We know that to be the case when organized criminals set up shop as the “protectors” of a neighborhood or town in exchange for regular payments from residents to secure them from harm. We don’t recognize it as readily when insurance companies come calling to collect a regular fee for keeping burglars and other malefactors away by surrounding property with an electronic fence.
By deploying the euphemisms “security” and “safety,” many of our agents of government have managed to promote the restraint of select segments of the population (air travelers, pedestrians, public officials), effectively vitiating the principle of individual liberty the Constitution was designed to guarantee.
Having to wait until some untoward or injurious act occurs has seemingly proved particularly bothersome to our agents of government. They’d really prefer to be in a position of authorizing behavior ahead of time, perhaps because that would lessen surprise, to which many people are particularly averse. Is it because they are over-zealous or lazy? It doesn’t much matter which. But, the Federal Aviation Authority’s attempt to prohibit the flying of drones, sophisticated versions of remote-controlled planes, is a fairly good example of agents of government resorting to the protection argument to claim authorities to which they have no right.
To a certain extent, our rather common failure to recognize that the Constitution, including the Amendments, is not only addressed to agents of government, but aims to strictly limit their authorities with specific duties, obligations and some prohibitions. It’s sort of like our falsely assuming that the song of birds aims to delight humans.
Funny how we falsely ascribe initiative to the objects of our actions and ignore our intended effect on them. Why is our perception of objects so often perverse?