Creative Destruction

June 14, 2006

Top 10 Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State

Filed under: Politics — Daran @ 10:19 pm

Link. (Hat tip.)

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8 Comments »

  1. Uh huh.

    I remember in the early 1980s, when I was a clueless leftist, writing pretty much the exact same list about the Reagan Junta and its fascist agenda blah blah blah. Substitute “Edwin Meese” for “Patriot Act”, and so on.

    Sophomoric wishful thinking, mainly. Because if the government is a fascist police state, then we’re heroic dissenters, not college dropout slackers who won’t hold a job.

    What makes my own early adulthood politics (using the term “adulthood” loosely) even more poignant was the fact that I have actually lived in a police state. (Iran, under the Shah.)

    In other words, wake me up when the secret police start executing Democrats.

    Comment by bobhayes — June 14, 2006 @ 11:54 pm | Reply

  2. I remember in the early 1980s, when I was a clueless leftist, writing pretty much the exact same list about the Reagan Junta and its fascist agenda blah blah blah. Substitute “Edwin Meese” for “Patriot Act”, and so on.

    I can remember the early eighties too, though as a Brit, I was inevitably much less familiar with US domestic politics. So what was it that Meese did that was comparible to the Patriot Act?

    Sophomoric wishful thinking, mainly. Because if the government is a fascist police state, then we’re heroic dissenters, not college dropout slackers who won’t hold a job.

    Ad hom.

    What makes my own early adulthood politics (using the term “adulthood” loosely) even more poignant was the fact that I have actually lived in a police state. (Iran, under the Shah.)

    And that couldn’t happen here, because… Well… It just couldn’t. OK?

    In other words, wake me up when the secret police start executing Democrats.

    Won’t it be too late by then?

    I suggest you wake up when they start detaining people indefinitely without legal process, which is… now.

    Comment by Daran — June 15, 2006 @ 4:12 am | Reply

  3. So what was it that Meese did that was comparible to the Patriot Act?

    He acted as the Attorney General, and worked to prosecute people who broke the law. Nothing, in other words – just as there isn’t much of anything objectionable in the Patriot Act. It’s fascism!

    Ad hom.

    It was an ad hom against myself, dude.

    And that couldn’t happen here, because…

    It could happen here; it can happen anywhere. The point is that it hasn’t, and isn’t.

    It can happen anywhere particularly when people who would be expected to watch out for and warn against such things start destroying their own credibility by getting hysterical about the normal operations of a country at war.

    I suggest you wake up when they start detaining people indefinitely without legal process, which is… now.

    Tell it to Lincoln, chief. They’ve detained people indefinitely for the past 150 years. It’s what states do in time of war. What you have to watch is who they’re detaining (Jose Padilla, or Cindy Sheehan?), whether courts and legislatures approve, whether when checks and balance kick in the executive bows to judicial power, and so on. And on those criteria, the administration’s actions are solidly in line with historical precedent.

    In fact, the administration has used considerably less than the full extent of its legitimate, Constitutionally-approved powers. That’s the elephant in the room that folks calling “fascism” are having to maneuver around. Right now we’re in a situation where people are calling the chief executive a traitor…and then going back to their jobs. People are saying the US is a fascist police state…and being ignored by the state.

    Put it another way, if we’re an incipient police state, or even trending that way, we’re doing a piss-poor job of oppressing the internal enemies of the state.

    Comment by bobhayes — June 15, 2006 @ 12:24 pm | Reply

  4. Bob Hayes:

    Put it another way, if we’re an incipient police state, or even trending that way, we’re doing a piss-poor job of oppressing the internal enemies of the state.

    I rather like the idea of historical precedent informing today’s action. One aspect of that precendent, however, is that various branches of government have repeatedly overstepped their authority and either gotten away with it or received only a hand slap. I’ll have to give it some thought to come up with suitable examples, but the ubiquity of corruption at the highest levels shouldn’t make that task too difficult.

