What Makes a Police State?

How do you know your country is no longer free?

There has been a paranoid streak in American political life as long as there's been such a thing.  Patrick Henry famously "smelled a rat" at the 1789 Constitutional Convention, fearing that rather than tinker with the Articles of Confederation as they'd been commissioned to do, the end result would be a far more powerful central government which would appropriate powers previously belonging to the states.

As the saying goes, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you: Patrick Henry's fears were spot on.  Our Constitution did in fact create a much more powerful central government than had the Articles of Confederation; Henry vehemently opposed ratification of the Constitution and George Washington's Federalist policies.

The French Revolution, however, illustrated that there are times when you actually want some degree of central power; Mr. Henry changed his tune, and by his death was a staunch defender of the centralizing features of our Federal government.  He wound up excoriating the anti-Federalism of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, saying that their stroppiness would lead to civil war - yet another well-justified fear of the prescient Governor Henry.

Today, we are surrounded by overweening government on all sides.  Our Federal government intrudes into domains properly the prerogative of the states.  Our states meddle in issues best handled by local towns or counties; and government at all levels increasingly dominates aspects of daily life where it has no business at all.  Any one of us can be arrested at any time for violating one of the myriads of laws we've mostly never even heard of.  Are we living in a police state?

More to the point, when do you know you're living in a police state?  Yes, we regularly see reports of people harshly punished for petty offenses, but it's still quite rare.  Every government will be oppressive sometimes; where does it cross the line?

Uh... not really.

Rule by Laws, Not Men?

The first response might be, that a police state rules by fiat of the powerful and not by law.  Certainly there are plenty of examples of totalitarian states that work exactly this way: North Korea and Stalin's Russia operated according to the commands of the dictator, nothing more, nothing less.  Modern Africa is stuffed with countries where there is nothing resembling the law; if you're a friend of the President-for-Life, you can get away with anything, and if not, you can suffer any sort of abuse at the hands of anyone who is.  Obviously, the secret police of such a nation have no accountability to the people and are feared and dreaded by everyone save their masters.

An absence of the law is not a requirement of a police state.  Nazi Germany was the ultimate police state, and yet the Nazis were absolute sticklers for the rule of law.

Hitler didn't seize power; he was legally elected and the legally elected legislature formally granted him his dictatorial powers by properly passing a law to that effect.  Germany's Jews weren't randomly whisked off to Dachau; they were collected in a highly organized and bureaucratic fashion, in strictest accordance with various highly discriminatory laws all properly formatted and published just like any other law.  Things got a little less orderly towards the end of the war, but that tends to happen in a country that's being utterly defeated and mashed flat by invading armies.

What made Nazism evil wasn't its violation of the laws of Germany; Nazism was the law of Germany, and most Nazi secret police followed their laws scrupulously including proper testimony and convictions in court before a judge.  The laws broken by the Nazis, in the view of the victorious Allies and most of the world, was the higher moral law of the God of the Bible, "Thou shalt not murder" among other things.

Yes, the Nazi concentration camp guards were "just following orders," apparently lawful ones no less.  The victorious allies argued that they should have known that those laws were immoral and thus invalid; the gas chambers were violations of what would now be called human rights, and which our Founders called "the laws of Nature and of Nature's God."

Of course, that logic works when most relevant nations and their peoples recognize the existence and authority of that particular God.  It doesn't work well when you are dealing with nations that don't recognize a God at all, like Soviet Russia or Communist China.  It doesn't work at all with nations whose god commands:

Prophet, make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home.

- Surah 9:73

Safe at Home?

So let's confine ourselves to our country, America, and to our common well-understood American culture which, like it or not, is heavily based on Judeo-Christian traditions and moral philosophy.  Are we a police state, and if not, what are we?

Stunningly, there actually are places in the United States where we are very close to a police state: our airports.  The TSA has demonstrated every aspect, save two, of the worst abuses of any totalitarian secret police:

  • Innocence is no defense - all are equally subject to TSA predation without conviction, or even probable-cause suspicion, of any crime.
  • Proportionality is not required.  No, it's not totally impossible that a disabled grandmother or a white American baby's dirty diaper might be used to smuggle a bomb onto a plane, but it is vanishingly unlikely.  Yet the TSA proudly acts as if each and every passenger is, not a potential suicide bomber, but a probable one, based on the entirely subjective whim of the individual in uniform.  Rather than hairy unwashed young Muslim men, TSA agents seem to prefer detailed "inspections" of pretty girls - funny about that.
  • Escape is not permitted.  Apparently, once you have entered a TSA inspection line you cannot change your mind and leave; you must put up with whatever treatment they choose to mete out to you, or suffer imprisonment and/or a fine.
  • Public opinion is irrelevant.  The American people have loudly made their anger at TSA practices known, and yet the TSA blithely commands that we suck it up.  Former Assistant TSA Admin on Security Checkpoints Mo McGowan openly stated that the TSA has no intention of abiding by the Fourth Amendment: "Nobody likes to have their 4th Amendment violated going through a security line, but truth of the matter is, we're gonna have to do it."
  • The TSA routinely performs acts that in any other context would be criminal.  We only reluctantly allow convicted felons to be subjected to intrusive physical searches, yet the TSA can sexually assault anyone without fear of consequence.

