For an honest, hard working citizen, nothing is more frustrating than to sit in ones own home, or drive in ones own auto, and realize that throughout this great Nation there are many who, unbeknownst to our duly sworn agents of law enforcement, are committing various crimes against the Laws of the Various States.
No honest, hard working citizen can dispute that criminal activities of any and all natures are an embarrassing blight upon our great Nation, a symptom of a vile minority who take no pride or respect in the fact that they are both sheltered and succored by the greatest democracy known to human history. It is the obligation, nay, duty, of the portion of the population that remains both honest and hard working to devise a method by which the criminal portions of the populace may be reigned in and deprived of the fruits of their depravity.
The chief obstacle to devising such a method has always been, in the eyes of many, the machinations of certain small portions of our founding document, our Constitution. All can agree that most sections of that most prestigious document are of a great boon to society, and provide a needed framework for an orderly, independent population to exercise their various freedoms in a responsible manner. But all can also agree that certain portions may have, perhaps, outlived their usefulness, and at a minimum must be reevaluated in light of the grave dangers of criminality that continually plague our great Nation.
The question that needs to be answered is as such: how can we ensure that our duly sworn agents of law enforcement can efficiently and effectively root out these criminal elements, with due regard for the privacy interests of our honest and hard working citizens? Despite pondering this predicament for many years, the solution continually evaded me until very recently, when the answer was cleanly presented by pronouncement of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Previous to this pronouncement, a duly sworn agent of law enforcement could not execute a search of a person or place before first obtaining the approval of a neutral magistrate, who would issue a so-called "warrant" only upon probable cause of criminal wrongdoing. This is a most inefficient process, requiring not only the presentation of facts, but the relative inability to properly root out crime as quickly as possible, and therefore poses quite the complicated problem to a society infested with criminals.
Now, however, I do believe the inefficiencies of this process have been eliminated, with a solution both elegant in nature and simple in execution. For it is well known that duly sworn law enforcement agents need not obtain the previously described "warrant" in certain situations, the chief of which is the free and voluntary consent of the person to be subjected to said search. Now, it is rare indeed for the criminal element of our society to volunteer evidence against themselves, and previous, less-enlightened courts have concluded that while physical threats and enhanced interrogation techniques that result in a subjects consent may be effective, they do not provide the requisite free and voluntary flavor of consent that is apparently required by those previously mentioned, fringe portions of our Constitution.
However, I am assured by our Highest Court that no physical means of persuasion are necessary in order to convince the criminal element to consent to efficient and effective warrantless searches. Instead, our duly elected and sworn Legislature need only create new crimes, new offenses, that will serve the dual purpose of further educating the public regarding their position vis a vis law enforcement, and simultaneously ensure strict compliance with those agents. For you see, it is a simple matter to make the act of refusing to consent to warrantless searches a crime, which has the added benefit of mostly rendering any attempted search superfluous.
Under this enlightened and democratic scheme, a law enforcement agent need only advise these criminals that refusal to permit this warrantless search is a crime, and we are then all one step closer to a perfect society. Should the criminal refuse to permit the search, none need be performed, for at that point cause lies to arrest the criminal for committing the crime of refusal. This crime of refusal should, of course, carry penalties heavier than those which would be imposed after uncovering proof of criminality during said search, if for no other reason than to remind these criminals that it is not their right to deny the requests of any agents of the State.
And if the criminal, in craven fear of these enhanced penalties for refusal, consents to this warrantless search? In those cases, the system has truly prevailed, and law enforcement may uncover any and all evidence of criminal wrongdoing without needing to even consider, much less begin, the pointless and inefficient task of obtaining a so-called "warrant."
Previous, unenlightened thinkers had posited that such a scheme would violate those small, troublesome portions of our Constitution that seek to prevent law enforcement from coercing persons into consenting to searches. But the honest, hard working portions of the public can rest assured that this type of thinking is erroneous. And here is where the error lies: in cases such as those just described, the State has clearly provided the criminal with a choice. The criminal can chose to open his home or his body to scrutiny by law enforcement, or he can chose to commit a new crime, in plain sight, and truly unveil his blackened soul to the scrutiny of our courts. When presented with a choice, the criminal is not being coerced, he is merely being informed of his rights.
But there are those that may ask, what of the populace's right to privacy? These concerns, I think, can be disposed of in short order. For one, the scheme presented provides no danger to honest, hard working citizens, for upon completion of a search against a innocent patriot there will be no evidence of wrongdoing uncovered. I am of the belief (and I am not alone in this) that our citizens should be willing, and proud, to take advantage of every opportunity provided to prove to the agents of the State that they are not members of the criminal element. Any minor inconvenience experienced by an extremely insignificant intrusion such as a warrantless search is more than offset by the pride that comes from knowing that you were able to prove your innocence and dispel any suspicion. After all, it is the criminal element that has something to hide, and the criminal element that this scheme is set against.
Additionally, one can note that these searches will only be requested by duly sworn law enforcement agents, and then only if they have established an honest and strong suspicion of criminal activity. I will readily admit that this sounds like an extremely low threshold, but will also readily admit that I have every reason to trust our government and its agents to only act in the best interests of the public, and do not believe that the government would betray such a trust.
