Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The New American Police State

In the comments below on my story about how the U.S. was a prison state with almost 1/4th of the world's prisoners despite having less than 5% of the world's population, Jazzbumpa linked to a guy in Chile who pointed out that the U.S. today looks an awful lot like Chile under Pinochet's police state. There is the same deal where if the President declares you to be an Enemy of the State (or a "terrorist organization"), then anybody who talks to you can similarly be jailed as an Enemy of the State. There is the rubber stamp judiciary which rubber stamps all actions of the Supreme Leaders when it comes to declaring Enemies of the State, and the same gulags into which people are disappeared if they are declared Enemies of the State. The forms differ (some of the gulags are outsourced overseas via "extraordinary rendition", for example), the Presidents change out from time to time, but the substance remains the same -- the United States is a police state.

So... why don't we hear more about this? Well, as I pointed out to JzB, it's because the majority of Americans want to live in a police state. It makes them feel safe, knowing that Big Brother Police State is busy beating down on "those" people -- you know, those people that make them feel uncomfortable, people who are dusky, people who advocate too stridently, people from other countries, people who are, well, NOT LIKE THEM. It's the same reason Saddam stayed in charge in Iraq. Yeah, he was a brutal dictator... but he kept the streets safe. As it turns out, the people of Iraq had plenty of guns and ammunition to overthrow Saddam if they'd so desired... but the majority of Iraqis wanted Saddam. And if Saddam had been an American President rather than Iraqi... the majority of Americans would have wanted him too.

WASF, yeah... but WASF because the majority of Americans are, to put it bluntly, fucking idiots who don't give a shit about democracy and freedom other than to give them occasional lip service. After all, who can worry about those sorts of things when there's a new episode of Survivor:Afghanistan on the air? Sheesh, priorities, folks, priorities, we'll worry about that whole "freedom" thing after we find out who gets voted off the helicopter!

- Badtux the Waddling Penguin


  1. The reality of your post has sunk in. Now I'm the one in need of some chocolate therapy.

  2. There is something else to the WASF than the perceived safety of a police state that reveals a sickness, if you ask me.

    Going to and occasionally living in other places,(Canada, Germany, France, Mexico) I noticed it is not skin color all on its own that sets Americans apart. It is an attitude---a coldness, a prissiness and an arrogant presumption. I think many Americans have been drinking the repression Kool-aid so long that most are afraid to have a real feeling or thought. And so they don't like anyone else who dares to do the same!

    Screw chocolate, lol, I need to immerse myself in a Mexican party for a while where the fun is the deal, not the display alone. I think we have forgotten, largely, how to be "real"....and that is precisely the word used by Germans to describe it to me.

    It is sad, I think, to be relieved that in Germany and Canada---I was mistaken for a German or Canadian. In France, they thought I was a German. In Mexico, they called me "the blonde" and asked me if I was "really" a North American. I often feel less at home here at home.

  3. There is an inevitable tension between security and freedom. And many people get totally side-tracked by bullshit. Universal health care means a loss of freedom in many people's minds. Of course, they get the regressive message drummed into their heads every day by Rush, Beck, and dozens of others. And they are energized by meaningless but highly emotional wedge issues like abortion and Teh GAYZ,

    Democracy takes effort, and an intelligent, informed electorate. I don't buy the Americans are stupid meme - at least not any more stupid than the human race in general. But we do have some rather special flaws - the concept of American exceptionalism being especially prominent. I think it stems, at least in part, from the myth of the rigged individual frontiersman. It primes the intellectual pump to accept Hayek and Ayn Rand.

    But fascism and/or a police state can happen anywhere. Our constitution has been protective over the years, but the 1st amendment under assault, the 2nd and 3rd are obsolete, the 4th is dead, the 5th can be circumvented by security needs, the 6th is meaningless when there are military tribunals, 7th not relevant, 8th was tortured to death, the penumbra of the 9th is fading, the 10th gives power "to the people" but I've never understood what that is supposed to mean.

    So - WASF,

  4. Well, it also does not help that we are still continuing the war on drugs fiasco in addition to the rather ridiculous laws and measures being passed in the name of catching and monitoring sex offenders. In both cases, flagrant violations of the constitution and law enforcement overreach have been justified while continuing to chase ghosts and bogeymen. As it is, I was shocked to find out that the supreme court ruled that sex offenders can be legally be held long after they have completed their sentence that was given to them during trial with the justification being that they might re-offend. This sounds eerily similar to thought crime.

    Whether or not sex offenders do indeed deserve life sentences is beyond the point but that should have been decided at sentencing. To arbitrarily keep somebody in jail after they have already served their sentence sets a dangerous precedent that can easily be abused for other crimes as well. Since illegal drugs and sex offenders cause strong emotions in the minds of many people, nobody objects when their rights are trampled, not realizing that it has just been made easier for legal abuses to take place when being arrested for any crime.

    Like "think of the children", the war on terrorism has served as a convenient way to excuse any idiotic or oppressive measure as it allows for the gutting of the constitution whenever it gets in the way. However, even before "terrorism" the "war on drugs" and "think of the children" we had the red scare and lots of draconian measures were approved in the name of keeping the "commies" at bay.

    The political structure of the US has always needed a nebulous concept such as "terrorists" or "communists" to help keep people in line for fear that they might pull their heads out of the sand long enough to realize just how fucked up things are and have been for a long time. These are just the latest paradigms of the day before we get as much panic and mileage off of them as we can before inventing another exaggerated threat to scare people with and take away their legal rights in the process.


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