There are, however, as yet two highly relevant distinctions between the TSA and the Gestapo: the TSA is so far unarmed, and thus cannot simply gun you down where you stand.  Also, while they can have you imprisoned, they can do so only briefly; everyone we've ever heard of who's tangled with them has either been promptly freed or received their day in court.

Of course, entering an airport is a somewhat voluntary act.  A free people should not have to fear the freedom of transportation, but given that the TSA's mini-police-state can be successfully avoided at the cost of some inconvenience, clearly America as a whole is not a police state.  At least not yet.

The Famous Slippery Slope

Without exception, every single government and police force is going to commit abuses; it's human nature.  In a nation of 300 million people, there's no possible way to avoid the occasional innocent being shredded in a hail of gunfire any more than we can create a system where absolutely no innocent people wind up behind bars or executed.

You could argue that it's the intent that matters - in America, innocents usually wind up harmed despite the best efforts of the system, whereas in Nazi Germany, it was the express goal of the government to harm innocent Jews.

Where do you specify the level of authority?  In the infamous Duke lacrosse rape case, District Attorney Mike Nifong - the official representation of lawful authority - clearly cared nothing for the facts or justice and the falsely-accused students must have felt that they were living in a police state.

As it happened, through sheer dogged persistence, the truth came out, the innocents were freed, and Nifong wound up behind bars instead though only for one day.  He was, in the words of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, a "rogue prosecutor" - he wasn't just another cog in an overtly unjust machine.

Nevertheless, the powers Nifong wielded are frightening in their scope - he withheld and destroyed evidence, lied to the media and others, and for many months got away with it unquestioned by any save the families of the accused.  Clearly, our justice systems are not immune to misuse by an evil individual.

What of the police who arrested and imprisoned the lacrosse players?  They certainly did nothing wrong: they exercised a lawful arrest warrant signed by a proper judge and delivered by the duly designated authority.  Yet, entirely unintentionally, they were abetting an injustice.

Random Injustice or Systematic Injustice?

Don't overlook the massive differences between the Duke story and any real police state: there was no torture or murder, they had their day in court, and justice somewhat prevailed.  As an illustration of what can happen here and now, however, the Duke lacrosse rape case is relevant.

Once every now and then is one thing, but we read more and more often of such injustices.  The pages of Scragged are filled with accounts of individuals receiving unjust sentences, being persecuted by officials who themselves admit that there's no real crime but "their hands are tied," and of a government entirely unresponsive to public protest no matter how great.

Are our policemen Nazis?  Of course not.  Are their bosses Nazis?  Equally, of course not.

Yet it is equally clear that our government is becoming more and more accustomed to ignoring the protests of the public and to doing what it thinks best regardless.

Some of the time, that might actually be best, as in whisking captured foreign terrorists off to Guantanamo out of the reach of American courts and lawyers.  Other times less so, as in the continued existence of the TSA.  Either way, it's a very bad and dangerous habit for any government to get into.

It's an even worse habit for the people to get in the habit of deference to obviously illegitimate government decrees.

If the American people simply refused to tolerate the TSA's abuses, they would stop.

If the American people refused to acknowledge or obey the bans on light bulbs and flush toilets, as they generally refuse to obey speed limits, the power of intrusive government would be beaten back by popular force.

If the American people all, or mostly, took that attitude that "You can have my guns when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers," gun control advocates would be helpless.

They don't, and thus far, normal politics have availed us very little.  There still is scope for normal politics, we hope.  We haven't seen peaceful protesters gunned down in the streets as we do in true police states, nor even imprisoned for any great length of time.

And perhaps that's the greatest indicator of being in a police state: the police openly and freely assault those who peacefully protest their abuses, there is no redress from higher authorities, and the incidents become regularly repeated in a consistent way so we know they're not just a one-off.

Until that time comes, there's hope.  Of course, once we've reached that point and we know where we are, it's probably too late even to personally escape.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Petrarch or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

Very well said. Gotta bookmark this one for that bullet list defining police states.

I think TSA was the first step that America took heading in the direction of a police state.

The second is the new precedent of sheriffs declaring that they can inspect homes "for emergency situations" without a warrant.

We have a long way to go to actually become a real police state (if one has any objective view of history) but it doesn't mean it isn't possible.

I suspect that TSA will be shut down in the next decade. In my lifetime, I have never seen a function of government more hated and despised in such a unanimous way.

August 3, 2011 10:12 AM

Oh Psha...America a police state? Surely you jest. This is the "land of the free, the home of the brave...why God gave his grace to thee. Don't you see that Red White and Blue still waves?

And after all. I don't see any funny little men with funny littel mustaches running around in DC in high boots and arm bands. I don't see any swasikas added to Old Glory, as a matter of fact I know not one police department carries Lugars in their holsters.

No no no, until you see high goose stepping straight arm zeek hylers marching through our country t'is of thee, you can be assured this is no police state.

God Bless America.

August 3, 2011 11:23 AM

"What no one seemed to notice was the ever widening gap between the government and the people.

And it became always wider.....the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think....for people who did not want to think anyway gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about.....and kept us so busy with continuous changes and 'crises' and so fascinated.....by the machinations of the 'national enemies,' without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us.....

Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, 'regretted,' that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these 'little measures'.....must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing.....

Each act is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.

