One of the more annoying phrases in modern usage is “if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear”, with its well know permutation “the innocent have nothing to fear”.
This vexes me, and is one of those lovely phrases that sets me off.
Why would this vex me do? I mean, it’s not like I have anything to hide1, so what do I have to fear?
Obviously, I have nothing to fear. Except for the way in which we, if we are accused of several types of offences, are now guilty until proven innocent. That is what we have to fear. That we now have to jump through hoops to prove we are who we say we are. That people have to prove they’re not a paedophile2 before they can help after school. That car owners have to prove that they weren’t involved in whatever a cloned car was doing3. That we are all photographed a hundred times a day to prove that we’re not misbehaving.
It’s not the innocent who have nothing to fear; nor is it those with nothing to hide. It’s only those who lack the imagination to see where the road we’re on leads to.
1 – Motoring offences being discounted for most purposes.
2 – Of course, such checks can only show that you’ve not been caught, which is next to meaningless in the greater scheme of things.
3 – ‘tamper proof number plates’? That’ll be the day; I can’t think of a single tamper-proof device that hasn’t been cracked within weeks, and those were developed by better and brighter folk than HM Government…