The Right to Be Left Alone
Every move you make
And every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
I’ll be watching you.
— “Every Breath You Take,” Song by The Police
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to privacy. Like other amendments in the Bill of Rights, it doesn’t create the right; it limits government interference with it. Last week, President Joe Biden misquoted the late Justice Antonin Scalia suggesting that Justice Scalia believed that the Bill of Rights creates rights. As Justice Scalia wrote, referring to the right to keep and bear arms but reflecting his view on the origins of all personal liberty, the Bill of Rights secures rights, it doesn’t create them; it secures them from the government.
Those who drafted the Bill of Rights recognized that human rights are pre-political. They precede the existence of the government. They come from our humanity, and, in the case of privacy, they are reinforced by our ownership or legal occupancy of property.
The idea that rights come from our humanity is called Natural Law theory, which was first articulated by Aristotle in 360 B.C. The natural law teaches that there are aspects of human existence and thus areas of human behavior that are not subject to the government. Aristotle’s views would later be refined by Cicero, codified by Aquinas, explained by John Locke, and woven into Anglo-American jurisprudence by British jurists and American revolutionaries and constitutional framers.
Thus, our rights to think as we wish, to say what we think, to publish what we say, to worship or not,
Article from LewRockwell