What Zelda Teaches Us About Privacy

When you want to be sure. When you want to be sure.

The confusion arises from a fundamental mischaracterization of privacy fostered by the Supreme Court of the United States in its decision resolving Griswold v. Connecticut. In that case, the court took on a statute banning contraception. The court ruled that the state law was unconstitutional due to an alleged “right to privacy” found in the “penumbras” and “emanations” of our founding document. That’s a fancy way of saying they invented the “right” out of whole cloth.

Certainly, the Connecticut statute against contraception violated the citizen’s right to apply their own judgment to conduct which does not violate the rights of others. However, acknowledging that proves significantly different than proclaiming a sweeping and subjective right to privacy.

Surely, privacy exists, but as a derivative of rights, not a right in and of itself. The property you own and the contracts you enter define your privacy. If someone makes a recording of you walking down the street, you experience no violation. If they trespass on your property, you have standing to complain. Likewise, if an action is taken in violation of a contract, like a disclosure made private through agreement, a tort has been committed.

An objective view of privacy, defined by the true rights from which it is derived, fosters clear thinking regarding the many intrusions committed by government. The income tax set a horrific precedent for violating citizens’ privacy. If we concede that the government may tax income, we invite them to scrutinize our finances. Otherwise, would it ever be anyone’s business how much money you make?

Topping the intrusion of the income tax, Obamacare makes every aspect of your life the purview of government. Everything you do (and, as the court ruled last year, everything you don’t do) has some effect upon the state’s effort to manage your health. So your whole life becomes their business.

By recognizing and affirming the same principle which makes us laugh at Link ransacking a random home, we inch closer to reclaiming our privacy from a government which has relentlessly taken it away.