Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Is America a Police State Yet?

Wendy McElroy, Contributor
Activist Post

If you need to ask the question, then the answer is “yes”. But that is a glib response and I do not feel glib about America's slide through the nine rings of political hell.

A police state is generally defined as a totalitarian government that exerts extreme and pervasive social, political and economic control over peaceful citizens.

Ayn Rand called it “the ultimate inversion...the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission.”

There are various ways to measure where a nation sits on the police-state axis.

One way is to compare what you see in America with the following standard description of a police state. A police state maintains its control through the pervasive surveillance of peaceful citizenry, through a vast number of laws with draconian enforcement, and by converting rights into privileges that can be withheld – for example, the ability to travel. Typically, there is a special police force, such as a Stasi, that operates with no transparency and few restraints. The special police do not address violent crime; instead, they exert social control and enforce the law whatever the law may be.

This describes America. Surveillance of daily life has soared; even the Supreme Court has consistently expanded the "right" of police to perform warrantless searches. A vast array of laws now  dictate the minutia of life, from what you may not eat to the light bulbs you may not use as well products you must buy (e.g. health care insurance). On one day in January alone, Obama issued 23 executive orders to start the process of gun control.   Enforcement is becoming every more draconian, with police departments pursuing militarization of their procedures and attitudes. A special police force called the Department of Homeland Security has spearheaded this military zeal; the DHS functions without transparency or accountability. Travel, formerly a right, is now a privilege granted by government agents at their whim.


Does the foregoing describe a free society or a police state?

Another way to judge the degree of totalitarianism is to answer yourself four questions:
  1. How many peaceful activities would make you a criminal if you did them? In his book Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, civil rights attorney Harvey Silverglate. argues convincingly that, “The average professional in this country [the US] wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague.” You are a felon whether or not you have done anything wrong.  
  2. How much of your life is spent working to pay taxes and other government fees? According to the watchdog Tax Foundation, in 2012 Americans worked “107 days into the year, from January 1 to April 17, to earn enough money to pay this year’s combined 29.2% federal, state, and local tax bill.” The figure hardly captures the scope of economic enslavement. The problem is not merely the taxes that consume a third of your life, it is also the unseen costs. For example, compliance with labyrinthine taxes and regulations costs small to middle-sized business 1 in every 3 dollars. This expense gets passed along to consumers while the benefit goes to the government.
  3. How freely can you relocate your assets and person outside state jurisdiction? There are at least three stages in the relocation of the most simple asset – money. You must establish a foreign account, get the money under your control and, then, transfer it. The easiest step should be to get your own money; after all, banks should be merely holding it for you. That step is far from easy. In an article entitled “Get Your Assets Out of the US NOW”, a relocation expert warns that the bank will “make a federal case out of it. Literally.” You will wait from five to ten days for the transaction to clear. The manager will “begin to ask you a lot of questions. She's required to do it.” He adds, “Here's the scary part. When you tell them you want to withdraw $100,000 in cash or wire it to a foreign bank, they are REQUIRED to file a SAR. They are PROHIBITED from telling you that they are filing it....They can freeze your account until they are satisfied that what you want to do with YOUR money is legitimate.” Those are just some of the problems arising at one stage of what should be the simplest part of relocating assets.[Editor's Note: This should help you realize how urgent that it is to relocate your assets while you still can.] 
  4. How freely can you use your assets and person within state jurisdiction? Circumstances vary so widely that everyone must answer for themselves.  
America is now a police state. How did this happen?

There are no simple answers, and it has happened over a long course of years. If there were a simple answer, then it would be: “War.” The war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on women...but, most of all, the war on terrorism.

Since 9/11 politicians have kept America in a whipped up-state of fear because it allows them to walk past the traditional protections of liberty that restrain the state. Authorities have been able to gut the institutions of society that shielded individual freedom and to replace them with institutions that promote the state instead.

An institution is "a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, such as marriage." Institutions can be roughly broken into two categories. Private sector institutions reflect the interactions and choices of individuals; they include the marketplace, the family, the press, and religion.

Public or state sector institutions reflect an attempt to control the interactions and choices of individuals; they include today's legal system, public education, regulatory agencies, and the current banking monopoly. A deep tension exists between the two categories because one can expand only at the expense of the other. For example, regulatory agencies grow by draining away control from individuals in the marketplace; public institutions feed on private ones until there is nothing left. They are able to do so because frightened people will surrender liberty for the illusion of safety.

The war on terror is an engineered hysteria. In its wake, the institutions of America have changed. Public ones have swelled in size and appetite; private ones have retreated. Some of the changes are so glaring that people noticed immediately. It is difficult not to notice the militarization of law enforcement when your children are lined up at airports and touched by uniformed strangers in a manner that would be called child molestation elsewhere. But the dehumanizing process is accepted in the name of security.

The foregoing scratches the surface of "how" a society becomes a total state. It does not explain the "why." Why do Americans who pride themselves on rugged individualism stand by and watch the triumph of totalitarianism?


