The legal concept of citizen privacy from government intrusion is unfortunately a very new one in the long strides of human history. The idea that government can be limited, or restricted in its powers by the people, and that certain realms of life can and should be off-limits to the prying eyes of bureaucracy, is rarely applied in any culture of any era. This is because most civilizations have been founded and ruled upon the principles of military dominance. There was no separation between the government and the armies it fashioned; the government WAS the military. That is to say, martial law was a way of life for society, privacy was a foolish dream, and daring to contest the fact usually led to one’s death.
The Magna Carta of 1215, which King John was essentially forced to support, established a foundation for civil liberties which would then be fought over for the next several centuries. Beginning in 1627, and the ‘Petition of Right’ in Britain, common citizens began demanding a separation between military and civilian life, as well as the dismantling of standing armies which at that time were being used by the corrupt oligarchy as a means to subdue the populace. The aristocracy called it “royal prerogative”. The masses called it tyranny. However, as we all know, such breaks in the suffocation of despotism are few and fleeting. Fractures in the Petition of Right were frequent, and the aptitude of government to make war (even when there is no call for war) became the common excuse for the rulership to degrade civilian legal protections and hurtle them back into the dark ages, where property is a novelty that the authorities violate at their leisure.
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