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Wendy McElroy: Recent court decisions show privacy rights under attack

Wendy McElroy: Recent court decisions show privacy rights under attack
Wendy McElroy: Recent court decisions show privacy rights under attack

[From The Lighthouse, published by the Independent Institute. What's 
worth noting is that Planned Parenthood's privacy woes came from 
accepting taxpayer dollars funneled through the apparatus of the federal 
government. --Declan]


Recent trials involving Planned Parenthood, rape, and domestic violence 
suggest that courts are attacking privacy rights -- a trend that 
directly challenges the legal presumption of innocence, according to 
Research Fellow Wendy McElroy, editor of LIBERTY FOR WOMEN: Freedom and 
Feminism in the Twenty-First Century.

"Privacy rests on the assumption that -- in the absence of specific 
evidence of wrongdoing -- an individual has a right to shut his or her 
front door and tell other people (including government) to mind their 
own business," writes McElroy in a new op-ed. "This is a presumption of 
innocence. Privacy also assumes an important division between the 
personal and public spheres, a division that is reflected in 
Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. 
Historically, privacy has stood as a bulwark between individual rights 
and social control."

McElroy identifies three factors that have contributed to recent 
erosions of privacy rights. First, the legal status of many hot-button 
issues is increasingly decided by judges rather than by legislatures 
alone, and "judicial decisions have become a form of de facto law." 
Second, since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, pressures have increased to 
trade rights for security. Third, society may be nearing a tipping point 
regarding views on privacy related to abortion, rape, and domestic violence.

McElroy cautions those eager to sacrifice privacy for greater 
transparency: "Those who push to strip away the traditional protections 
of privacy may be trashing a prerequisite of personal freedom. And, 
without freedom, there is no security for individuals?either in court or 
in society."

See "Privacy: Throwing Babies Out with Bath Water," by Wendy McElroy 
"La Privacidad: No Arrojen a los Beb=E9s Junto con el Agua de la Ba=F1era" 

To purchase LIBERTY FOR WOMEN: Freedom and Feminism in the Twenty-First 
Century, ed. by Wendy McElroy, see 



If the recent change in White House rhetoric is any indication, the Bush 
administration's Global War on Terrorism (GWOT, in policy circles) may 
soon give way to an even more ambitious military campaign -- what might 
be called the War against Violent Extremism (WAVE), explains Ivan Eland, 
senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at the 
Independent Institute.

"In Washington, changes in surface rhetoric often signal transformation 
in underlying policy," writes Eland in his latest op-ed. "Instead of 
concentrating its efforts to capture or kill the leadership of al Qaeda, 
the terrorist group that actually attacked the United States, the 
administration came up with the broader GWOT catchphrase so that an 
invasion of Iraq could fit under its umbrella. Who knows what additional 
administration monkey business will be perpetrated under the cover of 
the even wider WAVE. The target of any U.S. military operation wouldn't 
even need to kill innocent civilians or have alleged affiliations with 
those who do, such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq. If you think the GWOT 
opened a can of worms, just think of the possibilities under the WAVE."

Eland warns that the WAVE could unleash a virtual anti-U.S. tsunami 
"because the WAVE crusades against an even wider definition of 
international 'misbehavior' than does the Global War on Terrorism.

"For example, although the socialist governments of Cuba and Venezuela 
are not active supporters of international terrorists, could they become 
U.S. targets because of their affinity for the violent Marxist 
extremists in Colombia?  Any such military strikes would engender even 
more anti-U.S. hatred than already exists in Latin America."

"Past U.S. presidents have resorted to military interventions overseas 
when their domestic popularity and agendas sagged," Eland continues. 
"President Bush invaded Iraq even when his poll numbers were higher than 
they are now.  Given current approval ratings in the 40s and sinking and 
declining support for his domestic policies, the president could get 
into even more mischief overseas. Using the war against violent 
extremism and increased funding for public diplomacy to market such 
meddling may be in the offing. You may be able to catch the WAVE on TV, 
radio and in your local newspaper soon."

See "A Make-Over to Disguise Ugly U.S. Policy," by Ivan Eland (6/13/05) 
"Una Transformaci=F3n a Fin de Disimular la Fea Pol=EDtica Estadounidense" 

To purchase THE EMPIRE HAS NO CLOTHES: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed, by 
Ivan Eland, see 

Eland, see 

"The Way Out of Iraq: Decentralizing the Iraqi Government," by Ivan Eland 

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