The debate over the unlocking of a terrorist's iPhone shows once again that Republicans have no problem with big government

If you’ve ever seen the movie Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise, then you’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s vision of the not too distant future. Spielberg’s exciting, sometimes thrilling, and always fascinating film about futuristic policing and prosecuting in the Washington DC area takes the Philip K. Dick story and adds stunning visuals that warn us how close we’re coming as a society to George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984.

The plot of the movie centers on the police force in DC which is piloting a program that aims to stop crime from even happening in the first place. By using technology and teaming with three psychics, the police are able to see crime before it happens, predict when and where it will occur, and arrive on the scene to arrest the would be guilty party.

The film, and the story before it, forced us to ask some difficult questions, not the least of which is “how much freedom are you willing to give up for more/better security?” The more people one asks, the more varied the answers.

A portion of this argument has been at the heart of the national consciousness in recent days, due to Apple’s resistance to the US Government’s legal action, which looks to force Apple to create and write programs that will unlock iPhones that have been locked.

The US Government desires to extract information from an iPhone 5c that was obtained from one of the San Bernardino terrorists, who shot and killed 14 people and seriously injured 22 on December 2 of last year. The phone has a built in feature that permanently locks out anyone who tries and fails to give the correct password for opening a phone.  Entering through a “back door” as it were is not currently possible. According to Apple, the programming to do such a thing has not even been written.

The Government has taken legal action to get a court order to force Apple to create the necessary program and code, claiming they will use it for this one phone and then destroy it. But once the genie is out of the box, where does it stop and when will it end? Among other things, what is extremely interesting about this case is where the citizenry comes down when weighing in on this issue.

At first glance, one might begin to believe that the Democrats would favor the Government and side with it, pointing to what many conservatives call a trademark of liberalism, namely, big government. This would then lead to a natural assumption that Republicans would be against such a tyranny, siting their opposition to big government.

After all, Republicans want more than anything to get the government out of our lives, unless it concerns whom we marry, what women can do with their own bodies, or what religious symbols are to be displayed on certain religious holidays etc, etc.

According to a Pew Research poll, 56% of Republicans lean on the Government’s side. For the Democrats, 55% polled were in favor of the Government forcing the unlocking of the phone. That’s more than half of each party favoring the intrusion into a private cell phone by the authorities. But, of course, it’s only a one-time thing. What could possibly go wrong?

In an election year such as this, the candidates on both sides inevitably show all of their stripes when engaging in armchair quarterbacking of the President and the present governmental players. So it becomes rather confusing, then, when candidates take a stand on such a significant issue as this without understanding how drastically it contradicts their overall view of government and what they believe its role should be.

For Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, there is no firm stand to be taken while on the campaign trail. There are too many factors to consider and showing their hands before they have all of the cards is not a wise move to make. Their indecision, in this case, shows a wise restraint. The Republicans, on the other hand, seem to be able to show no restraint on anything in this campaign season, let alone this controversy.

Ted Cruz says he understands Apple’s argument, but the Government’s warrant should be obeyed. Marco Rubio has no answer, but feels that he can work out some sort of partnership with the Government. How? Who knows? And Ben Carson just doesn’t see what all of Apple’s fuss is about.

So the question is, How can you be anti-government and feel it’s ok for that same government to infringe on the privacy rights of all Americans? The only answer is the simplest answer: You’re not actually anti-government; you’re actually pro-government, but only if you are the ones in power.


  1. A one time deal?
    How stupid do they think we are?If Apple creates this “back door”, it will be available for download within two years.
    Screw the government……

  2. This essay was so dead-on. Very few commentators have noted that San Bernardino County provided the phone to its employee. That entity should have had appropriate controls in place. It did not. Now all of us even those who purchase our own telecommunications for work are at serious risk.

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