You don't want to act, or even talk, alone.....you don't want to 'go out of your way to make trouble.' But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.

That's the difficulty.

The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed.

You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father.....could never have imagined."

--- Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955)

August 3, 2011 11:37 AM

Get your facts straight. The Germans did not vote Hitler into power. Hindenberg appointed him chancellor in January 1933. Hindenburg had been persuaded by his son and Franz von Papen, that Hitler could be controlled and that if anything went wrong, then Hitler and the Nazis would get the blame thus damaging their political standing in Germany. Von Papen hoped that he would set the political agenda and that Hitler would simply agree to this.
In February 1933, the Reichstag building was burned down. Hitler told the ageing president that it was the work of the communists in Germany and that he, as president, should introduce emergency powers which Hitler would loyally carry out. Hindenburg readily agreed. Hitler also knew how to play on the president’s fear of communism. The introduction of emergency powers – lawful under the constitution – was the start of Hitler’s move to a dictatorship. http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/paul_von_hindenburg.htm

August 3, 2011 11:40 AM

A young woman was given a jaywalking ticket because she stepped out of the crosswalk to let a man in a wheelchair pass. The charges were dropped by the judge. The peace officer laughed at the lady as she walked from the courtroom.

in 2002 there were 80,000 laws passed in this nation and its various subdivisions. Of how many are you aware? Of how many laws and regulations passed by your city or town passed in the last year are you aware?

At any time you can receive a summons to appear in front of a judge to defend yourself against a bogus charge. We are no longer innocent until proven guilty. We are guilty and must, at the whim of a man or woman with a badge and a gun, prove our innocence. We can be accused of breaking a law that doesn't even exist and be advised by a judge, who is a member of the local, state, national, and international bar association to advance the good of the brotherhood.

The famous quote by a lawyer, Abe Lincoln, "The man who represents himself, has a fool for a client" does not mean that the hired lawyer does not have a fool for a client, nor does it mean that one should hire an attorney.

A prime example of the lawyers lies is the Miranda Ruling. In order to comply with Amendment VI of our Constitution, the Miranda Ruling states that an accused will be provided with a lawyer. Amendment VI does not state such a thing. It states, ... "[A]nd to have the assistance of counsel for his defence." There is nothing in the Constitution that guarantees one have an attorney. "assistance of counsel", does not mean an attorney. It means "assistance of counsel". But we are taught in school that we can have an attorney if we choose. It is still a choice.

There are, at any given time, 20 ARMED POLICE FORCES in Clark County, Nevada. How many are there in your county?

The suggestion that we just quit complying with the TSA is a good one. There is no meeting so important that we cannot attend, except, perhaps out own funeral. If every airplane trip were canceled over the next two weeks, and those who use the airline services vowed to refuse to fly unless the TSA is disbanded, the TSA would be disbanded. The businesses involved would see to that, after all it is all about "making money".

If no business owner renewed his business license in the local jurisdiction, the business license department would go by the way.

If no one purchased insurance for his/her car, the requirement that auto insurance be purchased, would go by the way. If no one registered his or her automobile with the State, the requirement would go away.

A police state does not necessarily require a bunch of dimwits in uniforms and carrying guns must be in evidence everywhere. Although that is the situation in the United States of America. There are armed, uniformed men and women patrolling the halls of our elementary schools. Here in Southern Nevada there are armed men and women on some of the Public Transportation Buses. Of course, you won't see them on the "Strip" buses. That would be bad for tourism. But the locals get to see them regularly.

There are police patrolling our parks, our schools, and even watching the churches. The police go into the private parking lots to check out any "suspicious" vehicles.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 3, 2011 12:29 PM

But there is a difference between a "real police state" and a baby pretend police state, according to Ifon and I suppose this jumbled screed by Petrarch is in agreement with that {although I am having a hard time making sense of some of this article}...

The Patriot Act 2001 [USA] a high tech version of The Enabling Act 1933 [Germany]

No. 1: The government can conduct "sneak and peek" searches in which agents enter your home or business and search your belongings without informing you until long after.

No. 2: Government agents can force libraries and bookstores to hand over the titles of books that you1ve purchased or borrowed and can demand the identity of anyone who has purchased or borrowed certain books. The government can also prosecute libraries and bookstores for informing you that the search occurred or even for informing you that an inquiry was made. such searches extend to doctors offices, banks and other institutions which, like libraries, were previously off-limits under the law

No. 3: Federal agents are authorized to use hidden devices to trace the telephone calls or emails of people who are not even suspected of a crime. The FBI is also permitted to use its Magic Lantern technology to monitor everything you do on your computer--recording not just the websites you visit but EVERY SINGLE KEYSTROKE as well.

No. 4: Government agents are permitted to arrest and detain individuals "suspected" of terrorist activities and to hold them INDEFINITELY, WITHOUT CHARGE, and WITHOUT an ATTORNEY. (That could be you or me for sending or receiving this Email, by the way)

No. 5: Federal agents are permitted to conduct full investigations of American citizens and permanent legal residents simply because they have participated in activities protected by the First Amendment, such as writing a letter to the editor or attending a peaceful rally.

No. 6: Law enforcement agents are permitted to listen in on discussions between prisoners and their attorneys, thus denying them their Constitutional right to confidential legal counsel.

