The Relentless March of the U.S. Police State
By Robert Higgs
Monday February 4, 2013
Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University, wrote recently:
An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will. . . . Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely.
Turley does not say much in this article about the other rail of the Police State Railway that Americans are riding to hell: the drug war, with its massive arrests, prosecution, and imprisonment of people charged only with victimless crimes and its militarization of the state and local police all over the country. (On the militarization of the police, see especially this research paper, a revised version of which will appear in the spring issue of The Independent Review.) This massive bloating of police power and legalized oppression and the corresponding suppression of individual rights have brought down to the lowest level the threats to life, liberty, and happiness that the war on terrorism has created in what most people view as a more remote and less threatening venue—”out there” somewhere, in drone-istan.