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Ihre Papieren, Bitte!
October 26, 2007 11:25 PM   Subscribe

"How do you deal with fear? Is it safer for them if I act or stay quiet? I don't want to get on a list."
posted by orthogonality (66 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
How much of a stretch is it really from this, to imagine having to surrender your papers to cross the state line in your car? Or even the city limits?

I can't remember if this is the Argument of the Beard, or simply a Straw Man.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:33 PM on October 26, 2007


KokuRyu writes "I can't remember if this is the Argument of the Beard, or simply a Straw Man."

Yeah, Niemöller couldn't remember either.
posted by orthogonality at 11:36 PM on October 26, 2007 [5 favorites]


860,000 Name Long Terror Watch List Scrutinizes Americans Most
posted by homunculus at 11:39 PM on October 26, 2007


Prior Permission From Government to be Required for Each Flight
posted by homunculus at 11:44 PM on October 26, 2007


Meh. It's a free country.
posted by sourwookie at 11:45 PM on October 26, 2007


Well, if RU Sirius says it, it must be true.
posted by Bookhouse at 11:59 PM on October 26, 2007


Godwin (?)

I get your point, but kind of refuting my point with a hammer...or a jackboot, no?
posted by KokuRyu at 12:00 AM on October 27, 2007


You forgot the "raving paranoia" tag.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:15 AM on October 27, 2007


A hammer and a sickle, no less. I must be an old man now; I can remember when Republicans condemned the Evil Empire, in part for its internal passports and suppression of dissenters.

But fortunately, the New Soviet American Man, even as he quietly forges his own chains, will calmly and rationally explain it's Godwin, not Fascism, as long as Wal*Mart keeps selling TVs at low low prices and Our Leaders aren't wearing der Hakenkreuz.
posted by orthogonality at 12:20 AM on October 27, 2007


Sleep. Dreams are better than waking nightmares my friend.
posted by Mblue at 12:22 AM on October 27, 2007


Oh, for Christ sake, you're moderating your own thread now. What I really find annoying is that I didn't mock *your* post, I mocked what some wrote in one of the links.

And, for the record, pulling in a saint like Niemöller to support a wacky premise is not only silly, it is also offensive. Just like your preposterous, pompous comment.

And Naomi Wolf can kiss my ass.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:24 AM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


Hillary Clinton, A Bundle of Telecom Money....And A Strange Silence
posted by homunculus at 12:42 AM on October 27, 2007




<------ Left field
posted by Mblue at 12:56 AM on October 27, 2007


In my America, we will not be silenced.

And in what America is that, Ms. Wolf? Bizarro America?
posted by blucevalo at 1:05 AM on October 27, 2007


SCDB, it's not paranoia if they're truly out to get (as in suppress and control) you. And they really just might be out to get you eventually as well, despite the laminated sheet of GOP talking points you carry so close to your heart. From the article: "The cardinal rule of a closing or closed society is that your alignment with the regime offers no protection; in a true police state no one is safe."

Even if, for the sake of argument, you are correct and there's nothing to see here, don't you think it's telling that a growing proportion of the US population no longer feel that their freedom and safety is a priority for our government? We're not talking about the tinfoil hat crowd here. We're talking about Joe Normal whose phone and Internet activity is being monitored right now. Total Information Awareness isn't too subtle a title for you to grasp, is it? Is the administration's desire for telco amnesty against the rule of law just a thing they decided to do for no reason? I can only speak to this anecdotally, but in my friends and family circle, the chilling effect of creeping fascism is a Real Thing.

At the very least, the "leaders" you are such a great lickspittle for have made a mess of convincing the citizenry that they're on our side. The culture of fear in the US that has been cultivated in the past, um, 7 years or so should be shameful to a true patriot. Yet you seem content to continue tasting the sand in which your head is buried.

Enjoy your status quo while it lasts.
posted by pgautier at 1:06 AM on October 27, 2007 [9 favorites]


PGautier, I remain unconcerned.