No. 7: Terrorism suspects may be tried in secret military tribunals where defendants have no right to a public trial, no right to trial by jury, no right to confront the evidence, and no right to appeal to an independent court. In short, the Constitution does not apply.

No. 8: The CIA is granted authority to spy on American citizens, a power that has previously been denied to this international espionage organization.

************************This is of course now ten years ago and things have progressed exponentially under the Obama regime.

August 3, 2011 12:40 PM

"If no business owner renewed his business license in the local jurisdiction, the business license department would go by the way"

But not before the owner's business went away.

"If no one purchased insurance for his/her car, the requirement that auto insurance be purchased, would go by the way."

But not before their car was impounded, their license revoked, and/or they were put in jail for driving without a license.

I'm not trying to snipe at you here, Robert. I agree with your sentiment.

For instance, I have steadfastly refused to fly since TSA was put into effect. (To the extent I can refuse. Some business requirements mandate it.) In most cases, I have either driven or taken trains. For vacation, I have driven or taken trains as much as possible.

If enough of us do this, airlines will suffer, their pollsters will see why and TSA will be ended.

The other part though - refusing to follow the law - won't work because there aren't enough people doing it at the same time such that it has any effect beyond landing each of the few people that DO do it in jail.

Everyone will rightly say "you first".

I have kids to feed and employees to pay. I'm not going to jail as a lone wolf unless I am confident that hundreds of thousands are all doing the same thing I am at the exact same time. Otherwise, I hurt the ones I love for nothing.

August 3, 2011 12:47 PM

Dorothy, you're technically correct that Germans did not directly vote Hitler into power, but your implication is wrong. Weimar Germany had a hybrid presidential/parliamentary system, with both an elected president and a prime-minister-like chancellor.

Hitler ran for president and lost.

The Nazi Party ran candidates for parliament, and basically won - they didn't have a majority, but they were much the largest party, and on that basis Hitler demanded and got the chancellorship. Things went downhill from there.

Obviously Hitler played dirty pool, intentionally fomenting violence and fear. But I've never read that he actually directly cheated in the voting itself.

So, given the way a parliamentary system works, it is indeed accurate to say that the Germans voted Hitler into power, albeit indirectly. It is even more accurate to say that Hitler was given dictatorial powers by a lawful act of the lawfully elected parliament.

Here's a pretty good summation of the process:


You can find even more detail in the work referenced, William Shirer's seminal The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

August 3, 2011 12:48 PM

Then there came this little piece of draconia from the Ashcroft "Justice" department, which was leaked and became an embarassment at the time - so it was withdrawn and never put before Congress. But as we will see, these things and even more have been snuck into law by riders on other bills, or via executive fiat in the use of "Executive Orders."

Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003

Provisions of the draft version included:

>Removal of court-ordered prohibitions against police agencies spying on domestic groups.

>The Federal Bureau of Investigation would be granted powers to conduct searches and surveillance based on intelligence gathered in foreign countries without first obtaining a court order.

>Creation of a DNA database of suspected terrorists.

>Prohibition of any public disclosure of the names of alleged terrorists including those who have been arrested.

>Exemptions from civil liability for people and businesses who voluntarily turn private information over to the government.

>Criminalization of the use of encryption to conceal incriminating communications.

>Automatic denial of bail for persons accused of terrorism-related crimes, reversing the ordinary common law burden of proof principle. Persons charged with terrorists acts would be required to demonstrate why they should be released on bail rather than the government being required to demonstrate why they should be held.

>Expansion of the list of crimes eligible for the death penalty.

>The Environmental Protection Agency would be prevented from releasing "worst case scenario" information to the public about chemical plants.

>United States citizens whom the government finds to be either members of, or providing material support to, terrorist groups could have their citizenship revoked and be deported to foreign countries.

Many provisions of this act have been tacked onto other bills such as the Senate Spending bill and subsequently passed.

August 3, 2011 12:53 PM


In the final hours before adjourning in 2006, Congress passed and the president signed the Military Commissions Act (MCA). In doing so, they cast aside the Constitution and the principle of habeas corpus, which protects against unlawful and indefinite imprisonment. They also gave the president absolute power to designate enemy combatants, and to set his own definitions for torture.

Habeas corpus isn't a fancy legal term. It's the freedom from being thrown in prison illegally, with no help and no end in sight. No president should ever be given the power to call someone an enemy, wave his hand, and lock them away indefinitely. The Founders made the president subject to the rule of law. They rejected dungeons and chose due process.

The MCA eliminates the constitutional due process right of habeas corpus for detainees at Guantánamo Bay and elsewhere. It allows our government to continue to hold hundreds of prisoners for more than five years without charges.

It also gives any president the power to declare — on his or her own — who is an enemy combatant, decide who should be held indefinitely without being charged with a crime and define what is — and what is not — torture and abuse.

As anyon paying the slightest bit of attention the executive power has been increased even beyond this vile level of draconian tripe in that the president may now designate any person on the planet a target for summery execution. Anyone, anywhere anytime and with utter secrecy.
Such things have always been done covertly. But that this is now established and accepted "Law" is not a harbinger of tyranny - it is tyranny in the present tense. And only one signal of a myriad thereof.

August 3, 2011 1:40 PM

Just in light of the situation established in the posts I have added here so far, I cannot grasp how anyone of sound mind cannot see that the structure of a maximum security police state is now in effect.

