This selection is taken from chapter 10 of A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Ron Paul, available in both print and ebook editions at the Mises Store.
Privacy is the essence of liberty. Without it, individual rights cannot exist. Privacy and property are interlocked. If both were protected, little would need to be said about other civil liberties. If one’s home, church or business is one’s castle, and the privacy of one’s person, papers and effects are rigidly protected, all rights desired in a free society will be guaranteed. Diligently protecting the right to privacy and property guarantees religious, journalistic and political experience, as well as a free market economy and sound money. Once a careless attitude emerges with respect to privacy, all other rights are jeopardized.
Today we find a systematic and pervasive attack on the privacy of American citizens, which undermines the principle of private property ownership. Understanding why the attack on privacy is rapidly expanding and recognizing a need to reverse this trend are necessary if our Republic is to survive.
Lack of respect for the privacy and property of the American colonists by the British throne was a powerful motivation for the American Revolution and resulted in the strongly-worded and crystal-clear Fourth Amendment. Emphatically, searches and seizures are prohibited except when warrants are issued upon probable cause supported by oath or affirmation, with details given as to place, person and things to be seized. This is a far cry from the routine seizure by the federal government and forfeiture of property which occurs today. Our papers are no longer considered personal and their confidentiality has been eliminated. Private property is searched by federal agents without announcement. Huge fines are levied when federal regulations appear to have been violated, and proof of innocence is demanded if one chooses to fight the abuse in court and avoid the heavy fines.