Here's why:
Support [for Wolfe's view that fascism wasn't coming to America] came from a quarter I hadn't counted on. It was Grass, speaking in English.

"For the past hour, I have my eyes fixed on the doors here," he said. "You talk about fascism and police repression. In Germany when I was a student, they come through those doors long ago. Here they must be very slow."

Grass was enjoying himself for the first time all evening. He was not simply saying, "You really don't have so much to worry about." He was indulging his sense of the absurd. He was saying: "You American intellectuals — you want so desperately to feel besieged and persecuted!"
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:14 AM on October 27, 2007


Oh, pardon me. I didn't realize that fascist oppression had a 1 hour timeout period or that we should be looking for it before it arrived. I also assumed it could be more subtle and surreptitious with advances in technology, but I guess I was wrong there too.

If you want to find real examples of police repression, stop looking in academic lecture halls or dinner parties or whatever context that quote was pulled from. Go instead to a part of town where the median income is below the poverty line. That's where they're practicing the apparatus.
posted by pgautier at 1:28 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


"Practicing the apparatus"?

How, exactly?
posted by Spacelegoman at 1:50 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


This FPP has been flagged for not having its papers in order.
posted by fandango_matt at 2:29 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


We are not yet as bad East Germany was. Yay!
posted by srboisvert at 2:38 AM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


I used to ask my teachers how it was that totalitarianism could come about, and they never really knew.

Well, now I know. I'm watching it. People aren't just happy about the advent of fascism, they're extending their wrists and begging for the chains.
posted by Malor at 3:55 AM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


So, 42 years ago, Gunter Grass said we in the U.S. have nothing to fear from fascism, and that makes you unconcerned? Maybe you should try to keep up with current events.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:22 AM on October 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


You won't ever need an internal passport or have to actively reveal your location in the US. The US government will simply track you. Telephone records, bank records, credit card records, license plate cameras, security cameras, internet activity, etc., will all feed into a single database designed to track 10 billion people.

Being on the no-fly list will be reason enough to add you to the no-move list, which will force the holders of the above information about you to feed it to the government in real time. If they know you have a MetaFilter account, for example, they'll tell Matt to silently send information to the government every time that account has activity or someone looks at that account's profile. If there are 755,000 on the terrorist watch list, I wonder how many people here are already on it?

The government's tracking of your movements won't be 100 percent accurate, but it will be close. They will decide where you cannot be and where you should be, perhaps without telling you. If you go where you shouldn't be, stop showing up where you should be, records will show it and they'll come out looking for you. If they can't find you, they can always stomp all over your family and friends until they make you appear. All it takes is technology and a lot of guys in boots, two things the US is neither lacking nor afraid to use.
posted by pracowity at 4:47 AM on October 27, 2007


I think anyone who laughs off these concerns as paranoia is missing the point. It's not that anyone is going to be shipped off to some secret prison in the middle of the night or silenced with a bullet to the head. I don't think even the most outspoken critic of the government fears for their safety in that way.

The concern is that there's any fear at all. Because fear, no matter how small or subtle, manifests itself in behavior. If you have a successful career and are aware that saying certain things might put your livelihood at risk, you're probably going to avoid saying anything critical of the government. Sure, you might express your opinions to your friends in private, but you're not going to behave in a way that shows solidarity with groups trying to be any kind of force for change.

My worry is that over the next couple of decades, inch by inch this fear will creep into the educated parts of the population that can make a difference. And it will be so subtle that no one will notice the dwindling numbers of protesters and petitioners, civil rights lawyers, muckrakers, and so on. So few people are interested in civic and social issues today; what will it be like when the only ones who want to get involved simply do so to maintain the status quo?
posted by palidor at 5:42 AM on October 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


House bill 1955 provides for convenient means to put a stop to all the protesting domestic terrorism fevered bitching and flag waving.

section 899A claus 1:

HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

You WILL accept what the government tells you to accept, or means will be provided to persuade you otherwise--Or just lock your ass up.