One reason is because the behavior encouraged by institutions (such as obedience) tends to become character traits not only of individuals but also of society itself. And, so, society becomes closed rather than open; insensitive to brutality by authorities, and afraid of dissent. Rewarded by the authorities for doing so, people even come to spy on their neighbors as a civic duty of which they are proud.

Another common reason: people do not or prefer not to notice. Because they wake up in their own homes, eat the same breakfast cereal, work at the same job, they have a sense that everything is normal. They do not notice that the legal structure and other institutions that guarded their freedoms are going, going, gone. People who are accustomed to liberty can be blithely unaware of how important mechanisms like rule of law or due process are to their freedom and true safety. The daily  erosion of freedom is far less real to them than their daily routines.

The difference between America and a communist regime lay in its institutional protection of the individual against the state. That difference no longer exists.

Wendy McElroy is a renowned individualist anarchist and individualist feminist. She was a co-founder along with Carl Watner and George H. Smith of The Voluntaryist in 1982, and is the author/editor of twelve books, the latest of which is "The Art of Being Free". Follow her work at http://www.wendymcelroy.com.


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10 comments:

Anonymous said...

A large factor in creating a society where private enterprise is squashed, and state control is magnified, is the nature of the corporation. Everyone 'knows' how big corporations become arrogant, indifferent, and answerable only to their preferred share holders. Look at the product or service of any company which has "gone public" for proof. The larger and more monopolistic they become, the worse they become. What many don't realize is virtually all of our government bodies are corporations as well: towns "incorporate"; states and institutions become virtual persons with constitutional rights, and even such venerable abstracts as the US congress, the office of the presidency, and your local police department are equities traded on some exchange or other (look up the D&B rating on any entity for examples).

It is this bizarre notion of minting virtualized two-dimensional copies of real things- companies, people, governments- and granting the copy all possible benefits at the expense of the health and well being of the reality after which it is patterned, which has done so much to depersonalize our society, culture, and institutions. The heartless excuse that "It's nothing personal, it's just business.", has become the banner under which all sorts of depravity flourish. Until that changes, the self-perpetuating nature of the corporation will only ensure more of the same- and worse.

Anonymous said...

The answer is YES.

Good article, this summarizes it very well.

"America is now a police state. How did this happen?
There are no simple answers, and it has happened over a long course of years. If there were a simple answer, then it would be: “War.” The war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on women...but, most of all, the war on terrorism."


The power of propaganda from Hollywood and the education system were the long term slow projects that yielded the biggest changes in people. They continue to be two of the biggest factors in our voluntary enslavement.

Anonymous said...

Our politicians, not our government, have become for-profit entities, the government acts upon the desires of these bought and paid for career politicians, each acting on behalf of their special interest benefactors-

It is time for armed insurrection, and it will indeed make things much, much worse for everyone, at first.

You cannot build a strong house on top of a rotten, worm infested foundation of an old barn, you must first tear down the barn completely in order to build a strong foundation.

Hide Behind said...

The US has been a police state beginning in 1940,s and began morphing into its present state of being a Totalitary State backed by immence policing power.
One cannot say that ameticans were not informed enough to prevent its happening but that those who were informed were too busy playing with each others mental exersize.
It is like thinking that if you talk about a problem it will just go away.
Today American masses still live the lies that began being told to them in the 1940 era; not that we were not maipulated and lied to by our political and financial interest in the past but we were like children loving adventure and romantic bedtimes stories and they spun our hitoey to fit their needs.
The exposure of how Germany under the banner of National Socialism became such an industrial and militarily powerfull nation in such a short period of time was not lost upon our military/political/Industrial leadership
That and the ease at which even prior to the war by which the public allowed themselves to be directed by powers in DC.; New Deal, CCC, etc.
Ikes massive Highway and freeway building project eas for military defensive purpors and mainly for buisness and vorposte interest, but was sold as jobs and gor the peoples vonvenience.
Highly successfull this just helped the idea that a society as a whole could be reshaped or shaped into something new.
This was point that lies instead of as old lies that largely ffid not invade home or ones civil liberties and eere mainly monetary chicanery no the new lies had an objective and it was not benign at all upon the american populace, quite the opposite.
Psycology became the rage and combined with advertising which is more or less consumer propaganda the proof of Goebels telling lies long and big enough worked the police dtate took off in ernest.
There has been no slowdown since and one of biggest lies of all is by liberals who claim they ended Viet War and got Rights for those of color.
We continue to addd more lies by them but mostly by the ones we tell ourselves, that we live in a nation and each of us control our own destiny.
We got on the train willingly and did not know the destination and were satisfied because they told us not to worry they would let you know when you got there.
Today you know and if you don' t then tough luck and continue listening to the conductors.

Anonymous said...

I don't think most Americans will accept they live in a police state until they see something like another Kent University shooting, several times the number, by police, who then walk away excused and not even asked to explain brutal murder. I think Jesse Ventura said similar.

Anonymous said...

12:14

From tricky Dick Nixon.

