Government snooping infringes on liberties

To the editor:

In February 1775 Benjamin Franklin wrote, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

The Fourth Amendment in the Bill of Rights states, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

These two pieces of information deserve serious consideration in the debate around the National Security Agency leaks of wiretaps and the Internet surveillance system PRISM. This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue in that the foundation and first policies that led to this were put in place by Republican George W. Bush and then continued and expanded by Democrat Barrack Obama. Regardless of political party, you personally must ask yourself whether these polices are good and just. Is it right that your own government using secret generic warrants takes everything you do digitally and records and stores it? Who knows what else the government will do with it. Is it right that your life is now becoming a mirror image of life in the former Soviet Union where they watched and tracked everything people did?

I say no, it isn’t right! America is a land of liberty — a place of freedom to worship your God, speak your mind, protect yourself with arms and live under a minimal government. The Constitution does not give us rights. Instead, it recognizes the rights God gave to us. This is what makes America different from all other nations. I urge you to read the Constitution and Thomas Paine’s Common Sense before July 4 and engage yourself at some level in the debate around liberty versus security revealed by the NSA leaks. Then pick up your phone and give Rep. Larry Bucshon, Sen. Dan Coats and Sen. Joe Donnelly a call; in the two minutes you are on the phone, express your thoughts about what kind of country we should be. I hope you side with liberty.

—Adrian Engelberth

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