Even before the Minnesota Supreme Court issued its recent decree, this inventive procedure was already in use to great effect upon all criminals who drive upon our roadways, namely those who drive in a drunken state, and it went under the clever name of Implied Consent. That is all well and good for our roadways, but here I humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.
I have been assured by a very knowing Chinese citizen of my acquaintance here in St. Paul, and another who recalls living under the guidance of Sadaam Hussein while he still governed in Iraq, that the most effective way to truly deal with traitors, criminals, and other ne'er do wells is to provide a method by which law enforcement can quickly enter into any home, house or dwelling without objection from the occupants, and ensure that no criminal activity is afoot.
I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that we take it upon ourselves to expand our Implied Consent Law to all those who own property in our great Nation. The ownership of property is, to be sure, a privilege. Furthermore, it is a closely regulated privilege at that - one need not be educated in the law to know that all property is properly subject to many zoning requirements, alongside numerous other regulations designed to protect the public from themselves, and other fair and just laws that permit the State to seize private lands for their own use (or sale) when necessary or expedient. To speak plainly, because property ownership is a privilege granted by the State, it is only fitting to make it a crime for anyone to refuse to permit a duly sworn law enforcement agent, who believes he has probable cause, to enter that property, search their belongings and papers, and ensure that there is no criminal evidence that needs to be uncovered.
Make no mistake: there are many criminals who, right now, are committing various offenses against the laws of our State, hiding not just behind the walls of their home but also hiding behind the less-inspiring portions of our Constitution. These criminals are using drugs; their wiring is not up to code; they are engaging in proscribed acts of intercourse with their husbands and wives such as sodomy; they arrived home after disobeying a stop sign; they are playing their music too loud; they are stealing cable television. And if law enforcement were to arrive at their door, would they freely and voluntarily allow those agents of the law across the threshold? Today, I regretfully believe that they would not; but tomorrow, if it were a felony offense to refuse to consent to a warrantless search, I assure you that they would.
A very worthy person, a true patriot, for whom I have a great deal of respect, has discussed this matter with me at great length and proposes even more advanced methods of eliminating the criminal element who seek to hide behind the nebulous right to privacy. This gentleman has noted that the concept of Implied Consent can readily be expanded to include telephones, the mails (electronic or otherwise) and all the various methods of communication which also are best defined as privileges versus rights. Under this very progressive scheme, all users of remote communications must be held to have consented to the full and unfettered review of their communications by our duly sworn law enforcement agents. Again, those with something to hide, those who are criminal to the core, would undoubtedly intend to object to such an intrusion; but again, I say to you, how likely would it be that they would refuse to provide their consent if they were informed that refusal to permit such a non-intrusive search was a felony offense that would result in several years of incarceration, where they would join with their fellow criminals in a prison?
This idea - to expand the criminalization of refusal to consent to warrantless searches to all aspects of life, including both private property and private communications - is a good one, and well in keeping with the logic of the Minnesota Supreme Court. But in the interest of full disclosure it was not my gentleman friend who originally came up with the thought of expanding this proposal to private communications. It was instead put into his head by reports of the activities of the government in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Admittedly, in that era the consent of the populace was indeed enforced by uncouth methods of both physical violence and psychological torture, but that comparison simply highlights our much more humane methods of ensuring a compliant population. For here, in our great Nation, merely making it a crime to say no gives everyone the all-important, non-coercive choice of either correctly and properly waiving their right to a so-called "warrant," or else committing a new crime in the presence of law enforcement. For if this great Nation stands for anything, it is about providing meaningful choices to our population, and only punishing them more harshly if they chose wrong.
I do expect that criminals, the infestation that seek to drag our great Nation down into the gutter, will stand alone in raising all manner of ignorant objections to what is nothing more than a modest proposal. To them, I say one thing: have you a better method of ensuring that our law enforcement agents are able to efficiently root out criminal activity where they want, when they want, how they want, with no oversight? To be clear, this is a serious, not rhetorical, question. After all, I am not so violently bent upon my own opinion as to reject any offer proposed by wise men, which shall be found equally innocent, cheap, easy and effectual. But before raising alternate schemes, contradictory to my own, I will ask these hypothetical objectors to consider two points:
First, if we do not make it a crime to refuse to submit to warrantless searches, how else can we convince the populace to otherwise waive their right to a so-called "warrant?" I hope that I have clearly established the strength of my proposal is in that the populace is provided a choice of how to respond, thus ensuring that their answer is not coerced in any way or manner.
Second, if a counter-proposal does not make it a crime to refuse to submit to warrantless searches, is your motivation truly to combat the criminal element in our society, or are you, in fact, a criminal yourself, and simply fear the ease in which our duly sworn law enforcement agents will uncover your perfidity and extract swift retribution? And if you are not a criminal, it may behoove you to first speak with the victims of criminals, who know first hand the scourge that criminals inflict upon honest and hard working citizens, and ensure that you are taking their views and opinions into account before raising your own.
I profess, in the sincerity of my heart, that I have not the least personal interest in endeavoring to promote this necessary scheme, having no other motive than the public good of my country, by advancing civil order, easing the duties of law enforcement, and reminding the public of their duty to be compliant and obedient. Furthermore, such expansion of our Implied Consent laws will not affect me in the slightest, as I have every intention of moving to Canada.
(This Guest Blog was provided courtesy of the great Jon Swift. He is the author of a similar Modest Proposal that, while a bit outdated, is still worth reading.)