The Right to Privacy Trojan Horse

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


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One of the great lies of the latter half of the twentieth century is that there is a Constitutional right to privacy.  The right to privacy was established by the Supreme Court in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), in which the Court ruled that the state could not restrict the use of contraceptives.  That law hadn’t been enforced in nearly a hundred years when it was challenged, but that didn’t stop liberals from trying to strike it down.

Why?  They wanted to make a point, and make it they did: according to the Court, the Constitution guaranteed a “right to privacy.”  Where did this right to privacy come from?  “[S]pecific guarantees in the Bill of Rights have penumbras, formed by emanations from those guarantees that help give them life and substance,” wrote Justice William O. Douglas, in one of the silliest and least substantive lines of reasoning in legal history.

Later, the “right to privacy” would be extended to unmarried sexual activity in Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972); abortion in Roe v. Wade (1973); and homosexual activity in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).  Justice Kennedy’s opinion in Lawrence is one of the most insulting opinions ever, stating that just because a state legislature finds something immoral doesn’t mean it can ban it and that the Constitution requires that Americans “respect” the private lives of homosexuals.  “The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime,” Kennedy wrote  — announcing a bizarre standard if the Constitution is designed to prevent federal overreach.

Let’s leave aside Kennedy’s logic here — the state constantly demeans the existence of consensual bigamists, prostitutes, incestuous families, bestiality practitioners, and adulterers, and in most of those cases, controls the destinies of those involved in these activities.  Let’s focus instead on the basic point, which seems intuitively right to so many Americans: what we do in the bedroom should be our business alone.

I agree with that.  You agree with that.  We all agree with that.  Libertarianism’s impact has been felt by us all — we know that we don’t want cops knocking on our door based on what we do with our sexual partners.

There’s only one problem: the left isn’t truly interested in the right to privacy.   What starts in the bedroom doesn’t stay in the bedroom for the left.  It ends with government pushing their bedroom agenda-of-the-day.

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  • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

    Ben Shapiro nailed it: The goal of homosexual and leftist activists is to display their bedroom filth rather than to hide it and be left alone.

    If they wished just to be left alone, they would never want to get out of their closets at all! They would never want to display and pick into everybody's eyes their sexual proclivities, much less to pride about them. 

    And it is not enough that they are out. Now they want us in! They want the 98% of the sane population to shut up, to never utter a word of objection, and to allow them to defile our kids – just in order that they feel even better about themselves!  

    It is nothing short of deprivation and defilement what is legislated in California. Just a few decades ago an attempt of exposure to the things of this new curriculum would be qualified as an ugly crime against kids, and a culprit would get a long term in prison for it!

    Wake up parents! Rebel against your school authorities! Take the kids out! Do something: at least for the sake of your kids!

  • Mel

    The "T" in LGBT pretty much confines the whole LGBT movement to the lunatic fringe and undermines any serious effort of gaining respect for homosexuals. The failure of the gay movement to repudiate the "T" shows that they deserve no respect.

    • StephenD

      .You didn't even mention the "B" part of the Acronym. Explain please how a person is "born" a homosexual or heterosexual and there can be Bi-sexuals. It is all a matter of choice so lets stop fooling ourselves. I know folks disagree but then I raise the question about how do you explain Bi-sexuals and their argument falls apart. So long as your “choice” doesn’t hurt an innocent I say have at it but don’t try to legislate justification for it.

  • Roger Zem

    The logical next step in legislation is to make homosexuality the de jure preferred lifestyle. After all, heterosexual couples put much more stress on the ecological environment through the children they bring into the world.

    • Notborn Yesterday

      "make homosexuality the de jure preferred lifestyle."

      Or why not go one step further: Make it the ONLY legal lifestyle. Outlaw heterosexual acts and end the human race altogether.

  • kafir4life

    slightly OT – I find it useful at the airport to tell the TSA screener that I am a muslima, trapped in a Jewish man's body. They fall all over themselves to accomodate me, and ask how or if I'd like to be searched. I always opt for the self-patdown (with a happy ending), then giggle at the Grandmothers being dragged from their wheelchairs for body cavity searches.

    allahu snackbar!!