"The American people don't believe anything until they see it on television"


Grind Behind made a really good point the other day. He said;

hte americn yes black and white, demonik, hine behine, and the history books tell us about our inadbleh and of course the yhrdh. But this is not all, because of the Fedrlr Rsirvce and the mondy changgers and the xontist.
ighly successfull this just helped the idea that a society as a whole could be reshaped or shaped into something new.
This was point that lies instead of as old lies that largely ffid not invade home or ones civil liberties and eere mainly monetary chicanery no the new lies had an objective and it was not benign at all upon the american populace, quite the opposite.
Psycology became the rage and combined with advertising which is more or less consumer propaganda the proof of Goebels telling lies long and big enough worked the police dtate took off in ernest.
ONe morrre ting, if the peopel get too closs to importnent discusiion of Amricn issure. Then we show ip to dumb dowwn the convershatin. Get it.
And remembr, avbove all helse:
hat we were not maipulated and lied to by our political and financial interest in the past but we were like children loving adventure and romantic bedtimes stories and they spun our hitoey to fit .

Thank you for your time and attention.
Hine Behine.

Anonymous said...

@ Hide Behind - "Psychology became the rage and combined with advertising which is more or less consumer propaganda the proof of Goebbels telling lies long and big enough worked the police state took off in earnest."[spelling errors corrected]

I'm not entirely sure what you are saying here, but in regards to Goebbels' comments about the "big lie technique" it is important to note that he was speaking about the Bolshevik/Soviet propaganda system at the time.

Just as how Hitler's outlining of the Bolshevik propaganda system in Mein Kampf is twisted around today to say "Hitler outlined the Nazi propaganda system" Goebbels' comments are also twisted back on himself, simply by way of the stigma of being an "evil Nazi".

I still don't understand how when practically every German home had a copy of Mein Kampf supposedly "outlining the Nazi propaganda system" in great detail the large majority of Germans still supposedly fell victim to that propaganda despite being well aware of it all.

The big lie technique was provably used by the Allies not the Germans(I'm sure they probably did but it's not provable), and is still used to this day by the U.S.A and NATO on a regular basis - see Iraq's WMD's, Qaddafi's viagra stoked rapist army, Syria's WMD's soon to be "false-flagged", the 9/11 cover-up, the Gulf of Tonkin "incident", etc.

Heck, the fact the media keeps telling people the economic storm will "blow over" and everything will be fine while their economic ship is already taking on water and going down fast is probably the best example.

It's ironic that people have been so conditioned as to believe that a man exposing propaganda techniques of his enemies is guilty of the same things himself simply for talking about it.

Yet when a man like Kommandant Hoss is tortured into "confessing" about non-existent camps(Wolzek) and mass-murders of 4 million Romanian Jews that didn't exist(about 10x the number of Jews that were in Romania in 1940) and claims a death toll for his camp at almost 3 million higher than the official camp death-toll(up to 1.5 million according to the Auschwitz State Museum) these blatant falsities/lies are ignored and his testimony in general is deemed "truthful".

Someone who exposed certain lies and systems of lying of his enemies is deemed a liar himself almost by default, but someone who filled his "confessions" of alleged war-crimes with PROVABLE lies is accepted as still being honest, because his lies are needed to shore up the official propaganda.

Ridiculous. It's no wonder the NWO has had such an easy time setting everything up over the past half century, as Hitler said the people just do not think and the governments and PTB's thank god for that.

Just the other day I had someone use the term "Nazi" like a dozen times while questioning me about "what the hell a National Socialist German Workers Party is"... the biggest war in human history and many people only know one of the forces in the war by a derogatory slang name and have no clue what they actually stood for.

The details of history like that aren't important, eh? Just as long as you know they were evil and we are good, and keep sipping the koolaid and letting your money be stolen and taxed into non-existence that is all that matters. [/sarcasm]

To paraphrase an old saying "those who don't know history are bound to repeat it... without even knowing it".

Peace,
Jonny

HereAmI said...

It is important to define acronyms before using them; SAR therefore is defined as "Suspicious Activity Report".
The US is now under Noahide law, defined as, and equivalent to, Talmudic Law. You will have seen many photographs of the ravens of Judaism clustering around the incumbent of the Oval Office, and thereby inferred his presumed compliance with their dictates. The Judaic rabbi delights in the micro-management of everyone else's affairs above all else; this supplies him with his authority and raison d'etre; in the Bible these wretched creatures confronted the Creator of the universe, amongst other things, about his failure to wash His hands before eating.
And were comprehensively rebuked by Him.
Similarly, they attempt to exert control through fear of consequence. Thus a woman is informed by the rabbis that if she does not light the Sabbath candles exactly as required by their traditions, then she will give birth to a deformed or damaged baby; similarly if she has "relations" with a man whilst partially at least in her monthly condition.
The author of this article is described as an "individual feminist"; which is a divisive concept. She should know that division between groups is one of the ways utilized by the authorities to weaken the resistance of the whole; another example being the artificial Democrat / Republican dichotomy; the Christian / Moslem dichotomy, etc.
Given that the rabbis who control her world are vicious misogynists, she should perhaps review her commitment to feminism, and ask perhaps rather what the rabbis are seeking to do by encouraging her in her misguided philosophy.
Tim Webb.

wishbone said...

if america is'nt a police state yet, dont worry it wont be long before it is.! britain too. time to wake up people.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, America is an illiterate State.

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