    A lot of discussion in the past few years has revolved around the idea of the imperial presidency. That’s where an incipient police state will first manifest, and we’re already trending that way. Can I sleep well at night with full faith that no file on my activities and associations exists? No, not really. Perhaps I’m paranoid, but then the likelihood that I would know prior to it being too late is very poor.

    The area where oppressing perceived enemies of the state now occurs is holding opinions significantly counter to politically correct views. Whereas the academy may still hew to liberal ideas of political correctness, the media is banging a much more conservative drum. Conscientious resisters of the political party line are typically disenfranchized, held up for public ridicule, and otherwise branded as fringe or lunatic elements. Dissenting voice isn’t so much stifled as it is muted or nullified.

    I know that you have written before about the need for healthy opposition formed around dissent to help the majority opinion define its platform. Not everyone is so wise about that, and our collective range of thought on political and cultural issues is currently under assault by those who believe healthy dissent is tantamount to enemy activity. I consider that a threat.

    Comment by Brutus — June 15, 2006 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  5. Not everyone is so wise about that, and our collective range of thought on political and cultural issues is currently under assault by those who believe healthy dissent is tantamount to enemy activity.

    Eh. I think that some proponents of the anti-war position are having their ideas and worldview being attacked – and largely for good cause.

    The area where oppressing perceived enemies of the state now occurs is holding opinions significantly counter to politically correct views.

    Can you point to an example of such oppression, that doesn’t rely on a market outcome as proof of suffering? (IE, the Dixie Chicks losing sales doesn’t count.)

    Comment by bobhayes — June 15, 2006 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

  6. Bob Hayes:

    I think that some proponents of the anti-war position are having their ideas and worldview being attacked – and largely for good cause.

    Attacking ideas and opinions is fine. That’s what partisan debate is for. Silencing them is something different, which I believe is also going on to a far greater degree than it should.

    Can you point to an example of such oppression, that doesn’t rely on a market outcome as proof of suffering? (IE, the Dixie Chicks losing sales doesn’t count.)

    Sure, the argument usually goes something like this report/opinion in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

    Bush has lashed out at Americans “who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil, or because of Israel, or because we misled the American people.” True, the president said, some “honest critics” have condemned his decisions about Iraqi reconstruction, U.S. troop deployments and so on. But Bush drew a bright line between “responsible” opponents and the “irresponsible” kind, who raise doubts about the entire purpose of the war and thereby bring “comfort to our adversaries.”

    In other words, it’s OK to criticize the White House for bungling the war after it started. But if you question how the war started, then you’re obviously helping the Bad Guys. And you’re hurting the United States.

    The “hurting America” or “bad for America” line is what I hear repeated most often, which is preposterous and impossible to substantiate.

    The Washington Post has a story of folks ejected from a recent speech by Bush:

    The Secret Service this week sent agents to Denver to probe allegations by three area Democrats that they were ousted from Bush’s March 21 event. The three did not stage any protest at the rally and were later told by the Secret Service they were removed because their vehicle displayed an anti-Bush bumper sticker.

    A fuller view on the stifling of dissent is found in a 3-part blog entry called The American Taliban. A 20-page PDF version of the entry is also available. The author’s headings include Surveilance, Profiling, Travel Controls, and Mobile Tracking and is replete with links, citations, and examples of citizens being treated like enemies of the state for things like wearing a T-shirt with a disapproved slogan such as “protect our civil rights.”

    I haven’t yet read through the entire thing, but enough of the same types of examples have filtered into my awareness over the years that the author’s impression of creeping fascism (though he never uses that particular phrase) is my impression as well.

    Comment by Brutus — June 15, 2006 @ 10:11 pm | Reply

  7. OK, fine. The three links I tried to put into my previous comment as HTML tags appear to have died. Here they are:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/256852_zimmerman25.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A10420-2005Apr22.html
    http://jakking.typepad.com/daily/2004/10/john_ashcroft_a.html

    Comment by Brutus — June 15, 2006 @ 10:15 pm | Reply

  8. To be as polite as possible:

    these aren’t impressive examples.

    Comment by Robert — June 20, 2006 @ 10:43 pm | Reply


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