On radio this morning, Glenn spoke with Judge Andrew Napolitano about his new book, Theodore to Woodrow: How Two American Presidents Destroyed Constitutional Freedom. In keeping with the theme, Glenn also asked the Judge for his thoughts on the Supreme Court rulings and the NSA scandal.
“This is just the end phase of the fundamental transformation of America, and we are transforming into a country that none of us, you know, want to necessarily build,” Glenn said. “We are turning into a country that all men should fear. Would you agree with that?”
“In general I stand with one of your and my favorite American heroes, even though he wasn’t born in the United States, Thomas Paine, who said it is the duty of the patriot to protect his countrymen from the government,” Judge Napolitano responded. “Because there is no greater force for the destruction of freedom in this country than the government combined with the compliance of people who accept what the government says and who comply with what the government commands and believe it is telling the truth.”
Between the IRS and NSA, the government has the ability to catalogue and store all of our records. They have control over almost everything.
“You go across the street to buy an ice cream cone and they know you ordered vanilla. You run your dishwasher with only half the dishes in… they know it. You warm up a bowl of tomato soup in your microwave and they know it. You talk to your spouse on the phone and they know it, and they know what you said and they know… when she called you and where you were when you took the call,” Judge Napolitano explained.
People often use the argument that it doesn’t matter whether or not the government is listening to phone calls or reading emails because if you aren’t doing anything wrong, what difference does it make. The Judge explained, much like Glenn has, that allowing for the erosion of our right to privacy is a slippery slope.
“The difference that it should make to everyone is the value of personal dignity and personal liberty in a free society,” Judge Napolitano said. “Human beings do not achieve our full actualization, our full capacity as thinking‑free, loving preachers of God when we are watched and monitored because the next step after ‘watched and monitored’ is a permission slip… We have achieved universal watching and monitoring. Whatever you think of this kid Snowden, wherever he goes, whoever he’s spilling the beans to, in my opinion, his post‑spilling the beans behavior does not diminish one iota the patriotic heroism of the initial spilling the beans… We now know for sure that they are monitoring our every move.”
In a post-September 11th world, all Americans understand the need for intelligence as it applies to national security. But in an attempt to maintain security, we have forfeited our liberty. “Where does the government get that authority under the Constitution,” Judges Napolitano asked. “And whatever happened to the Fourth Amendment, which was written to prevent the government from doing that very type of thing?”
To close, Pat asked the Judge how he felt about the SCOTUS decisions today. “As a libertarian I would suspect that maybe you’re okay with the overturning with the Defense of Marriage Act,” Pat asked.
“As a libertarian I am. As a libertarian this is not a matter of marriage equality. Forget about equality. It’s a matter of marriage neutrality. It’s none of the government’s business who I want,” Judge Napolitano said. “As a Roman Catholic, as a pre‑Vatican traditionalist Roman Catholic, I am governed by the laws of the church, and marriage is a sacrament. But that’s the laws of the church, not the laws of the land. And we still have separation of church and state.”