Why would anyone think there's anything wrong with this great country of ours? It's the Best, Greatest Nation on Earth. And don't you dare suggest otherwise, or DHS will be paying you a visit, comrade.
posted by Goofyy at 5:58 AM on October 27, 2007


The concern is that there's any fear at all.

the concern is that these people want to have their cake and eat it too - they want to be employed as members of the managerial/corporate/governmental class that helps run this country and yet they still want to have their own opinions, independent of who they work for

they're not afraid of ending up in prison, they're just afraid of messing up their resumes

they're not afraid of being shot in the middle of the night by a government agent, they're afraid of losing their comfortable toys

they're not afraid of being forcibly reeducated, they're afraid of dirty looks from airport security

they're not afraid of being put in a concentration camp to die, they're afraid of being on a list

they even think they should be in the military and be able to protest against the government without it damaging them in their CHOSEN career, working for the people who are messing this country up

oh, and they also think that this country has to be becoming something extreme like nazi germany - because otherwise, they'd have to realize that they're simply dealing with plain old american politics as usual, plain old corporate "don't give me a black mark" suck-ass games, and all the plain old "ooh, i hope i don't look bad and weird" paranoia that they've internalized in order to be successful in this country

of course, bush and the rest of the right wing have to be characterized as fascists - that way, people can avoid looking at the politicians they support and seeing a distressing similarity - and they can continue to pretend that what they do as part of their society isn't part of the problem

the left will do everything the right will do - but they'll be "nicer" about it
posted by pyramid termite at 6:54 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, now I know. I'm watching it. People aren't just happy about the advent of fascism, they're extending their wrists and begging for the chains.

No, you're wrong. The OP put up a bunch of links. Some of the folks in this thread have read those links and are discussing, and in some cases critiquing or even dismissing them.

This is called discussion. However, you don't want discussion. It seems like you just want us to roll over and accept you analysis that "America is turning into a police state," and "Godwin Godwin Godwin."

You are an example of the totalitarian mind in action.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:51 AM on October 27, 2007


they're extending their wrists and begging for the chains.

I assumed here that orthoganality was referring to the general public, not the MeFites commenting in this thread.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:09 AM on October 27, 2007


Come on, this is the Internet! Surely there's no better place for nuanced opinions? In political discussions?

Wait, what?
posted by palidor at 8:18 AM on October 27, 2007


I basically agree that America is, in general, sliding downhill. Soon we will be at the bottom, with the rest of the pigshit. But, I feel I should mention that Naomi Wolfe is the worst writer in the history of time.

... a rosy-cheeked thirtysomething mother of two small children, in soft yoga velours, started to tear up...

Puke.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 8:48 AM on October 27, 2007


Find the extra "e" in that comment, and win 1 billion Stanley Nickels!
posted by synaesthetichaze at 8:49 AM on October 27, 2007


So, 42 years ago, Gunter Grass said we in the U.S. have nothing to fear from fascism, and that makes you unconcerned? Maybe you should try to keep up with current events.

You totally missed the point of that anecdote. The point was that leftist "intellectuals" have been proffering this paranoid fantasy for more than 40 years, yet somehow it's never come to pass.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 9:47 AM on October 27, 2007


Since the name of Günter Grass is being bandied about, here's something that he wrote a little more recently than 1965:

Is this really the United States of America, the country we fondly remember for any number of reasons? The generous benefactor of the Marshall Plan? The forbearing instructor in the lessons of democracy? The candid self-critic? The country that once made use of the teachings of the European Enlightenment to throw off its colonial masters and to provide itself with an exemplary constitution? Is this the country that made freedom of speech an incontrovertible human right?

