informationliberation
The news you're not supposed to know...




Austrian Economics: Understand Economics, Understand the World
The Century of the Self: The Untold History of Controlling the Masses Through the Manipulation of Unconscious Desires
The Disappearing Male: From Virility to Sterility

The Obama Deception: The Mask Comes Off
Operation Gladio: The Hidden History of U.S. Sponsored False Flag Terrorism in EuropeThe New American Century: The Untold History of The Project for the New American Century
(more)
Article posted Apr 22 2012, 10:09 PM Category: Commentary Source: Kevin Carson Print

The Normalization of Dystopia

by Kevin Carson

Lily Tomlin used to say “I try to be cynical, but I can’t keep up.” Writers of dystopian sci-fi have the same trouble keeping ahead of actual reality.

Forty years ago, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, in the Illuminatus! trilogy, portrayed a near future in which the ruling elite used a wave of assassinations a la JFK, RFK and MLK to terrorize the American public into accepting a full-scale police state. “The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such laws in the public mind.” A few years of such orchestrated terror, and the state would have Americans “under tighter surveillance than Hitler had the Germans.”

As it happens the real-world impetus to such creeping totalitarianism was not assassinations. It was the Drug War and 9/11. But the overall effect has been very much the same.

Wilson’s and Shea’s elite spokesman enumerated a long list of police state measures — most of them utterly fantastic to American readers in the early ’70s — that Americans would be driven to accept. Today, in the non-fictional America of 2012, most of them are considered entirely normal procedures “the authorities” use to “keep us safe.”

Let’s take a look at that fictional list:

“Universal electronic surveillance.” NSA? Warrantless wiretaps? National security letters?

“No-knock laws.” We didn’t even need a law to make no-knock warrants standard paramilitarized police procedure.

“Stop-and-frisk laws.” Again, who needed a law? Ever hear of Rudy Giuliani?

“Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime.” Standard procedure in most jurisdictions.

“A law making it illegal to resist even unlawful arrest.” Google that one and you’ll find the principle stated in so many words in actual case law. The old common law principle that the constabulary’s authorty derived entirely from judicial warrants is as dead as Sir Edward Coke.

“Gun control laws.” No comment.

Some haven’t yet materialized.

“Government inspection of first-class mail.” Although there’s recurring talk of “smart stamps” that make anonymity impossible, and the government keeps tightening the screws on anonymous remailers and upping the identification requirements to rent a P.O. box.

“Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives.” I’m not aware that camps have been specifically allocated for detention of subversives in a national emergency. But power to detain “terror suspects” — right now — without criminal charges is established in law under NDAA, and was already claimed by the executive. Whether or not there’s dedicated housing already in place for such detainees, the government’s quite capable (as shown by the use of Ft. Chaffee to house Katrina refugees) of improvising.

Others have been implemented on steroids. The obvious example is “restrictions on travel.” The TSA’s passenger processing regime is for all intents and purposes an internal passport system for air travel. And the internal passport system is rapidly spreading to other transportation sectors. TSA VIPR (Visual Intermodal Prevention and Response) teams have appeared in bus and train stations all over the country. Even driving isn’t safe. A VIPR team recently set up a checkpoint in the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel on Hwy 64.

So we’ve got an internal passport system fully in place for civil aviation, rapidly getting there for trains and buses, and maybe coming for highways. Remember when internal passports, checkpoints, and uniformed goons saying “papers, please” was one of those exotic things that happened in faraway totalitarian states like Soviet Russia?

Just like torture. That’s another one of those things that only the bad guys used to do. Now that America’s Finest do it too, it’s been renamed “harsh interrogation techniques.”

Not that American soldiers and intelligence operatives never used torture in the past. I mean, we’ve all heard stories about waterboarding Moros in the Philippines, and “Charlie” being thrown out of choppers in Nam. But back then it was done quasi-officially, with plausible deniability for the folks back home in their nice clean offices in Langley and the Pentagon.

Now, however, torture’s been proclaimed official policy in memos from John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales, and Donald Rumsfeld. Waterboarding of terror suspects — you know, like Japanese soldiers were executed for after WWII — was explicitly authorized by the highest circles of the U.S. government. “Oh, but Saint Obama did away with all that!” Really? You don’t think anything nasty still goes on at Baghram? You think all those former Soviet bloc prisons leased with U.S. black ops money were really just shut down?

Let’s face it, dystopian sci-fi simply can’t keep up with reality.
__
Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center's Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He is a mutualist and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation, and his own Mutualist Blog.





Latest Commentary
- Slavery and the Income Tax
- Will Washington Kill Us All?
- What the Ninja Can Teach Us
- No Matter Who Wins the White House, the New Boss Will Be the Same as the Old Boss
- Inflicting the Death Penalty Before Trial
- Razing the Bar
- The Awful Implications of Hillary's Candidacy
- The State Holds Us Back









No Comments Posted Add Comment


Add Comment
Name
Comment

* No HTML


Verification *
Please Enter the Verification Code Seen Below
 


PLEASE NOTE
Please see our About Page, our Disclaimer, and our Comments Policy.


FAIR USE NOTICE
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which in some cases has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available for the purposes of news reporting, education, research, comment, and criticism, which constitutes a 'fair use' of such copyrighted material in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. It is our policy to respond to notices of alleged infringement that comply with the DMCA and other applicable intellectual property laws. It is our policy to remove material from public view that we believe in good faith to be copyrighted material that has been illegally copied and distributed by any of our members or users.

About Us - Disclaimer - Privacy Policy



Advanced Search
Username:

Password:

Remember Me
Forgot Password?
Register

Documents: National Guard Ordered To Consider Americans As 'Enemy Forces' And 'Adversaries' - 04/17Video: Armed National Guard Troops Patrol Residential Streets in California - 04/17Video: Citizen Pulls Cop Over For Reckless Driving! - 04/17Massachussetts Cop Admits that Police Don't Really Care About Public Safety - 04/17Police Detective Arrested In Scheme To Steal Cocaine From Evidence - 04/17Want to Record The Cops? Know Your Rights - 04/17Oath Keepers Muster in Oregon to Prevent 139-Year-Old Gold Mines from Being Seized by BLM - 04/17Worse than Sandusky: School Cop Whose Job was to 'Protect' Students, Repeatedly Raped 22 Boys - 04/17

Man Follows Speeding Cop, Finds Out He Was Speeding To Buy PeanutsMission Creeps: Homeland Security Agents Confiscate Women's Panties For 'Copyright Infringement'Cop Shoots Couple's Dog, Threatens Jail For Trying To Save Dog's LifeSWAT Team Shoots Teen Girl & Her Dog During Pot Raid On Wrong HomeDurham, NC Cop Testifies Faking 911 Calls To Enter Homes Is "Official Policy"Indiana Sheriff Says US A "War Zone" To Justify New MRAP Military VehicleTampa Cops Surveil Pot Dealer, Catch Him Selling Pot, Raid His Home & Kill Him"You Just Shot An Unarmed Man!": Witness Says Police Shot His Friend With His Hands Up
(more)

 
Top