    • fdcampbell

      Sometimes the situation is so bizarre that only ribald humor is a reasonable response.
      Well done!

    • tanstaafl

      My burqa is better than your burga.

  • tim heekin

    after the yag marriage thing is de facto, young boys are next, "just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait."

    • Jim_C

      "As goes the Catholic Church, so goes society?"

  • winoceros

    Just need to find a clerk willing to sign a marriage certificate for one man to two women and get the conservative lawyers to push the case all the way to the Supreme Court. When it's found to be in the state's interest to prevent the state recognition of marriage that is not beneficial to society, then the same sex marriage argument comes crumbling down with it.

  • Questions

    Buttstabbling has been around for thousands of years. That doesn't mean we have to sanctify it.

    • Jim_C

      At least not the way we sanctify vaginastabbing (?)

  • voted against carter

    Deviant homosexual behavior is practiced by LESS than 2% of the population.

    WHY are we letting LESS than 2% of the population write our laws?

    Because they yell about it loudly???

    W.T.F.!!!????

    This is nothing more than the libratard lefts attempt to mainstream deviant homosexual behavior.

    • http://www.resonoelusono.com/NaturalBornCitizen.htm Alexander Gofen

      Yes!!! Just take a look at the agenda (p. 259) in "The naked communist" by W. Cleon Skousen, 1958, posted here for your convenience:
      http://www.resonoelusono.com/TheNakedCommunistAge

      In particular, take a look at items 25, 26, 27, 40.

      I rest my case.

      • Cyrus Lee

        Quoting Cold-War era W. Cleon Skousen (similar is style to the infamous Joe McCarthy) as speaking for communists and their agenda seems about as relevant as quoting Chairman Mao as speaking for capitalists. Click the Wiki link for Communism and try to find Skousen’s ‘be very afraid’ agenda items.

        The more serious threat to the sanctity of marriage is how many times people are getting divorced and remarried, like Newt Gingrich, and now he’s somehow become a ‘Roman Catholic’, despite his marital history. The nation’s 50% divorce rate seems more of a serious threat to marriage than fretting about a 2% wanting to have partnership and legal rights paralleling straight marriage. Seriously, it sure seems like people need to invest their attention into their own partnerships and leave the gay to worry about the gay.

        The most scary thing is the number of ‘conservatives’ who seem to feel being GLBT is somehow extremely contagious and that we and our children could all end up gay if tolerance is merely ‘allowed’. In a logical world, if one is solidly straight and another is gay, and both are rational and tolerant, neither one’s emotional stability and orientation should be affected by the other. And for those worried about the real problem of the human population explosion, consider how that worry vanishes if we all magically were turned into LGBT folks!

        Now if some conservatives are finding their sexual orientation compass needles vacillating, feeling some threatening tug of temptation, just knowing that gay people exist (that 2% group) and are trying to love each other, I can understand how this could generate a frantic sense of confusion and frustration. The answer is personal responsibility — if you are afraid of LGBT folks, get yourself some therapy if irrationally afraid of gay people. Rationally, shouldn’t real straight men be more than relieved that 2% of the better looking, emotionally sensitive and smart gay men aren’t competing for the women the straight guys seek? Common guys, you should be cheering the gay men on!

    • sflbib

      Re: "WHY are we letting LESS than 2% of the population write our laws?"

      Go to an abortion clinic that is being protested and you will see homosexuals [among others] there counter-protesting in favor of abortion. One would naturally ask why homosexuals need abortion. Answer: They are part of a political coalition of every lunatic Leftist cause there is. IOW, they get what they want because of their combined numbers, not their individual ones.

  • tanstaafl

    Gay folks have cooties! Everyone knows thIs!

  • Reason_For_Life

    "That law hadn’t been enforced in nearly a hundred years when it was challenged, but that didn’t stop liberals from trying to strike it down."

    Obviously wrong. If it hadn't been enforced there would have been no one with legal standing to bring the suit.

    The right of privacy is necessary for the enforcement of other rights like the 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th Amendments. That's what Douglas's poor formulation was supposed to mean. Douglas, a Depression Era holdover of the court which repeatedly enforced the economic tyranny of the Roosevelt administration by eviscerating the 9th Amendment could not bring himself to use the 9th Amendment to defend privacy. This was the amendment which actually applied and which was recognized by Justice Goldberg in a separate concurring decision.