The question then becomes, has this been put into effect just for the hell of it? Or has policy been put to action?

Again, to the sane and lucid mind the answer is obivious.

Then whence derives the mystery of the delusional minds that do not see what is clearly before their very eyes?

I have addressed this before on these pages. I has to do with the Propaganda Regime that controls the thought processes of the masses.
It is in fact this tyranny over the mind that is the foundation of the tyranny now manifest.

It is hopeless to address the enchanted minds of those left in the trance of such overwhelming mind control - as is evinced on these pages every day.

August 3, 2011 1:54 PM

Ifon & Robert,
In regard to the TSA there is something that can be done about it. I applaud Ifon's idea of everyone refusing to fly for 2 weeks, that would be something doable with out a lot of negatives on the participants. The question is implementation, how does one go about getting this done? I think that if 2 week boycott got some momentum perhaps even the airlines would join in. What would you do? Take a 2 week time frame in the future, say Jan 10-24 and declare it a "no fly zone"? Start a web site stating the objectives clearly and concisely? Begin with one person sending out emails to his/her group of people asking that they do the same? It's an idea worth pursuing. If this were to work it is an avenue that could be used again for other abusive that the government imposes on us.

August 3, 2011 2:12 PM

An excellent idea, bassboat!! Perhaps Scragged could put up the site? :-)

August 3, 2011 2:14 PM

As I stated in my remarks on the article Petrarch previous to this, all of the police stat structure put in place - especially from 9/11 forward have created an active police state, but that it has been managed in a subtle manner and spun by media into that fog of mental oblivion that is it's true purpose.

I explained how historically such draconian measures are applied 'drip by drip' {as explained so clearly in the opening of the essay 'They Thought They Were Free}. I also explained that the open harsh reactionary pogroms historically begin in earnest during an engineered economic upheaval. This is why I assert the US Police State is now on that very brink.

I am far from alone in that assessment. I yield the floor to Dr. Ron Paul:

"The most dangerous consequence could arise as the pain of US citizens reaches the kind of fever pitch that results in political and social chaos. The increasingly broke federal government will find itself unable to fund domestic and international commitments, and – with an air of desperation – will instead leverage the issue of social unrest to apply draconian measures under the cover of maintaining law and order."

As Dr. Paul says word-for-word, “the ultimate trap will be set for a system of government claiming to protect a free society.” The feds, enforcing new power and authority will become what he describes as a “lethal threat” to civil liberties. Ironically, it’s likely to be US citizens themselves that clamor for new enforcement measures to be used before recognizing – too late – the nature of the trap.

A video of a new talk by Congressman Paul is available at this URL:



August 3, 2011 2:34 PM

Let us be clear: The United States is *not* a police state. I, for example, traveled between several states, bought a car, drove it home, and registered it to myself with an acceptable amount of paperwork (if not cost or tax.) At no time did I have to show compulsory identification papers, and as far as any one of the relevant governments - or any others - is concerned, none of them have any idea I ever left. I personally know many people who lived in East Germany and other Soviet Bloc and this sort of unimpeded travel was unheard of in the 1950s and '60s.

Given the fact that travel is one of those things most quickly restricted as a state tightens its grip, I think this is worth mentioning. So, too, is this very site: were this an actual police state in the manner of all those which have gone before, this site would either be inaccessible within the United States or simply wouldn't exist. Its managers, owners, and many posters would simply be made to disappear. Yet here we sit, prattling on about such matters without fear of serious contradiction, let alone any real sanction.

- * - * -

At the same time, however, it is vital that we acknowledge that this is also *not* a free country. One very simple example I spotted recently involved a radio commercial in which a car's message center "spoke" to its driver: "Seat belt ..on. Seat belt ..ON. Seat belt ..*ON!* ...Good driver!" and then heard that it was paid for by the Department of Transportation. I'm being taxed in order that I might be lectured as though I'm a naughty child. That infuriates me.

Somewhere between 20% and 50% of the income of most people simply vanishes in the form of taxes; traffic and public surveillance cameras are proliferating in some areas, beaten back in others; I cannot paint my house any color I wish; I have to pay ransom in the form of property taxes to keep various governmental entities away; if I am informed against in a drug case, my home might be invaded and trashed without apology or compensation even if no evidence is found; and the government insists I inform them whenever I conduct personal business with another consulting adult.

So no, this is indeed *not* a free nation, and that is chiefly in economic affairs. But a police state? No. That is still a long way off. And that's why now is the time to stop these trends and reverse them.

August 3, 2011 2:38 PM

Thank you for your clarification, Willy. I'm glad to see that we agree: we have many of the structures required for a police state, but we are not in fact a police state as of yet.

Which was precisely my point.

August 3, 2011 2:39 PM

"Willy. I'm glad to see that we agree: we have many of the structures required for a police state, but we are not in fact a police state as of yet."~Petrarch

Are you purposely misconsruing my words Petrarch, or playing the same rhetorical games Ifon is so fond of?

I clearly stated it the very first sentence from the post you draw your quote from:

'..all of the police state structure put in place - especially from 9/11 forward *have created an active police state*, but that it has been managed in a subtle manner and spun by media into that fog of mental oblivion that is it's true purpose.'~2:34 PM

I assure you, I am not seeking a synthesis here between your ideas and mine. I am not here to go along with the crowd and compromise my thinking.

