Another word for Government’s prior restraint of private citizens, a word used by Holman Jenkins in his Friday op-ed to disguise this assault on our freedoms.
Let’s face it, with big data, with impersonal algorithms that could track every earthly resident’s web activity, travels, purchases and electronic interactions with the world, it might be quite possible to know whose life and personality are disintegrating, who might seek to resolve the impasse by going on murder binge.
Jenkins saw this favorably as the basis of a “pre-crime” era of law enforcement, however pessimistically he also saw it as coming to pass anytime soon. I see that unlikelihood less sanguinely, but to the extent it’s slow to come or doesn’t come at all, that’s a good thing.
Then Jenkins closed his piece with this:
The more the average citizen can understand and recognize the pattern, the more such incidents likely will be avoided without us even knowing it.
Indeed, and yet Jenkins completely ignored the implication of this. We don’t need Big Brother looking over our shoulder everywhere we are, in the real world or the virtual world of social interactions, nor do we need a Hoover-esque FBI peering in through our windows, real or virtual, nor can we support any other excuse for Government extend its regulation of our lives through this new version of prior restraint.
What we need is a return to a sense of community, where private citizens look out for each other at the local level. Local problems dealt with locally are much less likely to become national problems. And even those don’t require the assault on liberty that is prior restraint, which can only be done from politicians’ definitions of alleged need for the prior.