Ron Morley's Freedom Blog

This is the place where I do my little bit to explain the evils of the State.

The Police State that is America

The many recent calls for further regulation of financial markets and institutions in the United States are but one manifestation of the left's infatuation with the idea that humans and their society are perfectible if only enough rules and regulations are put in place to control their actions. They also mark one more step on the road to totalitarianism in the U.S. We have been told many times in recent months that it is necessary to place further restrictions, on what is already a market over-burdened with Federal regulations, in order to “ensure that this [the current financial crisis] never happens again.” President Obama has not only called for more regulation of the U.S. financial markets, but, also, seems to agree that some sort of international oversight of those markets is necessary. Given that the Federal government has apparently won the propaganda war over who is responsible for the recent “meltdown” of financial structures around the world –- it was unregulated bankers and financiers who brought the calamity upon us – it is virtually a certainty that more onerous restrictions will be placed upon the evildoers in order to prevent them from causing such damage again: all to the cheers of a poorly educated and informed populace.


The apparent success of the Obama regime's drive to further control the nation's banking and financial infrastructure is another step on the road to making the United States a police state. As the Federal government moves to place caps on the remuneration of those who work in the banking and finance fields all Americans lose yet more of their freedom – the majority simply haven't yet recognized that fact. Given President Obama's recent speeches in which he declares that the banks which were bailed out by the Federal government are not loaning enough money to businesses and consumers it will probably not be long before policies will be put in place which will define how much money banks and other financial institutions must loan to various classes of customers; likely, whether or not they would ordinarily qualify for those loans. Despite the President's many disclaimers that he doesn't want the Federal government involved in the day-to-day management of such areas of the economy as the auto industry and Wall Street his actions say otherwise. Given his recent calls for banks to return to the good old days of loaning money willy-nilly it is obvious that he has not learned anything from the lessons of the current economic troubles – indeed, he wants to force banks back into the very practices which helped get us into this fix in the first place. Each time the Federal government puts in place more regulations, every time a Federal or state prosecutor decides to bring criminal charges against bankers and financiers for actions that were not crimes when they were made, every time Federal and state prosecutors are allowed to conflate civil law infractions with criminal actions (as is often the case with so-called “conspiracies” whose members are brought to trial) the United States takes another step on the road to becoming a police state.


One of the signs that one is living in a police state is an increased unwillingness on the part of most citizens to say or do anything which might be construed as opposing the State. The State seeks to attain this goal in several ways. It starts by introducing young people to the vision of the State as a benevolent entity –- one which is concerned only with providing citizens with the best possible life; at the low, low cost of sacrificing a few civil liberties which don't matter all that much anyway. For those who have already passed through the State's education system the mass media (which are always required to obtain licenses from the State in order to operate) are enlisted in the propaganda effort. This is particularly true when socialist programs and policies are being discussed There is an increase in the number of puff pieces published or aired which seek to portray the leadership of the State as wise, enlightened individuals who desire nothing more than to make the citizenry happy, well-fed, and willing to join the leadership in bettering the nation internally and strengthening it against all external and internal enemies. During the period of Nazi rule in Germany this mode of operation was known as “working toward the Fuhrer.” Citizens are encouraged to inform the State's police agencies of any “unusual” activities on the part of their neighbors. Everyone, young and old, is encouraged to be alert for anything which might threaten “national security.” The police are increasingly used to monitor the political actions and speech of the citizens: various types of “thought crime” are defined and viewed as, in many cases, more serious than plain, old-fashioned crimes such as assault and larceny. In an effort to make certain that everyone is made aware of the many threats facing the State and thus the Nation, and the people arrests are made and trials held. Many times the information that leads to the arrests is provided by informants –- often in the pay of the State –- to the State's increasingly politicized and militarized police agencies. This serves to reassure the mass of citizens that the State is ever on guard to keep them safe, while also introducing an element of doubt about what constitutes a crime, as many of the alleged plots never get any further than discussing or “planning” some alleged outrage against the State. (Check out the books The Tyranny of Good Intentions and Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything , both available through Amazon for more details than I can go into here). The fact that, in many cases, no overt actions need to be taken in order to commit a crime causes many citizens to cease even talking about perceived shortcomings of the government and its leadership. This results in the State being able to declare that the vast majority of its citizens are happy and content with the policies of the government –- which is very convenient whenever someone does actually complain.


