Monday, January 17, 2005

 

The State Of The Police State

I'll present two viewpoints on this (normally I'd try to make sure that they're opposing viewpoints, but I take this to serious to present any facade of objectivity). First, from the wonderful Rep. Ron Paul, with "It Can't Happen Here":

In 2002 I asked my House colleagues a rhetorical question with regard to
the onslaught of government growth in the post-September 11th era: Is America
becoming a police state?

The question is no longer rhetorical. We are not yet living
in a total police state, but it is fast approaching. The seeds of future
tyranny have been sown, and many of our basic protections against government
have been undermined. The atmosphere since 2001 has permitted Congress to
create whole new departments and agencies that purport to make us safer- always
at the expense of our liberty. But security and liberty go
hand-in-hand. Members of Congress, like too many Americans, don’t
understand that a society with no constraints on its government cannot be
secure. History proves that societies crumble when their governments
become more powerful than the people and private institutions.

It may be true that average Americans do not feel intimidated by the
encroachment of the police state. Americans remain tolerant of what they
see as mere nuisances because they have been deluded into believing total
government supervision is necessary and helpful, and because they still enjoy a
high level of material comfort. That tolerance may wane, however, as our
standard of living falls due to spiraling debt, endless deficit spending at home
and abroad, a declining fiat dollar, inflation, higher interest rates, and
failing entitlement programs. At that point attitudes toward omnipotent
government may change, but the trend toward authoritarianism will be difficult
to reverse.

Those who believe a police state can't happen here are poor students of
history. Every government, democratic or not, is capable of tyranny.
We must understand this if we hope to remain a free people.


Next up, we've got Fred Reed, with "Be Good, Chillun - Gitmo Gonna Getcha":

The new America. No checks, no balance. There’s no restraint on the power
of these people, and they know it. If you suggest that it is none of their
business why an American citizen is going to his country’s capital, at the very
least you miss your flight. You could easily end up in jail, and nobody would
know where you were. So you knuckle under. In, say, 1985 the difference between
a cowed citizen of Russia and an American was that the American had some degree
of recourse. That was then.

But does it matter? Maybe there is less of a market for this
Bill-of-Rights stuff than we thought. Maybe nobody cares, except self-interested
journalists scuttling in the shadows like cockroaches carrying some vile
disease. Give the people Budweiser, give them Oprah, and they’ll finesse the
details.

There’s money enough in the country now that government is more about
power than lucre. Pretty much everybody can have 300 channels and a shot at home
theater. Beer, T-and-A, a warm place to sleep, all the golf you can watch.
Nobody is going to take it away. It keeps the lid on. Just keep your mouth shut
and don’t lose the remote….

In Houston the speech-major voice gurgled from above, “Certain…measures
have been taken for your security….” Don’t make jokes. Report each other.
Vigilance.

For opposing viewpoints to this, there's plenty of warbloggers out there that'll try to convince you that it's more important to give civil rights to Iraqis than it is to secure them here at home. You know - it's for our own good. Just take your tax cut and buy some more beer and pay-per-view sporting events with it...

By the way, this post looks like crap be Blogger screws up the intentation on the quoted material. I have no idea how to fix it and if it's bothersome, then you should be clicking on the links and reading the whole article instead of the 5% that I thought was more important than the rest.


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