The most deadly terrorist attack on US soil since 9/11 occurred on 2 December 2015, leaving 14 dead and 22 injured. Both shooters were killed a few hours later. Among the evidence was an Apple iPhone. One of the primary selling features of the iPhone is its robust security protocol. The recovered phone uses a four-digit key to protect access. While it may seem a trivial exercise to set up a program to run through the 10,000 possible combinations, the iPhone encryption protocol makes it increasingly difficult to access the phone with each wrong entry. The US federal government finds this inconvenient, so earlier this year a federal judge ordered Apple to open the phone.
In a frightening and chilling indication of how far Americans have fallen from their roots, a majority of people, from all points of the political spectrum, seem to think that government should have access to their phones. True to form, Dear Leader is throwing gas on the fire. Speaking at the SXSW festival, Dictator Wannabe Obama had this to say:
“It’s festishizing our phones above every other value,’ he said. ‘And that can’t be the right answer.”
Following the Obama playbook, he first insults the people he’s supposed to be leading, then chastises them for not toeing the government line. Because, you know, any time government is thwarted, ‘that can’t be the right answer.’ But he’s not done yet:
‘If [the government] can’t get in, then everyone is walking around with a Swiss bank account in their pocket.’
And that’s a problem? He does mention the use of warrants, but his Administration’s actions, particularly those of the NSA, demonstrate that the Fourth Amendment is something to be brushed aside like so much tissue paper.
‘We agree on that because we recognize that just like all of our other rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion…there are going to be some constrains imposed to ensure we are safe.’
‘This notion that somehow data is different and can be walled off from those other trade-offs we make, I believe, is incorrect,’ he said.
This is classic misdirection. There are very few restrictions on speech and religion in this country. You can’t yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theatre, and human sacrifice is proscribed, but people are pretty much free to speak and worship as they see fit. The misdirection is that American freedoms as codified in the first ten Constitutional Amendments are designed specifically to protect individual liberty and privacy, while the Great Man is advocating an active invasion of privacy and serious curtailment of liberty.
One of the bedrock principles of a free society is the right of individuals to be secure in their persons: that there is an expectation of privacy. Without privacy, there is no freedom. The protections afforded American privacy have been seriously eroded in a series of misbegotten laws the past fifteen years, and with it our freedoms.
What the Left fails to understand is that law enforcement should be difficult. In a free society, the ability of the State to persecute and prosecute individuals should be as hard as reasonably possible. In this case, the phone isn’t even being used to prosecute the offenders: they’re dead. This is a government fishing expedition. But the Left cares not for the rule of law, instead preferring the chimera of the personality cult and a worldview with no basis in reality.
Those advocating that Apple be compelled to open this one phone are not thinking the situation through. If Apple, or any other entity, is forced to compromise individual security, then there is no privacy, and no freedom. Do those advocating for the government really want their lives opened to people nakedly advocating persecution of those with whom they disagree? Some things aren’t worth the price, and trading the nebulous promise of enhanced personal security for the certainty of loss of privacy and freedom is such a choice.
The Decline of the American Press
I’ve noticed the last several years that when someone links to source material critical of, or even reporting the actions of the US government and officials, quite often those links go to British newspapers. I’ve also noticed that the local fishwrap doesn’t seem to do a lot of reporting on current federal government machinations. While the local paper doesn’t pretend to be a national paper like The New York Times or Boston Globe, Washington DC may as well be behind a news shield for all the information conveyed. It seems that to find out what our own government is doing, we have to look to offshore sources.
Oregon’s Governor recently signed into law a measure that will raise the minimum wage to $14.75 in Portland, and $13.50 and $12.50 in other areas of the state over the next six years. On 13 March, the Oregonian reported on the impact this will have on student employment at state colleges and universities. The expectation is that student jobs will be cut, while the cost of higher education will increase. This shocking development wasn’t foreseen by anyone. Well, anyone except people who understand how the world works. That category doesn’t usually include college students. The probability approaches unity that every single college student supported this measure. Now, they’re going to get a first-hand look at practical economics.
I expect that rather than realize that a childish worldview is incompatible with reality, college students will agitate for a freeze on tuition, increased student loans, and demands that student employment levels not be cut. There will be demonstrations. Legislators, not wanting to appear anti-education, are going to try to find additional money, and that will likely come from increased taxes. This will diminish earning power, so there will be calls for an increase in the minimum wage. And so the economic death spiral continues.