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  • The Era of the Creepy-State is Here

    Posted by Zenpundit on March 6th, 2012 (All posts by )

    George Orwell was more right than he knew….

    Congress passed a law – by unanimous consent in the Senate and by a suspension of rules in the House – to permit the Federal government to arbitrarily arrest and imprison for up to ten years members of the serf class (formerly known as “American citizens”) whose presence annoys or offends specially designated members of the elite and foreign dignitaries. A list that will no doubt expand greatly in future legislation to include very “special” private citizens.

    Think about that, future “Joe the Plumbers” or Cindy Sheehans, before you ask an impertinent question of your betters or wave your handmade cardboard sign. Is ten seconds of glory on your local ABC affiliate news at 5 o’clock worth that felony arrest record and federally funded anal exam?

    No? Then kindly shut your mouth, sir. Learn your place.

    Two nebbish Representatives, one Republican and one Democrat, distinguished only by their lack of legislative or political importance, sponsored the bill on behalf of the big boys who fast-tracked it under the radar (they learned from the SOPA debacle). Forget ideology or boasts about carrying a copy of the Constitution in the breast pocket of their suit, whether you are in an archconservative Congressional district or an ultraliberal one, almost every member of Congress voted “aye” to trash multiple amendments in the Bill of Rights.

    Almost every one.

    This is an accelerating trend in recent years and in particular, a bipartisan theme of the 112th Congress, which views Constitutional rights of nobodies as an anachronistic hindrance to the interests (or convenience) of their powerful and wealthy political supporters. Our elected officials and their backers increasingly share an oligarchic class interest that in important matters, trumps the Kabuki partisanship of  FOXnews and MSNBC and inculcates a technocratic admiration for the “efficiency” of select police states.

    It is from this demographic-cultural root of incestuous corruption that our creeping – and increasingly creepy – manifestations of authoritarianism in American life springs. The SOPA/PIPA internet censorship bills, naked scanners at airports, Stasi-like expansion of expensively wasteful TSA security theater, proposed 24/7 monitoring of  every American’s online activities, migration of police powers to unaccountable private firms, replacement of elected municipal governments with “emergency managers” (favoring financiers over taxpayers), Federal agencies monitoring political critics , the Department of Justice retro-legalizing corporate racketeering, fraud, perjury and conspiracy on a national scale, plus other infringements of liberty or gross corruption that I could list, ad nauseam.

    We have reached the point where we as Americans need to stop, step back from moment by moment fixation on nonsensical, “white noise” fake political issues like “contraception” ginned up to keep the partisans distracted and become seriously involved in determining the direction in which our nation is headed. Our elite are telegraphing their strong preference for a “soft dictatorship” but we still have time to check their ambitions and rein in their looting.

    It is almost quaint these days to pick up Friedrich von Hayek’s classic,  The Road to Serfdom and thumb through it. The libertarian antistatists of the 20th century were so focused on the clear and present dangers of totalitarianism that the idea of a weak state that endangered liberty through a mixture of corruption and regulatory capture eluded them. The Westphalian state at its apex was so overweening that the enemy of free societies, after foreign monsters like Hitler and Stalin, could be ambitious intellectual pygmies like Harold Laski or Tom Hayden. The state was so omnipotent that even its efforts at benevolence, to build a “Great Society” of the Welfare State were injurious to individual freedom because the expanse of statism crowded and weakened civil society, the market and private life. The argument gained political traction because, to varying degrees, it was true and looked prophetic when the Welfare-state began to crash economically in the 1970s on stagflation.

    Give the welfare-state liberals and Social Democrats of the past their due though, their intentions by their own lights were benign. They wanted to make a safer, more secure, more equal, more just life through a more powerful state (whether that was a good idea or a realistic endeavor was the central political question between right and left). The current elite in comparison is so inferior in moral character and overconfident in their abilities that they may soon make us yearn for the former’s return.

    What we have now in our ruling class are the builders of a Creepy-state and their intentions are not benign, except toward themselves, for as long as the looting of the American economy can last.

    Unlike the Welfare-state, the Creepy-state, shot through with corruption, is  not omnipotent  because it is to be the servant and gendarme of the emerging oligarchy and not their master – but it is to be omniscient and omnipresent, constantly watching, monitoring, investigating, recording, interrogating, coercing, sorting, muzzling, gatekeeping and shearing the sheep on behalf of the shepherds.

    Or the wolves.

    The Creepy-state is not there to protect you or give you a higher standard of living or ensure justice or democracy, but to maintain a hierarchical public order from “disruption” (formerly known as “politics” or “democracy”). If the classical liberal ideal was the night watchman state, this state is the shadowy and ill-disposed watcher in the night.

