Friday, February 15, 2013

Don't Look to the Old USSR

Trey Smith

Next to a hysterical screed railing on a state proposal to guarantee firefighters’ workplace rights, the Post published an editorial opposing legislation to prevent municipal police departments from using armed drones. That’s right, in response to an initiative that would prevent “police from outfitting drones with devices such as Tasers and teargas,” the newspaper of record in a city already plagued by police violence says such an idea is “a step too far.”
~ from What Does a Police State Look Like? by David Sirota ~
The reaction a lot of folks have to the suggestion that the US is becoming -- or already is -- a police state is a snicker. This country doesn't look a thing like the old USSR, they say dismissively. We are nothing like Hitler's Germany, communist China, Saddam's Iraq or any of those Marxist South American countries.

In many ways, they're right. If you look at authoritarian regimes of the distant and not-so-distant past, few, if any, resemble the United States of 2013. However, that in no way means that the US cannot or is not a police state too.

All things evolve. We err when we view life as static. Authoritarian systems change with the times as well. What may have been the picture of authoritarianism at one time in one place is not the eternal picture of it.

The US has its own unique history and it is because our history is different that our form of authoritarianism will be different as well. Yes, it will share some aspects in common with former or current systems of this ilk, but it will manifest itself in its own particular a major newspaper arguing that denying the police the ability to arm domestic drones is "a step too far."

A step too far from what?

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