    Shapiro, stick to Hollywood bias, about which you actually know something.

    • sflbib

      "Douglas … could not bring himself to use the 9th Amendment to defend privacy."

      This is reasoning backwards. It pre-suposes that privacy is a right that must be found somewhere in the constitution, much like Justice Taney had to find a justication for slavery. The court is supposed to start with the constitution and reason logically to a conclusion, in this case the existence of a right to privacy.

      • Reason_For_Life

        The 9th Amendment is open ended stating categorically that there are rights that are not enumerated in the Constitution. The test of whether something is a right is extra-constitutional meaning that the right exists in nature or in the common law. Natural rights are prior to the Constitution since the Constitution can only acknowledge that certain rights exist, it cannot create or confer rights.

        Can any right be protected without a right to privacy? Probably not.

        The 1st Amendment requires that anonymity be protected in order to protect free speech (to prevent retaliation by the state against unpopular views) and the right to practice a religion. No one can be compelled to reveal what church they belong to or what their beliefs are.

        Attacks on the 2nd Amendment have always been prefixed by registration of weapons followed by confiscation. Confiscation cannot be accomplished if you don't know where the weapons are which is one of the strongest arguments against registration.

        The 4th Amendment's prohibition of warrant less searches makes no sense without a right to privacy. What other meaning can be inferred from protecting a person's home, papers and effects from searches?

        The 5th Amendment's prohibition on the use of compulsion to extract confessions likewise makes no sense without a right to privacy. Without a right to personal knowledge what basis can there be to deny the state any information that it wants?

        The existence of the right to privacy was never questioned except in wartime and even then invasions of privacy were few and limited. No one has ever suggested that the use of contraceptives was a question of national security.

        • coyote3

          Er, not quite, because the constitution does not create or confer rights, all rights, in some sense are "extra constitutional" in the sense that all the constitution does is state what powers the government has, to restrict rights as well as do other things.

          • Notborn Yesterday

            "constitution does not create or confer rights"

            Does it not confer the right o "bear arms"?

  • Black Eagle

    I must disagree with Shapiro. Contraceptives in Florida, where I grew up, only existed in two forms prior to this period. You could get condoms from vending machines in some bathrooms where “men’s activites” were typical, as in filling stations. Or, some contraceptives could be obtained by prescription from a doctor, who would never offer them to unmarried women, and sometimes not to married women. Pharmacies might or might not fill such a prescription. I still remember the amazement when, for the first time, contraceptives appeared on the shelves of drug stores and supermarkets. Beware of a too-trusting attitude towards the most extreme of conservatives who claim to merely want to restrict abortion, but behind closed doors are clear they also want to ban contraception, divorce, premarital sex, and other things even most conservatives take for granted. (American Catholics use contraception in high percentages, for example.) Phyllis Schlafley once stated this in public, in the years when she led the anti-abortion movement, that once abortion was re-made illegal, they would go after contraceptives as well.

  • trickyblain

    California does indeed have a right to privacy in her Constitution.

    "SECTION 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have
    inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and
    liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing
    and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy."

  • http://newmediaage.shugartmedia.com/NewMediaWorld/ Tar_n_Feathers

    The Constitution contains "penumbras" and "emanations?" Who knew?

    • Chiggles

      Those words have always sounded to me like something out of Qabbalah.

  • palidin 911

    Bottom line; The homo's want to troll the schools for recruits.

    • Jim_C

      Why would they need to?

      • Notborn Yesterday

        "Need"? Who's talking about "need"? Its behaviour we are talking about here. A person who commits homosexual acts or paedophilia doesn't "need" to. Its pure lust.

        To be fair to homosexuals, not all commit paedophilia. However it is a proclivity that adheres pretty much to those who become addicted to homosexuality.

  • waterwillows

    Ben Shapiro,

    I notice you have pulled my comments. Why? I wrote truthfully.

    Is it not a tactic of the lefties to only print the versions they wish to promote? Here on Frontpage there should be more honest discussion.

    Besides…….get a backbone. You are sure going to need one.