For you to assume that because there is not yet blood flowing in the streets, and populations being round up and taken to the FEMA camps that sit waiting their arrival, that this is not that active police state I referred to, you are naive to the point of suicidal.

And I can only assume that when even these extreme measures are taking place that you will again adjust your thinking and attend to more of this jejune apologia you seem so intent on providing.
Anything to keep your head under the covers in denial - until you to hear your doors being bashed down.

And to address Brother John's entire post with this simple point - the regimes you refer to; "East Germany and other Soviet Bloc...in the 1950s and '60s," had ALREADY gone through the pogroms and extremitis of finalization of their police states.

Too expect some exact template of some historical example as set in stone is not rational. The US is already under control mentally - as is quite obvious on this particular site.

You believe that your trip went by undetected by the state. Not so, if you were to become "a person of interest," everything you did on your trip to buy your car has been recorded, and would be available for purusal by the "appropriate agencies" at the push of a few buttons. It is all waiting their in the digital records.

August 3, 2011 3:42 PM

An important point I must add to the previous post; I don not mean that I am not interested in a friendly discussion here, I simply mean that I am not interested in compromising on my thinking to please, and get along here.

If I make any consessions it will be because I am persuaded by reason.

It must be admitted that consensus is always a temporary achievement.
All is in flux and nothing is decided until we enclose our minds in dogma. and even then, our belief that there is a permanent consensus is but a fantasy.

August 3, 2011 4:30 PM

"...nothing is decided until we enclose our minds in dogma"

Dogma such as belief in the New World Order?

August 3, 2011 4:32 PM

"Dogma such as belief in the New World Order?"~Ifon

No, dogma as in a denial of the existance of a New World Order that is stairing you straight in the face.


Edited by Graham Allison and Gregory F. Treverton
Published by The American Assembly and The Council on Foreign Relations.
W-W-Norton and Co. New York * London
© 1992 ISBN 0-393-03059-8

A NEW WORLD ORDER, by Anne-Marie Slaughter - funded by Chatham House 2011

As we peel back the layers of Slaughter's vision of the "new foreign policy frontier," we see nearly every institution, organization, NGO, or consortium mentioned lined with Fortune 500 corporate sponsors and representatives pursing an agenda of global economic and military hegemony. No one would suggest that manipulating people on a massive scale, leveraging legitimate ideals such as democracy, human rights, or freedom to further a corporate-financier oligarchy's agenda constitutes anything progressive, nonetheless, Slaughter seems to believe this is not only the future of foreign policy, but an appropriate future at that.
And this is only two of hundreds of examples.~ww

August 3, 2011 5:48 PM

I notice that while everyone wants to dance around pointing at my interpretations, none are willing to tackle the combined message of these postings I made earlier:

>The Patriot Act 2001 [USA] a high tech version of The Enabling Act 1933[Germany]
12:40 PM

>Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003
12:53 PM

1:40 PM

So what is the motivation to dismiss this information entirely?

August 3, 2011 6:06 PM

Have you ever heard the expression: "He can't see the forest for the trees?" That is the problem. Only 156 deaths from tasers. Only 20,000 deaths from car accidents.
And I wasn't being melodramatic.
I was standing on my patio with my granddaughter about 18 years ago. She was two. It was the top floor of an apartment building and we had a pretty good view of the surrounding area. As we watched the traffic on the nearest corner, she said, "There are so policemen cars, I don't know why."
A two year old noticed. Her eyes were open. Look around.
One night while standing at a bus stop, there were 4 cars and one pickup drove slowly by. This was about two A. M. A black man standing there with me said, "That's a SWAT team!" a few minutes later comes two more dark colored cars with heavily tinted windows, the armored car with slots for guns at intervals on the side.
I asked him how he knew it was a SWAT team. He said because of the number in a row, and the windows were tinted too dark to be legal. The cops don't have to follow the law they enforce.
When those who post here who disagree that we're in a police state have one of their relatives or friends arrested or beaten up of killed by the police, their eyes will be opened. But too late, too late.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 3, 2011 8:35 PM

Robert, the expression "can't see the forest for the trees" means that you can't see the big picture because you're getting lost in the emotional details.

Think about that for a minute, and you'll smile at the irony.

If you don't understand what I mean...

The "emotional trees" is the 156 taser deaths. The "big picture forest" is the fact that:

a) The taser death trend is going DOWN, not up, when you consider that it's only three times as high as the year before but taser-instead-of-gun use increased 7 times in the same time period.

b) We have no idea what persons were involved in those deaths and what they were doing at the time. I offered an example in my earlier comment.

And so on. Read the other thread for other reasons these deaths are statistically irrelevant, as harsh as that sounds.

PS. It's 30,000 auto fatalities, not 20,000. :-) That number is low. It was up around 50,000 for awhile but it has dropped down a bit and plateaued over the past decade. If you cared about that number, Robert, why are you still driving? Why haven't you petitioned others to stop? Why not petition your local town to lower speed limits or the auto manufacturers to double the number of air bags? You clearly don't care. And that's okay. It's a big world. Stats have to be considered in the appropriate context.