    The American political elite, Democrat and Republican, Conservative and Liberal, are largely in consensus that the government should, in regard to the American people:

    Read your email
    Listen to your phone calls
    Track your movements on GPS
    Track your online activity
    Track your spending
    Track your political activity
    Read your medical records
    Read your financial records
    Scan your body
    Scan your house
    Scan your DNA
    Keep you under video surveillance in public
    Detain you at random in public places for security checks
    Close off public spaces for private use
    Seize private property for private use
    Censor your speech
    Block your access to judicial relief
    Determine your educational and career path
    Regulate your diet, place of residence, lifestyle and living standards (ever downwards)
    Charge you with secret crimes for breaking secret regulations
    Share or leak information about you at will

    Is this the America we wish for our children or grandchildren? One that epitomizes the values of our Constitution or Declaration of Independence, or is it some kind of tawdry and shameful dime store fascism of a small Latin American country? Perhaps life is finally imitating fiction?

    Fortunately, it is not too late. Irrevocable changes in the Constitutional order have yet to be engineered. Our politicians are followers, not leaders here. They are a small and cowardly lot for the most part and will recoil in fear from this authoritarian ethos if a sufficiently large number of elected officials are thrown out of office at once. We can still roll this back – at least the most egregiously anti-American aspects – if we get sufficiently angry come November.

    Self-interest is their only lodestone.

     

    12 Responses to “The Era of the Creepy-State is Here”

    1. Joe Wooten Says:

      Throw ALL the bums out. I was infuriated when I read about this bill last week.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks for posting this.

    3. Bill Brandt Says:

      What was the number of the house bill? I think once the Tea Party gets wind of this….

      Stuff like this is why I feel no particular allegiance to Republicans…

    4. zenpundit Says:

      Thanks, gents. These are grim times.

      The bill was HR 347

      Link to bill.

    5. arcs Says:

      Your link is broken. The URL needs the colon at the end in order to work.

      [Fixed, thanks. Jonathan]

    6. ErisGuy Says:

      This law in a long line of precedents. Nothing to see: move on.org.

    7. tyouth Says:

      This is, I think, the final version of the bill. It seems pretty innocuous to me.

      This Act may be cited as the `Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011′.

      SEC. 2. RESTRICTED BUILDING OR GROUNDS.

      Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

      -`Sec. 1752. Restricted building or grounds

      `(a) Whoever–

      `(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so;

      `(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;

      `(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or

      `(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds;

      or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

      `(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is–

      `(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if–

      `(A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or

      `(B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and

      `(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.

      `(c) In this section–

      `(1) the term `restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area–

      `(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President’s official residence or its grounds;

      `(B) of a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or

      `(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in conjunction with an event designated as a special event of national significance; and

      `(2) the term `other person protected by the Secret Service’ means any person whom the United States Secret Service is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such protection.’.

      Speaker of the House of Representatives.

      Vice President of the United States and

      President of the Sen

    8. tyouth Says:

      In general zenpundit’s concerns (about what I always think of as the advent of a “doghouse society” – we pets being wards of the govt.) are valid.

      I’ll digress a bit: If one has watched the Rep. debates it is clear that Ron Paul is the only candidate that repeatedly addresses these concerns about individual liberty and♦ freedom from govt. interference in a serious manner. The others give it a vague nod from time to time but apparently don’t see it as vote-winning topic. If I get a chance to vote for RP I will.

    9. zenpundit Says:

      Hi Tyouth

      The weasel phrases are:

      ” or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when…”

      Effectively normal, peaceful, street protest, the kind regularly faced by Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush II as a matter of course is now illegal, if the government wishes to press the issue and make an example of someone.

      ” the term `restricted buildings or grounds’ means any posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area”

      The Secret Service has unusual authority in the regard of “restricting” which is generally also “need to know”

    10. Ed Darrell Says:

      Looks like both Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Ron Paul fell down on the job, doesn’t it?

      Why don’t you call their offices and ask for an explanation?

    11. Ed Darrell Says:

      I can’t find the arbitrary arrest provisions in the text of the bill. Can someone point me to those provisions?

    12. Ed Darrell Says:

      Effectively normal, peaceful, street protest, the kind regularly faced by Ike, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton and Bush II as a matter of course is now illegal, if the government wishes to press the issue and make an example of someone.

      I can’t find any ban on that in the bill. “Normal” is undefined here, I think. It would be difficult to argue that demonstrations outside the restricted areas are not normal.