Three Old Constitutional Arguments Apply Equally Well to Apple’s iPhone and the FBI

| The Devil's Advocate

Preamble to the U.S. Constituion on iPhone 6
App: Constitution for iPhone and iPod Touch

If you love the constitution, the right to privacy, and America, you should support Apple against the government's push to destroy your civil liberties. Although there are many technical nuances that can mire down the discussion around this issue, 3 tried and true constitutional arguments against eroding our civil liberties apply to this case just as they have to many other civil liberty struggles of the past.

Argument 1: The same one pro-gun folks use to support the 2nd amendment.

You remember this old pro-gun chestnut, right? If you make guns illegal, only the bad guys will have them. Well that applies 100 fold more to encryption.

If you allow the government to force Apple to put in backdoors or make tools to crack the iPhone, you simply take the right to privacy away from law abiding citizens. Terrorists will just use one of thousands of other encryption apps out there. If you search the free open source software repository GitHub, you'll see the dizzying array of choices readily available.

Free source code and apps for all manner of encryption services are already out there, and nothing the government can do will stop terrorists or anyone else from using them. The genie is out of the bottle, Pandora's box has long been opened, and the horses long ago left the barn with regard to encryption.

Some people just don't get this, but the terrorists do. If the government wins against Apple, law-abiding citizens will have lost their right to privacy, while the bad guys will be free to communicate with impunity. It's just that simple.

Argument 2: What's good for the goose...

If you unlock this iPhone, you will have unlocked all iPhones for everyone forever. The government has done a really bad job of lying, saying this is just about one iPhone, yet it has already lodged requests to unlock 12 more. So this is clearly not about just one phone, it's about all iPhones, and the government's blatant lying makes that abundantly clear.

Further, considering how the government has botched its chance to get at the terrorists iCloud backup of the iPhone, and a former director of the NSA and CIA is saying the government is wrong on this, it's pretty good bet that Apple knows better how such a backdoor crack would apply to and compromise all other iPhones.

As such, once the iPhone is cracked, yes, today's White House may use the crack to gain access to this terrorists' iPhone today, but every other administration in the future—someone more like, oh, say, Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, your spouse's divorce attorney, or worse—will have the ability to abuse that power tomorrow.

Argument 3: The right to privacy is like the freedom of speech...

The ACLU and even citizens that were targets have defended the free speech of hate groups in our country. The ACLU and our country has defended free speech for the KKK and even Nazi groups in the past, not because they were sympathetic to that speech, but because once that right is eroded for anyone, it can and will be destroyed for all.

As the ACLU said, "If we don't protect the free speech rights of all, we risk having the government arbitrarily decide what is, or is not, acceptable speech."

As over the top hyperbolic as this seems, the country was built on the principles that life and, obviously safety, are secondary to our civil liberties.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." --Evelyn Beatrice Hall

In following those principles, one mother of a San Bernardino victim supports Apple in maintaining our right to privacy, saying:

This is what separates us from communism, isn't it? The fact we have the right to privacy. This is what makes America great to begin with, that we abide by a constitution that gives us the right of privacy, the right to bear arms, and the right to vote.

In other words, just because idiots want to speak, doesn't mean we should destroy our own freedom of speech. That's a bit cutting off your nose to spite your face. Similarly, just because a few horrible idiots use iPhones, does not mean we should destroy our civil liberties.

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Immigration or an iPhone? We don’t have an encryption problem, we have a Muslim immigration problem.

Brilliantly summed up by Daniel Greenfield

Lee Dronick

On the other hand FBI and such also need secure devices.


@dtm1: your thoughts (& your quote) smell like pure BS !


@John Kheit: Brilliantly summed up !  Thank you.


@BurmaYank powerful nose you must have smelling through computers. Trying reading it.

Lee Dronick

I would say that we have an extremist problem and they come in a number of different models.


@Lee Dronick LOL - yea the world is being attacked by terrorist Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Amish - heck atheists?

No just ONE model of terrorists are beheading, killing, bombing, raping, honor killing women, mutilating women, committing incest, throwing alleged homosexuals off buildings-hanging-beating to death, genocide of Christians etc…and that model is Muslim.


I read Daniel Greenfield’s article ( ),  which seem to be saying basically the same thing as you. To me your ideas stink of tragically stupid paranoid xenophobic hysteria, & seem to me likely to cause only unnecessary harm & no possible good at all.


@BurmaYank and yet the ONLY harm being done & committed is by Muslim terrorists in the US, all of Europe, Middle East and the rest of Africa - and pointing this out is “xenophobic hysteria?” Facts don’t lie - just people such as you.

Dean Lewis

The only harm is from Muslim terrorists?

I could look up a whole slew of terrorism and atrocities performed by Buddhists, Hindis, several other religious sects, and then continue on with extremists not related to religion.

Facts don’t lie. That’s true. You should get yours straight before pointing the finger at just one people (and using the extremists among that people to paint the whole as well).

Dean Lewis

Actually, here’s another link of all terrorist attacks in the United States. Only a fraction of them were perpetrated by Muslims adhering to some fundamentalist Islamic idea.