I wonder if Herr Grass still thinks that the cabal of paranoid American leftist intellectuals have been sniffing a little too much glue.
posted by blucevalo at 10:20 AM on October 27, 2007 [4 favorites]


From the first link:
Someone else says that his friend opened his luggage to find a letter from the TSA saying that they did not appreciate his reading material. Before I go into the security lines, I find myself editing my possessions. In New York's LaGuardia, I reluctantly found myself putting a hardcover copy of Tara McKelvey's excellent Monstering, an expose of CIA interrogation practices, in a garbage can before I get in the security line; it is based on classified information. This morning at my hotel, before going to the sirport, I threw away a very nice black T-shirt that said "We Will Not be Silenced" -- with an Arabic translation -- that someone had given me, along with a copy of poems written by detainees at Guantanamo.

In my America we are not scared to get in line at the airport. In my America, we will not be silenced.


Um, no, Naomi, in your America apparently we are scared to get in line in the airport if our T-shirts say something in Arabic and we have reading material that's somewhat critical of the government -- in our checked luggage. Silenced -- you think?

For fuck's sake. If you think people shouldn't have to feel intimidated in their own country, don't succumb to intimidation. Get on the Big Scary List. Call their bluff. Lead by example.

Those Nova Scotia kids who wore pink T-shirts to school have more gumption and credibility than this "activist" for "liberalism" who throws away "suspicious" literature simply out of uncertainty.
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:21 AM on October 27, 2007 [3 favorites]


The point was that leftist "intellectuals" have been proffering this paranoid fantasy for more than 40 years, yet somehow it's never come to pass.

Serious question: Do you think there's no more reason to worry about this stuff now than there was 40 years ago?
posted by languagehat at 10:23 AM on October 27, 2007


You don't feel Grass compromised his credibility by waiting until 2006 to admit that he was a member of the Waffen SS, an elite corps which began as Hitler's personal bodyguard, and which is infamous for its many atrocities, Steven?

Do you suppose he might have been a little reluctant to annoy a government which he would have reasonably assumed had information about him he would prefer not to see published?
posted by jamjam at 10:31 AM on October 27, 2007


Those Nova Scotia kids who wore pink T-shirts to school have more gumption and credibility than this "activist" for "liberalism" who throws away "suspicious" literature simply out of uncertainty.

Hear, hear. Wolf's behavior is especially weak compared to the courage the people of Burma have shown by standing up to a real dictatorship.
posted by homunculus at 10:37 AM on October 27, 2007


Serious question: Do you think there's no more reason to worry about this stuff now than there was 40 years ago?

I think there is less reason to worry about it than there was 40 years ago. 40 years ago J. Edgar Hoover was chairman-for-life of the FBI, and he actually did engage in many of the kinds of police-state surveillance operations described here.

Let me describe what I think is going on.

Leftist intellectual faces the awful possibility that he is completely insignificant. He might not matter. He might be completely unimportant. His ability to amke a difference might be negligible.

Obviously that's an unacceptable situation. Clearly, leftist intellectuals are vital, important, persuasive, and thus dangerous to the status quo.

But if they are, then presumbly those who benefit from the status quo will be worried and try to do something about them. Problem is, there's no obvious evidence that they are.

Which leads us back to that awful possibility that maybe the leftist intellectual actually is unimportant. No, that can't be. So if the status quo doesn't seem to be responding to us leftist intellectuals overtly, then they must be doing it in secret. They're watching us, with spies and with robotic dragonflies. They're keeping lists and checking them twice. They're preparing for some kind of massive swoop-and-arrest sometime in future.

Which is very comforting to the leftist intellectual -- for if that were not the case, the leftist intellectuals would once again be forced to face the awful possibility that they don't matter, that they're unimportant, uninfluential, insignificant.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:41 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


You totally missed the point of that anecdote. The point was that leftist "intellectuals" have been proffering this paranoid fantasy for more than 40 years, yet somehow it's never come to pass.

It may be possible that it is because leftist intellectuals have been proffering this paranoid fantasy for more than 40 years that it has not come to pass.

