Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Mechanism and policy
In the light of day, my previous message seems a bit alarmist. First, it was a response to the 2nd amendment nuts who say that guns defend against tyranny. As I showed, guns are useless against tyranny. The Shiites of Iraq had guns. We now know just how *many* guns -- the country was freakin' FLOODED with guns, piled high and deep in everybody's garden with ammo to match. That didn't help them against Saddam's tyranny.
Still, there are some easy objections to make. First of all, the police forces of the United States are highly decentralized. It seems unrealistic to believe that the mechanism of a police state is already there. Yet the War on Drugs proves that even this decentralization is, in the end, a fraud -- by offering the appropriate carrots to state and local governments, the federal government has managed to get pretty much every law enforcement agency onto the same page.
The next thing that comes up is, "but surely the police would refuse to enforce a stupid or oppressive law?" Ask the black residents of Birmingham Alabama how many policemen refused to enforce the oppressive laws that prohibited black people from having equal rights. Hint: None. Zero. If it is the law, police officers will enforce it, even if it's a law as stupid and ridiculous as outlawing a naturally growing herb or mushroom that anybody can obtain just by walking in the woods. The "War on Drugs", and, for that matter, New York City during the RNC convention when thousands of people were snatched off the streets by police officers and taken to internment camps for the duration, proves that what was true when Police Chief Bull Connor released his thugs against civil rights marchers in 1963 is just as true today. If the law says to do it, they will do it. Policemen who have a problem with that do not stay policemen, they leave the profession.
So the mechanisms are there. What is lacking, what seperates the United States from being a police state, is the policies. Our political processes have not turned this mechanism against ordinary citizens in a major way because our political processes, while creaking towards the precipice, are still a ways away from completely collapsing into such disorder that a "strongman" can come forward and gain the support of the majority of the people in order to restore order. Any government, in the end, depends upon at least the willing aquiescence of the majority of the population in order to continue existing. Saddam was not popular, but the majority of Iraqis clearly had no problem with him being their Dear Leader (otherwise, as we have found out, they most certainly had the weaponry to depose him at will), because he maintained a safe and orderly society, and for most people that's all they care about. Most people don't care about these lofty philosophical ideas and stuff. They just want to work, eat, raise their children. They just want to be left alone. All that is necessary is for a sustained political collapse to occur with resulting disorder, and the police will not only enforce the dictates of a strongman -- but the majority of the populance will support them in this.
The mechanism is there. All that is necessary to put it into play is policy. And that's a scary-assed thing to see, because it gives major players in the political game the incentive to speed the collapse of the political process. Dear Leader is just a symptom of a game that's being played, and I suspect we will see far, far worse in the future, especially as the economy starts to crumble under the weight of Peak Oil...
-- Badtux the Apocalyptic Penguin
Labels: peak oil, politics, prison state USA, war on drugs
Posted by: BadTux / 4/04/2007 10:56:00 AM
- Name: BadTux
- Location: Some iceberg, South Pacific, Antarctica
I am a black and white and yellow multicolored penguin making his way as best he can in a world of monochromic monkeys.
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Bill Richardson: Because what America needs is a competent fat man with bad hair as President (haven't we had enough incompetent pretty faces?)
Cost of the War in Iraq