Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Democracy in Trouble: Part II, Our Rights

Part I, The Economy | Part II, Our Rights | Part III, How Can We Fix It

After September 11, 2001 governments around the world have begun to chisel away our rights. It is now okay to imprison non-citizens indefinitely without trial - something that has only happened rarely in the recent past and only at moments of great crisis.

Recent revelations by Edward Snowden have shown that government organisations frequently break the law - even extending to spying on their own citizens. Assassination has become an accepted tool. Those in power in the US have shown complete disregard for their own laws and Constitution. The reason this is a worry for us is because wherever the US goes the world follows.

Our leaders repeatedly making very stupid decisions and not respecting our laws is what has caused us to despise them so much. Many people are apathetic about the democratic process. If we let our governments continue to get away with removing our rights we will end up back where we started with our leaders having absolute authority and the average person having no rights at all.

The fight back has started with some state governments in the US issuing new laws to defend the fourth amendment that protects US citizens from unwarranted search or seizure. Countries like Australia need to introduce similar legislation to protect us from the acquisition of personal data by our own government and others. We should also refuse to cooperate with other countries infringing our citizen’s rights.

Governments use terms like natural security, patriotism and betrayal to guilt us into letting them continue business as usual. People like Edward Snowden are not the traitors that we have been told they are. They are risking their very lives to protect the values that they believe in.

There are parallels in history where free societies have gradually turned rotten. The Roman Empire for its time it was a relatively free and prosperous society where Roman citizens had certain rights. Over time the Rome went from being a republic with a democratically elected Senate, to an absolute dictatorship where the Emperor was basically a god. Criticism of the Emperor meant certain death. The Empire eventually shattered, crumbled and disappeared from history.

Governments are now able to kill who they want, imprison who they want and listen to the conversations of who they want. Should anyone have this much power? You just wait until someone truly rotten makes it into the White House.

We will either lose all of our rights and Snowden will be remembered as a traitor, or we can fight to save our rights and he will be remembered as the hero he is. Continued...Part III, How Can We Fix It

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