One of the ways you defend against a single, narrow ideology-- any ideology-- assuming complete control is to extrapolate the worst-case scenario and publicize it. You may feel that this scenario is unrealistic, but please don't be dismissive. Don't ask the miners to stop whining about the sagging roof because there hasn't been a cave-in yet.
posted by phooky at 10:41 AM on October 27, 2007


(On preview: I can only speak for myself, but I'm not interested in making things better than they were 40 years ago, or fifty years ago, or one hundred. I know that, in general, many of us are better off now than then. That's not what I want to work for. What I am concerned with is improving what we have now.

I have no idea how you can possibly look at the world today, shrug, and say, "good enough".)
posted by phooky at 10:50 AM on October 27, 2007 [1 favorite]


Phooky: A man stood on a stool in the town square at 1 in the morning, beating on a drum and blowing a bugle. Eventually a cop came up to him and asked him what he was doing.

"I'm keeping wild elephants away. They're dangerous, you know."

The cop responded, "There isn't a wild elephant within 3000 miles of here!"

The man on the stool nodded. "Yup! See, it works!"
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 10:51 AM on October 27, 2007


The man on the stool nodded. "Yup! See, it works!"

Oh, now I see how silly free speech is. Thanks for pointing that out. Those founders! What will they think of next!

(crawls back to cave, disappointed at failure of attempt at rational discussion)
posted by phooky at 10:55 AM on October 27, 2007


(crawls back to cave, disappointed at failure of attempt at rational discussion)

Lies! We all know you're crawling back to your ivory tower.
posted by palidor at 11:05 AM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


AT&T logo improvement
posted by homunculus at 11:26 AM on October 27, 2007


Bush to Give Senate Panel Some Domestic Spying Docs, But Will It Sway Anti-Immunity Lawmakers?
posted by homunculus at 11:33 AM on October 27, 2007


they're not afraid of ending up in prison, they're just afraid of messing up their resumes

they're not afraid of being shot in the middle of the night by a government agent, they're afraid of losing their comfortable toys

they're not afraid of being forcibly reeducated, they're afraid of dirty looks from airport security

they're not afraid of being put in a concentration camp to die, they're afraid of being on a list

they even think they should be in the military and be able to protest against the government without it damaging them in their CHOSEN career, working for the people who are messing this country up


Okay, now this (this above) is an example of the straw man argument. Thank you.

If you want to change the world, start by looking in the mirror. We don't want you telling us what you think we should do. Because you know who else blamed an entire group of people for a nation's ills (and for the Versailles Treat)? That's right, it was...
posted by KokuRyu at 12:03 PM on October 27, 2007


Mother Teresa?
posted by palidor at 12:11 PM on October 27, 2007


Leftist intellectual faces the awful possibility that he is completely insignificant.

Just for clarification, was that in 1965, or now?
posted by gimonca at 12:32 PM on October 27, 2007


Gimonca: both. It's been a continuous problem since the late 1950's.

Phooky: Oh, now I see how silly free speech is. Thanks for pointing that out. Those founders! What will they think of next!

I think you're deliberately missing the point I'm making.

You have a right to free speech. You don't have a right to insist that I agree with you, or that I take you seriously. I have a right to disagree with you and to say that I think your fears are wildly exaggerated.

I don't think that wild elephants would have shown up to take away my right of free speech, or yours either, whether leftist intellectuals had been beating drums and blowing bugles about it or had not been.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:40 PM on October 27, 2007


Wait a second here. There was a link to a site which had a link to a site that implied some positive regard for Ron Paul. Where are all the statists looking to shit on an advocate for liberty? There isn't a single 'LOLbertarian' comment as of yet. The vigilance of the collectivists has gone slack.

How dare anyone bemoan the loss of personal liberty and assert that government has both overstepped its bounds and desires to further restrict citizens' rights? National ID cards, telephone surveillance, restrictions on travel, non-free speech zones, diminishing the power of habeas corpus, restrictions on cash, and monitoring the internet for the sake of protecting intellectual property are all examples of the 'good' government we want. Some of those have been enacted others are merely proposed, but that's the shape of current progress. I guess it must take a fringe dwelling, ingrate paranoid to complain.