I live 15 minutes from Oklahoma City where the second largest terrorist attack on US soil took place. The terrorists in that attack were not Muslim.

Facts. They’re a bitch.

Dean Lewis

“Fraction” above meaning they don’t equal all the other types listed. They are roughly equivalent in numbers to Christian extremist acts.

Wish I could edit and combine these rather than lookalike I’m trying to dominate by number of posts. smile


What tragically ghastly, hate-blinded, self-absolving, “us”-glorifying, ethnocentric, blood-stained delusions that nonsensical article & your ignorant statement are !

dtm1 said:
“@Lee Dronick LOL - yea the world is being attacked by terrorist Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Amish - heck atheists?
No just ONE model of terrorists are beheading, killing, bombing, raping, honor killing women, mutilating women, committing incest, throwing alleged homosexuals off buildings-hanging-beating to death, genocide of Christians etc…and that model is Muslim.”

So, where did all the bloody jihadist terrorism which splashes over our daily news really come from? There would seem to be much justification, IMO, for the old widely-repeated idea of Christian & Muslim & other students of history that ‘ Jihadist terrorism was what the Muslims of the Levant learned from the Christian Crusaders”, as today’s excerpt from Delancy Place shows so indelibly:

Today’s selection - from (‘Fields of Blood’ (by Karen Armstrong)): “... In the first Christian Crusade against Muslims in 1099 AD, the Muslims were astonished by the Crusader’s violence…”:

(see next Comment.)


Today’s selection - from (‘Fields of Blood’ (by Karen Armstrong)): “... In the first Christian Crusade against Muslims in 1099 AD, the Muslims were astonished by the Crusader’s violence…”:

“War has been aptly described as ‘a psychosis caused by an inabil­ity to see relationships.’ The First Crusade was especially psychotic. From all accounts, the Crusaders seemed half-crazed. For three years [on their march from Europe to Jerusalem] they had had no normal dealings with the world around them, and pro­longed terror and malnutrition made them susceptible to abnormal states of mind. They were fighting an enemy that was not only culturally but ethnically different—a factor that, as we have found in our own day, tends to nullify normal inhibitions—and when they fell on the inhabi­tants of Jerusalem, they slaughtered some thirty thousand people in three days. ‘They killed all the Saracens and Turks they found,’ the author of the Deeds of the Franks reported approvingly. ‘They killed everyone, male or female.’ The streets ran with blood. Jews were rounded up into their synagogue and put to the sword, and ten thousand Muslims who had sought sanctuary in the Haram al-Sharif were brutally massacred. ‘Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen,’ wrote the Provencal chronicler Raymond of Aguilers: ‘Men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place should be filled with the blood of unbelievers.’ There were so many dead that the Crusaders were unable to dispose of the bodies. When Fulcher of Chartres came to celebrate Christmas in Jerusalem five months later, he was appalled by the stench from the rotting corpses that still lay unburied in the fields and ditches around the city.

“When they could kill no more, the Crusaders proceeded to the Church of the Resurrection, singing hymns with tears of joy rolling down their cheeks. Beside the Tomb of Christ, they sang the Easter liturgy. ‘This day, I say, will be famous in all future ages, for it turned our labors and sorrows into joy and exultation,’ Raymond exulted. ‘This day, I say, marks the justification of all Christianity, the humiliation of paganism, the renewal of faith.’ Here we have evidence of another psychotic disconnect: the Crusaders were standing beside the tomb of a man who had been a victim of human cruelty, yet they were unable to question their own violent behavior. The ecstasy of battle, heightened in this case by years of terror, starvation, and isolation, merged with their religious mythology to create an illusion of utter righteousness. But victors are never blamed for their crimes, and chroniclers soon described the con­quest in Jerusalem as a turning point in history. Robert the Monk made the astonishing claim that its importance had been exceeded only by the creation of the world and Jesus’s crucifixion. As a consequence, Mus­lims were now regarded in the West as a ‘vile and abominable race,’ ‘despicable, degenerate and enslaved by demons,’ ‘absolutely alien to God,’ and ‘fit only for extermination.’ ...

“The Muslims were stunned by the Crusaders’ violence. By the time they reached Jerusalem, the [Crusaders] had already acquired a fear­some reputation; it was said that they had killed more than a hundred thousand people at Antioch, and that during the siege they had roamed the countryside, wild with hunger, openly vowing to eat the flesh of any Saracen who crossed their path. But Muslims had never experienced anything like the Jerusalem massacre. For over three hundred years they had fought all the great regional powers, but these wars had always been conducted within mutually agreed limits. Muslim sources reported in horror that the Franks did not spare the elderly, the women, or the sick; they even slaughtered devout ulema, ‘who had left their homelands to live lives of pious seclusion in the holy place.’ “


Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence
(excerpt Pages: 214-216)
Author: Karen Armstrong
Publisher: Anchor A. Knopf
Copyright 2014 by Karen Armstrong


Those Christian Crusaders apparently also slaughtered almost all the native Jerusalem Christians - whose church was founded by James the brother of Jesus & Peter (before he left to found the church of Rome).

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