PPS. Why does it matter that so many police cars appear to driving around? I don't understand the logical connection between that and your assertion that we have a police state. One might suggest that you should be glad to police officers so close in the event you need them. Do you live in a bad part of town where crimes occur often? Are these circling cops-in-cars stopping you, harassing you, questioning you or bothering you in any way? I really don't understand why it bothers you that there may or may not be a lot of "armed forces" around town.

August 3, 2011 8:57 PM

Yrt one more instance of a SWAT attack by DEA on the wrong people.

Now perhaps according to Ifon this will be simply a mistake and "statistically insignificant".

But no, in a rational world 'mistakes' are corrected. "Mistakes' as
horrific as these are especially glaring signs that what is at hand
here is not 'mistakes' but a matter of subtle design linked to
plausible deniability.

The deep history of the involvement of Intelligence agencies in drug trafficing is simply beyond dispute, so this whole "War on Drugs" is a fraud in the very first place.
The developing and hardening strategy of tension is another fact beyond dispute. These so-called mistakes, and the excuses of incompetence have grown too thin and should be transparent to the eyes of any rational person.

That there is a deeper "national security" issue involved here is not hard to garner. Such low intensity warfare is simply the typical scenario at this stage in tyrannoludi.

Those of us with the background knowledge pertaining to this sort of thing see this as self evident. Those with a background knowledge pertaining to this who dissemble and put on the pretense of "mistakes happen," are agents or dupes of the state. And in this case the aparatchik are legion, the system extant.



August 3, 2011 9:12 PM

"The taser death trend is going DOWN, not up, when you consider that it's only three times as high as the year before but taser-instead-of-gun use increased 7 times in the same time period."

So, taser deaths are UP three times as high as the year before Ifon.
increase in taser use by 7 times, does not change the fact that the increase of taser deaths has risen - that it has risen is FACT.
That the increas is not as many as one might expect do to the more common use of tasers is a fact - but is not a fact that bears on the existing fact of the raise in deaths.

These are two distinct points of information and no matter how you frame it the increase in taser deaths has risen three percent.
Go to a relative of one of the dead and tell them that they aren't actually dead, because the statistics prove otherwise.
Why the proposition is ludicrous on the face of it. Only nonsense results from such mad calculation.

This is the very reason that statistical science is left to experts to analyse because statistics are an abstraction - a point you have made yourslf Ifon, yet cannot seen to put into practice in your own reasoning.

One more time for the peanut gallery, if the rate of taser deaths has risen by three percent. It has risen. No amount of apologetic balderdash is going to counter that fact.

August 3, 2011 9:26 PM

If our expectations do not match the facts, it is not the facts that are in question, it is our expectation.

One does not throw out the fact, one must question why the expectation is in is error. what other factors might be involved that defeat such expectations?

The locations of new taser armed police?

Better training?

Simple happenstance? > coincidence theorist generally like to reach for this one if it benefits their case.

Perhaps by luck hardier taser vitims.

In fact the possiblities become legion at this point as it is all simple guess work at this point.

And I suppose guess work is fine in this instance as it seems to work in favor of the "No Police State" crowd. But let a "conspiracy theorist" attempt such a gag and look out...Lol

Is it tea time yet?

August 3, 2011 9:43 PM

An illustration of a long term mondo inflation. From the 90s forward we have had exponential increase in this infaltionary trend.
What is the most obvious conclusion to this trend?
As every economic trend analyst that is honest and worth reading point out, the only possible outcome is total economic collapse. Some give this scenario a matter of months, others are more hopefull and see perhaps a couple of years.

What shall we expect in the event of such a collapse? What does the state expect in such an event? Isn't it azure clear what the state expects? Isn't it equally clear what has been prepared for?
Does not the significance of the Patriot Act, the Militart Commissions Act, and all the other buttressing legislation and executive orders take on a rather different color in this context?

The dollar index is a race to the bottom, and the US dollar is in the lead.
Gold went from $290 to over $1600, a 551% increase. If you had invested $29,000 in gold in 2000, your investment would be worth about $164,000 today. Gold was a great investment.
Silver has gone from about $4 an ounce to $40 today. That is a 1,000% increase.
If you had invested $2,900 in silver in 2000, your investment would be worth about $2,900,000 today. silver was a monstrously great investment.

According to the dollar index the dollar has lost almost half of its value since 2001
The dollar was worth approximately four cents compared to a dollar in 1913.
This means that the worth of a 2011 dollar is about two cents compared to that 1913 dollar.

How much will it take to erase two cents of worth to zero? Does this actually seem an unlikely event to you?
To be taken by surprise at something so big and ugly and obvious seems to me such a fools game.
I can't see it as in anyones vested interest to dismiss the possibility of a flashpoint for a crackdown as a probable immenent event.
I should think you would be on the edge of your seats in anticipation.
I do not mean by that one should become hysterical, but at least considering some options.


August 3, 2011 11:04 PM

Texas…will that lonesome star shine on?

News from the Alamo seems grim.

It is rumored that Crocket and Bowie are dead…

August 3, 2011 11:46 PM

But now to counter the basic myth of the "national debt" that is based on the numbers game I posted above.

It Is All Contrivance:

Although many believe the national debt to be real, it is also simply a number in a ledger. The money never existed in the first place until it was created in the ledger. It was lent into existence in the moment of need. It started off as fiction and remains fiction. Since the banks never had the money it lent in the first place, they're either collecting interest or seizing assets due to default from funny money. It's not difficult to see how the banks will end up owning everything if this scheme keeps up for much longer.