The United States is rapidly approaching this state of affairs. Much of the mass media is dedicated to feeding the populace intellectual pablum. Look around at the magazines and newspapers which line the check-out lanes at supermarkets. It is unusual for any of these publications to print anything of a political nature and when they do the articles are almost invariably rehashed “talking points” in favor of whatever new program the current regime is touting as a way to cure some perceived societal ill. The airwaves, with the exception of so-called “conservative talk radio”, are likewise almost devoid of serious discussions of political issues – the shouting matches of such programs as the “O'Reilly Factor” cannot be considered to be reasoned discourse. In most cases even those media outlets which purport to oppose the proposed action by the State are themselves pushing for some increase in the power of the Federal government: it's only that the power will be exercised in a different manner or in an alternative area of life.


The current debate over health care “reform” is but one example of this phenomenon. The Democratic proposal is to place some Federal bureaucracy in control of all aspects of health care. They would mandate that everyone purchase health insurance –- whether it makes sense in the individual case or not. The insurance policies will have to meet certain government-defined criteria in order to be considered legal. The current Federally-controlled health care system –- Medicare -– will be required to scale back the services it will pay for (to the detriment of those participating in the plan) in order to partially pay for the new program. What is left of the free market in medical services will be killed and buried beneath tons of new Federal regulations and guidelines.


The Republicans, rather than pushing for reducing the role of the Federal government in health care, also want to increase its power in this area. Rather than the Democrats' “public option” (State-subsidized health insurance) the Republicans wish to put in place something called “co-ops”. Though no one really knows how they would operate the safe bet is that they will be another way of increasing the Federal government's involvement in health care. One can work one's way down the list of Republicans' objections to the Democrats' proposal and find similar things. All the Republicans' substitutions still result in the growth of the power, size, and intrusiveness of the Federal behemoth: they do not act to reduce the influence of the Federal government in this field.


In like manner, one can go through the list of issues confronting this country and see much the same thing. Democrats want to use the power of the Federal government to legalize “gay marriage”, while Republicans seek to use the same power to forbid them. Democrats want to use Federal power to not only allow women the right to an abortion -– they wish to force medical service providers to perform the procedures no matter the feelings and beliefs of the workers. Republicans want to use the power of the central government to ban abortions altogether. The list goes on and one is hard-pressed to find an issue on which one side or the other wants to reduce Federal power in the area under discussion, let alone act to eliminate that power entirely. Through all of this the Constitution is more and more viewed as an antiquated obstacle to enabling the growth of Federal power. No longer do the vast majority of our U.S. Representatives, Senators, and members of the Executive branch take their oaths to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” seriously.


As time goes on the power of Leviathan waxes and fewer citizens move to oppose the growth. Even now there are few areas in life that are not subject to some form of Federal regulation. As the State's intrusiveness has grown so has its police powers: necessary in order to ensure compliance with its wishes. The United States is effectively a police state; it's just that in most cases we call our police “bureaucrats” or administrative law judges in order to disguise their true function and make their intrusions more palatable to the masses. Until now they have remained largely non-violent in the exercise of their vast powers. We cannot count on that to continue and only the foolish wish to see that power increased. What is left of free political discourse in this nation is rapidly disappearing. If the Democrats get their way and the FCC once again imposes the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” the presence of voices opposing the growth of totalitarianism on the airwaves in this country will be mostly silenced. In the meantime those who dispute the need for, or the legality of, the continued growth of the monstrosity that our Federal government has become are labeled as miscreants who represent a small minority of the populace and who are motivated by racist hatred of the new President's policy initiatives. It is anyone's guess how much longer these voices of dissent will be tolerated by the Obama administration or, for that matter, any administration which replaces it. The State's power continues to grow and most Americans ignore the threat it poses so long as they can keep up with who gets kicked off the island next.