  • Asher

    The Left is too sick to lead, they have condemned themselves by examples of homosexuality, Abortion, Deceit, Corruption, and Entitlements in the Government!

  • Jim_C

    "Exposing children to homosexuality early"…

    SOME CHILDREN ARE BORN HOMOSEXUAL.

    Such efforts there are regarding "exposure" have to do with 1. making sure those kids know that homosexuality is not their "fault;" and 2. so other kids are aware some kids are homosexual and it is NOT OK to bully and mock them.

    • sflbib

      3. Telling them there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, thus making it easier to find new willing sex partners among the children.

      • Jim_C

        How does your point not apply to heterosexuality?

        • Notborn Yesterday

          Easy. First, there IS nothing intrinsically wrong with heterosexuality. The vast majority of people are normally oriented, heterosexual people with no desire to molest children.

          Second, there IS something innately warped about a man trying to have "sex" with another man's anus and claiming legal equality for that act. Sexual deviation tends to expand to include other sexual deviations, which explains the very high degree or orientation of homosexual men to visit gay baths and have their "sex" with multiple partners, have mouth to anal contact, eat faeces and prey upon children. Sorry about the graphic description, but its about time that the actual homosexual behaviours demanding protection were brought to light.

    • Notborn Yesterday

      No, it has been well-established that homosexuality is NOT genetically caused. In fact, heterosexual promiscuity is actually more common among both males and females claiming to be homosexuals than heterosexuals.

      Many young children go through stages of playing sexually with their own gender, (quite possibly due to the easier private access to their own gender). Take a child going through that stage and convince him that that is his normal behaviour and orientation and you have committed a crime against him.

      Bullying is wrong regardless of sexual behaviour. Schools have recognised the need to deal with it for decades. Laws to legitimise deviant sexual behaviour are not needed to curb violence. In fact, violence levels between homosexuals are higher than between heterosexuals and between hetero and homosexuals.

  • Yaakovw

    I find the Supreme Court's distinctions confusing. A woman has right to an abortion because of the right to privacy but she doesn't have the right to smoke grass.

    Newspapers have no problem saying that Christians are superstitious bigots but it is forbidden to say that queers are perverts.

    I have the right to free speech except when I want to say religious things.

    I have the right to practice my religion except on public land.

  • Zam

    The liberals want to "let it all hang out". Enter the gays here. They, too, want to "let it all hang out". But, there is more here. Current-day government and current-day society in America has to be "sensitive-to-the-needs" of its minorities. The gays are "considered" to be a minority in America. Fact. Consequently, government and society in America must be "sensitive-to-the-needs" of the gays or else the gays will be OFFENDED. Consequently, government and society in America must "let it all hang out" as a nation, or else the (official) minority element of government and society known as the "gays" will become OFFENDED. It is as simple as that.

  • bpk

    This is a group of immoral, screaming ninnys that wish to "come out of their closet", not hide under privacy rights. This arguement is false, Ben, and truley jepardizes our protection from the government. I openly agree, and have nothing to hide, no reason to be secret, that may be an argument, but true liberty requires a moral responsibility from the citizen, and a restraint of the government, in this case a "clause" which may be the difference of weather the DOE with guns lets you homeschool or not. COMPRENDE

    • Notborn Yesterday

      bpk, I think you have some interesting thoughts in your mind, but they just didn't make the screen. You appear to be disagreeing with something in the article, but I just can't identify "what". You also agree with something, but again, I can't identify "what".

      Please, try again and perhaps get someone to proof read your message for clarity before posting.

  • patrickfitzmichael

    I don't care that the right to privacy is not in the Constitution. I want it to be there. So I don't care to hear your arguments.

    Your argument is a slippery slope. If I agree with you that the right to privacy isn't in the Constitution, next thing you know you'll be telling me that the seperation of church isn't in the constitution. Or the the right to marry. Or you'll be telling me that the federal government is restricted to its enumerated powers.

    As a gay man, I must say that what I do in the privacy of my bedroom is no one else's business. I'm just going to tell everybody about it. And get into the junior high schools and teach them that what their parents have told them is wrong.

    I blogged about this little Jewish homophobe on my website: http://twogaybullies.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/spe