“No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”

Many people refer to the Third amendment as useless. They claim that no one has to worry about the Army turning your home into a training barracks. The prohibition on the quartering of troops in people’s homes was not about people getting upset over rumpled sheets. In the colonial era, the practice of billeting British troops in private homes was a widespread. One of the complaints against King George III in the Declaration of Independence was “for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us.”

Why do you suppose King George III did this, and why do you suppose the colonists were so upset about it?  It is a fairly effective form of intimidation: putting an agent of the State inside the houses of people whom the State considers “troublesome.” Having an agent of the State live with the troublemakers has an absolutely chilling effect, and most especially when the agents start abusing the power—”pushing the envelope,” as such agents so often do. This would have been known to the authors of the Bill of Rights. The Third Amendment was put there to prevent just this sort of thing.

It was impossible for the founders to foresee the advent of electronics, video cameras, microphone “bugs” and the like, but the fact remains the same: the presence of agents of the State present in people’s homes, intimidating them by their very presence, and by their presence also enforcing the State’s policies, as well as reporting (to a superior rank or office) any opposition towards the State. Whether the actual person is present, or the person is “virtually” present, the effect is the same: a chilling of the rights of the people to oppose the policies of their Government.

With the advent of computer networking, the Government no longer needs to put troops in your home. They can simply monitor you remotely- a virtual soldier present in your home.This is why I find today’s article so troubling. It seems as though we are seeing a constant erosion of our rights and liberties, inching ever so much closer to a police state. One day, we will wake up, and it will be too late.

Maybe it already is.

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