Saturday, July 27, 2013

Living Through Your Society Becoming a Police State

I don't like the USA government hiding its actions from the citizens of the USA. I don't believe claims that most of what is hidden is for national security reasons. It is hidden for the simple reason that it is politically unacceptable to admit what they are doing and so they seek to hide what they are doing. Doing so is extremely damaging as it will force us to distrust the government's claims on national security. When you abuse national security for political expediency it is exactly like the children's story of crying wolf. When you hide your politically unpopular decisions behind a fake cry of wolf eventually people won't believe your claims - even when they are true. If you care about national security you cannot allow it to be sacrificed for political expediency.

Governing is hard. When you give in to political expediency instead of dealing with the hard challenges you sacrifice the future of the country so you can avoid having to confront the challenges. It is easy to see why people would make this choice. But it does great damage to the country.

I fear we are entering a phase where the government will move to more and more McCarthyist tactics to hide their actions: using threats against those seeking to hold the government accountable, deploying the police powers of the state against those who find their policies unconstitutional but for which the government has no right to investigate (until you accept the police state arguments that we can do whatever we want because we have police state powers that we granted ourselves secretly and no one is allowed to talk about it, character assassination of those that question the powers that be, granting powers to those that will support the policies...).

We don't have a great track record in the last 100 years. So most likely we will once again allow government to do horrendous stuff that a few decades later we say "oh boy that was bad, but it was a long time ago" (look at all the people we used the FBI to spy on and intimidate in the last 100 years including the only person we named a national holiday in honor of in the last 100 years - Martin Luther King). I always wondered how those people could sit by and watch Japanese Internment, McCarthyism, massive FBI abuses...

Now I am living through it and I see how easy it is for those with power to seize control of a society and make it into something anyone looking back on would be thinking "how could they allow such things to happen."

Related: Society is being shaped for us while we are busy making other plans - NSA and the Pandora’s box of surveillance by Jack Shafer - Security Theatre Thinking is Damaging the USA - The TSA doesn’t give a hoot about security

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