relationships with other competent individuals.

The family is another form of social structure from what many believe we have developed our expectation for government. Many scientists consider the family to be a degenerate form of government where the participants are small in number and easily controlled. So government arises from our expectations of family. So when in a family setting, what protections do children have from their parents? Well of coarse in our family morals we believe that children should not be abused or put in unnecessary danger, just as our government should to us. We also believe that children should not be forced to labor, as today in the US slavery is nonexistent. But how much privacy should a child be given? This is a very debatable topic and many parents have different grounds for the extent of their child's privacy. Some children are monitored by their parents, correcting every mistake and punishing every misjudgment. Other parents promote more of a free spirit and trust, to teach their child independence and develop experiences. Two are differing theories of parenting and both are different theories of government. One assumes that humans are naturally reasonable creatures and the other that humans are naturally emotionally driven and unreliable. So the question then goes to nature or nurture, and are humans reasonable or erratic? So we assume that man is a combination of both good and evil, and in doing so we assume that some level of privacy is in order but also the government must control those who diverge from the law. The question then

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arises, to what degree should citizens be left to themselves and what degree should they be monitored?

The two extrema of this argument include the State of Nature, which has been previously described, and what is also known as the Big Brother structure. The idea that if man were molded to be perfect from birth, they would in turn live perfect lives is an idea that has been philosophized, debated, and dreamed of for generations of intellectuals. In almost every theorized Utopia, there has been a certain level of censorship. Censorship in these hypothetical societies exists on the theory that if man where to see and hear no evil, than in turn he would speak none. One of these Utopias was created in Plato's The Republic. In this book he would describe the education of the children as to promote healthy behavior by stating, " 'Shall we therefore readily allow our children to listen to any stories made up by anyone, and to form opinions that are for the most part the opposite of those we think they should have when they grow up?' 'We certainly shall not.' 'Then it seems that our first business is to supervise the production of stories, and choose only those we think suitable, and reject the rest. We shall persuade mothers and nurses to tell our chosen stories to their children and by means of them to mould their minds and characters..." (Plato). Although censorship in the past has been away for elitists to control the action before the thought, and have usually been well intended, it assumes that the current world view to be infallible and as we have seen in the past and suppose in the future,



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