While you were celebrating Christmas and New Years our wonderful Regional Police Force were busy violating the rights of over 10,000 of our fellow citizens with the annual Holiday R.I.D.E. (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) blitz while only 41 were actually forced to give breath samples and only 3 were over the legal limit. 0.0003%.
No doubt people will say, “You see, it’s working.” Sure it is. If you turn your country into a police state you can have the safest country on the planet. All you have to do is give up your rights.
What rights you ask? The right not to be pulled over without just cause. The right to be presumed innocent. The right to not incriminate yourself. Is that enough for you?
But people were dying because of drunk drivers so we had to do something to stop the destruction of peoples lives. So goes the argument. The problem is that the constitution is there as a hedge around the government to keep it from oppressing the people. As a Supreme Court Justice once said, “The only thing needed to ensure the freedom of the people is to shackle the government.”
Unfortunately people are painfully naive when it comes to government. They assume that because a government has been benign in the past that it will always remain so. But government is made of people and I’m sure you’ve heard the adage Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The constitution is there to limit the power of government and thereby limit the chances for corruption.Once we start allowing exceptions we open the door to more exceptions until pretty soon we no longer have the freedoms that we once enjoyed and by doing so we give away the freedoms of our children and freedoms given away are not easily regained.
Benjamin Franklin once remarked, “Anyone who is willing to give up a little freedom for a little security does not deserve either freedom or security.” Freedom is not cheap. I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who proclaimed, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” However the source of the problem lies with a people who have grown weary of the struggle. Jefferson also said, “lethargy is the forerunner of death to the public liberty.”
Free speech is the cornerstone on which all other freedoms exist and yet in countries like Great Britain they are prosecuting free speech because it is offensive. In North America we are using hate laws to stifle free speech. These are tactics that all tyrannies use to oppress their people. Communist Russia used them to great effect. John F. Kennedy once said about free speech, “If we make peaceful revolution impossible then we make violent revolution inevitable.”
We have become fat, lazy and indifferent. What is at stake here is much more than just being inconvenienced at the side of the road. It’s an abdication of our responsibility to our children and grandchildren to leave behind the same freedoms that we have enjoyed.
As for the R.I.D.E. program, I stand in good company since my opinion happens to be in line with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada who wrote the dissenting opinion in the challenge that came before the bench. Unfortunately the majority thought that such a “grievous violation of personal liberty” was warranted because of the actions of a few.
So acting out of, no doubt well meaning but, misguided intentions, we dealt what may prove to be a mortal blow to the document that prevents the government from overstepping it’s bounds and subjugating the people instead of serving them.
But don’t worry. After they stop you they give you a book of coupons.
The freedoms of the many outweigh the deeds of a few.