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WHAT ABOUT OUR PRIVATE LIFE?
By Gary M. Shoemaker
Posted August 30, 1998

During the President's recent sex-scandal "apology" speech, he stated that he wanted his "private life" back. He also expressed his outrage that the special prosecutor has turned his private life into a public one.

At one time in this nation, people actually did have private lives. In the last century there was a clear distinction between "public" and "private". A person's home was considered sanctuary, businesses were private property and communities only regulated offensive "public" behaviors. Peaceful private behavior was mostly free from government scrutiny because peaceful behavior was considered no one's business, especially not the government's business.

This is no longer the case. As private citizens, we are subject to roving wiretaps on our phone lines. Government bureaucrats may read our mail and email. The IRS monitors our incomes and expenditures. Legions of social workers interfere with family matters. Edu-crats indoctrinate our children contrary to our values. And employers are required by law to report on the private lives of their employees.

We once had a system that was based upon individual liberty. We now have one that can only be described as a budding Orwellian State. Not quite Big Brother, this Nanny State promises prosperity and security at the expense of our freedom and our privacy. It has been an unfulfilled promise.

The irony of Bill Clinton's plea for privacy is that he now wants what his bankrupt Nanny State ideology and its bi-partisan practitioners have taken away from us. He wants privacy from government scrutiny at a time when his administration has embarked on a massive government intrusion into our personal lives. Clinton bristles at HIS private "consensual" activities being opened to public view while his administration dreams up ever more ways to catalog, collate and spindle the most private aspects of OUR lives.

One has to wonder if President Clinton understands the term "equal justice under the law". If "It Takes a Village" for us, why does the President and Mrs. Clinton feel that they should be above the prying eyes of the state that they have helped create? If our children belong to "society" and are a "national resource", why should Chelsea's privacy carry anymore weight than any other child's privacy? If even businesses are now considered public property, why should the public Oval Office be treated as if it has the status of what was once called private property? We have to re-establish "privacy" and the meaning of "private" in the lives of all Americans. If Clinton is above the law, it is a law perverted.

Even as I write this, the President and Congress, in "bi-partisan" harmony, are promoting legislation that violates the personal privacy that is supposedly guaranteed to all Americans by the Bill of Rights. Do you want a National ID number? Do you want your email cataloged and parsed for political correctness? Do you want your medical history accessible to the prying eyes of any bureaucrat? Do you want the government to censor what you can view on the Internet or on TV? Do you want government agencies tracking you via your cell phone calls? Do you want your name on a federal list of American gun owners? I don't know anyone that wants these new laws.

When it comes to Bill Clinton's privacy, he adopts libertarian rhetoric in a cynical attempt to manipulate public outrage against an insatiable privacy invading federal government. He protests when it intrudes into HIS life and demands that the Nanny-State that he promotes and fosters now leave him alone. What the President seems to miss, is that libertarianism is about justice and freedom for all, not just for a few elite at the top of the political heap.

If it weren't for such hypocrisy, a little sympathy might be in order. Let the President strip the powers over our lives that his beloved Nanny-State has granted to the HHS, the DoE, the CIA, the INS, the FBI, the BATF, the EPA and the NSA. Let him veto the various pending bills that will turn SS numbers into a national ID tracking numbers. Let him revoke his executive order on federalism that bypasses our state governments and our individual rights. Let him ask Congress to repeal the laws that allow government agents to confiscate our private property without due process of law. Let him send those D.C. fed and bred edu-crats back to academia so we can regain parental control of our children's education. Let him return our financial privacy and freedom by helping to repeal the XVIth amendment and abolishing the most hated federal agency, the IRS. And most important of all, let him figure out how to cut federal expenditures by 45% so there is a balanced budget after the income tax is eliminated.

If you agree with me, write your Congressperson and the President to tell them that we are ready to make a deal: President (or ex-President) Bill Clinton can have his privacy back, but only if we can have ours returned too. Better yet, send Congress and the President a real message. Send me, a real libertarian, to Congress and I will personally hand deliver our message that WE want freedom and privacy returned to ALL Americans and we want it now.

Gary M. Shoemaker


Gary Shoemaker is the Libertarian Party candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania's 19th district. He is running in a Republican-dominated district against moderate 24-year incumbent Bill Goodling.

The author would like to acknowledge that his inspiration for this article came from "Private life?," written by Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. Shoemaker's article was published as an Op-Ed piece in Shoemaker's hometown newspaper and is an example of how LP candidates can combine current events and libertarian perspectives to advance the cause of freedom at the grassroots level. Neither Rockwell nor the Mises Institute have endorsed or are in any way involved in the author's candidacy.

See Gary Shoemaker's work at Liberty Journal and read about his candidacy at Shoemaker 98.

1998 Gary M. Shoemaker. This article may be reprinted for non-commercial purposes, as long as it is reprinted in full with no content changes whatsoever, and is accompanied by this credit line. The article may not be re-titled, edited or excerpted (beyond the limits of the fair use doctrine) without the written permission of the author. For-profit publications will be expected to pay a nominal reprint fee.

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30 August, 1998