The Fourth Amendment—Private Property Rights Redux

“That the house of every one is to him as his Castle and Fortress as well for defence against injury and violence, as for his repose;…” – Sir Edward Coke (1604)

Greetings my fellow Americans!

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Any uncertainty in the allusion to the import of private property rights, in the Third Amendment which I recently unpacked, should be alleviated with this Fourth.  Further, this is yet another example of explicit and discrete prohibitions placed on the behavior of government (“shall not be violated”).

As I’ve at least implied before, though I understand why we refer to the first ten amendments to our national Constitution as the “Bill of Rights,” I would much prefer “Bill of Restrictions and Limitations on Government,” or some such nomenclature, to better indicate the true intent.  “Bill of Rights,” much too sadly, implies that government is bestowing said rights on the people, further suggesting that government alone is endowed with the power of revocation, when a read of our Declaration of Independence clearly explicates that such authority solely rests with our Creator.

The American Heritage Dictionary offers three definitions of secure:

  • Free from danger or attack.
  • Free from risk of loss; safe.
  • Free from the risk of being intercepted or listened to by unauthorized persons.

Any, and all, of these seem most appropriate for the intent of this amendment.  Furthermore, for any “searches and seizures” to be considered not in direct violation of this prohibition, the burden was supposed to be on the government to prove reasonability and “probable cause,” and “supported by Oath or affirmation.”

Then, the latter caveat begs a larger and much more sweeping question of what an oath is within the auspices of a government which has completely stricken the notion of a being, greater and more powerful than Man, responsible for endowing said creature with unalienable rights.  Again, from the American Heritage Dictionary:

Oath – A solemn, formal declaration or promise to fulfill a pledge, often calling on God, a god, or a sacred object as witness.

Last I checked, all publicly-elected (and many appointed) officials are still required to be “sworn in,” i.e., to pledge to fulfill, “so help me God.”  To what, and whom, are they actually committing, and what do they consider to be the consequences of failing to keep said promises, “so help me God?”

What does this have to do with private property rights, you say?  It has everything to do with these!  Frankly, the language in this Amendment speaks directly to an indictment of a culture increasingly bereft of faith, piety, and recognition of anything greater than itself, and a totally groundless expectation that a government invested with power and authority over others, and infested with people who have no moral boundaries or scruples rooted in fear of retribution from a Being or agency more powerful than themselves, will restrain itself based on anything “supported by Oath or affirmation.”

We are doomed as a nation if we can no longer rely on the moral safeguards such as those inherently relied upon in this Fourth Amendment.  There is nothing otherwise stopping those with the power, and the lack of moral and ethical boundaries, from making a shambles and mockery of our Constitution, and our very society and civilization.  You have no individual and private rights to anything as far as they are truly concerned.


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