Baseline reality, the American people don't owe this money, just like the people of Iceland or Greece don't owe their nations' debts to a shadowy banking cartel. They did not sign a contract to borrow the money. They did not mismanage the funds, or borrow more money to paper over private banking losses. They did not demand wars with any of the victims of the government's imperial conquest. They did not demand the PATRIOT Act and resulting behemoth surveillance-industrial complex. The taxpayer is not responsible for this debt.

The answer is not the bankers word, "Default."

The answer is the peoples right, "Repudiate"

Repudiation is grounded in the facts of the fractional reserve scam as explained above. It is a simple open and close case - IF the people of this nation actually understood the reality of their situation.


August 4, 2011 12:34 AM

Police states, I guess, can be broken down into several catagories. Nazi Germany was an extreme example of an authoritarian state. OTOH, the USSR, and every other Communist regime, is a totalitarian state. Typical authoritarian states, such as Franco Spain, Pinochet Chile, most dictatorships, are Right-wing. The differences between Left-wing and Right-wing regimes are stark. Leftists politicize everything; Rightists abolish politics. Leftists operate on the basis of envy; Rightists on greed (the diff? A Rightist wants a fleet of Cadillacs; a Leftist wants your car). The deepest difference is that Leftists aim to destroy normal society. Their claims to want equality, enlightenment, etc., are nothing but distraction -- deracionation is their goal. Rightists defend and support their societies, religion, traditions, and culture. That's why Spain and Chile can come back from their Rightist regimes, but the verdict is decidedly still out on a return from Leftism. Once society is destroyed, people are living in a behavior-sink, which distorts their instinctive behaviors. The end-state of animals living in behavior-sinks is death. This explains the confusion among the unenlightened about the persistence of Leftists in implementing programs demonstrated to destroy private enterprise and increase unemployment. Also explained is the Left's counter-productive attacks on religion and public morals, which have no apparent relation to economic justice, but undergird the society they aim to destroy.

August 12, 2011 9:22 PM


I really wish that you would rethink your usage of right wing and left wing in today's understanding. When you say that right wing people are authoritarian you are saying that the right rules by force. For me, nothing could be further from the truth. Right wing people want to be left alone to doing their thing, be all that they can be as the army says. It is the left that rules by force. Who passes all of the regulations and give-aways? The left. How do they enforce these laws? By force, the end of a gun. If the right were in charge there would be a laissez-faire economy. The left has never built anything, never created anything, they have only mooched off of the producers in society robbing them selves, the moochers, of self respect and accomplishment. The right is harmless, the left, dangerous.

August 12, 2011 10:32 PM

@Jacobite, bassboat:

I'm afraid I must disagree with Jacobite on this one. The notion that Nazi Germany, Franco's Spain, or Pinochet's Chile are right-wing or indeed have anything in common with anything at all called "right-wing" in the United States is nonsense. There simply is no comparison. The notion that fascists were right-wing was started by the left-wingers early in the 20th century to smear the fascists. In short, fascists and communists are not opposites, they are each collectivists.

And bassboat: All laws are enforced this way; laws are designed to make people do what they otherwise wouldn't do.

The left, though, are the authoritarians, all of them. If Bush was an authoritarian, he'd be left-wing. The right are those who would limit government and expand freedom for the citizenry.

In short, the comparisons between left/right have nothing to do with policy preferences and everything to do with the amount of force, regulation, or compulsion they're willing to apply to make you do anything you don't want to do, and the number of those things they won't let you do.

August 13, 2011 3:03 AM

What is this left/right BS?

Too many want to put us all in a pigeon hole when we don't fit. My personal philosophy is to live and let live. I would, by some definitions, be called a right wing nut. However, I am quite liberal, if we use the word properly. The root of the word is the Latin word 'Libre' which means liberty or freedom. The modern day "liberals" have confused the word, as is their desire. Confusion rains or reigns, whatever you prefer.

What is today called liberalism and those who embrace the philosophy, want liberty only for themselves in order to make rules the rest of the world must follow. Take a look at the number of laws that members of Congress are NOT subject to. And look at the groups who have been exempted from the Communistic health care act.

Muslims reportedly are exempt from the health care act because it is viewed as a form of gambling and therefore a violation of their religion. It violates my religion because I consider myself a free man who has the right to dispose of his property (money) in the way I see best for me. My Creator gave me that right and power. No government has the right to interfere with my relationship with my God. They have the guns, though, and now have the power, or so they think.
Thank you,
Robert Walker

August 13, 2011 10:18 AM

Brother John,

I'm not sure but I think that you and I agree on the point of the right not wanting to use force in order to force its will. This point was made a few weeks ago concerning the murderer from Norway when the press immediately described him as right wing. I jumped all over that comment pointing out that it is the left and not the right that uses force to advance their ideology. The right advances its ideology in the market place of ideas and results, not some theory concocted in the classroom. The left or the left wing should be applied to the Nazi's of the world and not the conservatives.

Freedom is at the core of my beliefs, the freedom to do as I want with the exception that I do not do anything to harm someone else. The government's responsibility is to provide us an environment that we can pursue life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

August 13, 2011 10:28 AM
Add Your Comment...
4000 characters remaining
Loading question...