For the past few weeks, I have been writing in this column about the governmentís use of drones and challenging their constitutionality on Fox News Channel, where I work. I once asked on air what Thomas Jefferson would have done if - had they existed at the time - King George III had sent drones to peer inside the bedroom windows of Monticello. I suspect Jefferson and his household would have trained their muskets on the drones and taken them down. I offer this historical anachronism as a hypothetical only, not as someone who is urging the use of violence against the government.
Nevertheless, what Jeffersonians are among us today? When drones take pictures of us on our private property and in our homes and the government uses the photos as it wishes, what will we do about it? Jefferson understood that when the government assaults our privacy and dignity, it is the moral equivalent of violence against us. Folks who hear about this, who either laugh or groan, cannot find it humorous or boring that their every move will be monitored and photographed by the government.
When liberty and safety clash, do we really expect the government to balance those values? Of course not. The government cannot be trusted to restrain itself in the face of individual choices to pursue happiness. Thatís why we have a Constitution and a life-tenured judiciary: to protect the minority from the liberty-stealing impulses of the majority. And thatís why the Air Force memo has its priorities reversed - intelligence-gathering first, protecting freedom second - and the mechanism of reconciling the two - balancing them - constitutionally incorrect.
If we remain silent when our popularly elected government violates the laws it has sworn to uphold and steals the freedoms we elected it to protect, we will have only ourselves to blame when Big Brother is everywhere. Somehow, I doubt my fatherís generation fought the Nazis in World War II only to permit a totalitarian government to flourish here.
Is President Obama prepared to defend this? Is Mitt Romney prepared to challenge it? Are you prepared for its consequences?
NAPOLITANO: Big Brother's all-seeing eye - Washington Times