*****

Steven C. Den Beste,

I don't know what this hard-on for the leftist intellectual is about but many of us who are concerned about the continuing encroachment of government, particularly federal government, favor the labels "Constitutionalist" or "Libertarian" or "small government conservative". Liberals are hardly the only ones raising their eyebrows at the powers and activities of federal law enforcement. From my viewpoint they don't offer much in the way of criticism. Liberals favor centralization and big government, and so, their objections are meager.
posted by BigSky at 12:56 PM on October 27, 2007


"Leftist intellectuals" don't exist. Neither do "liberals" or "conservatives" or any other group that only serves as a stereotype and straw man for someone's argument. There are only people with thoughts and concerns.

Don't make the mistake of connecting a person's thoughts with one of these labels. It does nothing to foster understanding of their concerns.
posted by palidor at 1:19 PM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


There isn't a single 'LOLbertarian' comment as of yet.

*Sigh* People always seem to pick on Ron Paul, probably because they are afraid of what he represents.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:49 PM on October 27, 2007


F7
Ihre Papiere, bitte!
:-)
posted by nostrada at 1:52 PM on October 27, 2007


I am quite concerned about America's slow progression toward restriction of freedoms.

When it started that some wacko constructionists decided that there's no right to privacy in the constitution, I knew that the progression was inevitable. It has been slow, and it will be slow. Steven, don't be so swift to parrot the talking points of what has become of the Republican Party, they're as authoritarian as the Democrats wanted to be but were too afraid to let it show.

As for me, I take a very, very broad, interpretation of the 4th, 9th, and 10th amendments to the Constitution, and I take it very seriously. I have a strong feeling Thomas Jefferson would agree with me when I say this:

No governmental entity, or any entity which gains any fraction of its income or assets directly from the people (i.e. Telecom companies making money from public airwaves and transmitting data on publicly subsidized infrastructure) has any right to ANY information about who I am beyond what is strictly necessary to provide a service which I request. Any information beyond that which is strictly necessary to provide me a service must be obtained by a warrant supported by probable cause in the investigation of a crime.

That means the Federal Government has only the right to know the following:

Full Name
Place of Birth
Birth Date
Current Address
Social Security Number
Unique Tax ID (also SSN for practical purposes)
Annual Income and associated income information for tax purposes.

They are entitled to nothing else unless I look for a civil service job or want a security clearance.

Same goes for any company who benefits from publicly owned assets. AT&T? They not only do not have the right to throttle my data, the do not have the right to snoop on it, nor do they have the right to know if I'm 60 days late on a water bill.

Remember, any right not specifically given to the government or denied to the people remains with the people.
posted by chimaera at 2:00 PM on October 27, 2007 [2 favorites]


like that fancy new laptop you just bought? you might want to think twice about whats on it... if you are taking it overseas
posted by specialk420 at 3:59 PM on October 27, 2007


Why, thankyou, specialk420. Outrage registers overloaded.

So far, my partner has never had his laptop searched when traveling to the States. As far as we know, our personal data hasn't been searched either, but our computers go through customs in our absence, with household goods (and not in the US, only between other places). Although, in our move from the US to Germany, I was suspicious of my harddrive being dead on arrival.

We The People are being trampled by a government completely out of control. At every turn we are offered some reason to be in fear, some justification, however lame, for every violation of our rights or very dignity. And I do mean, every turn. It's not a left/right or Democrat/Republican polarized issue. The polarity is illusion. The only real polarity is us vs. them, for some value of 'them' we are not allowed to know with certainty.

The illusion of polarity is placed to confound us, to divide The People to our detriment. The outrage itself serves those who would continue to hold power over our lives, hence the continuous barrage of increasingly more offensive intrusion--With the added benefit that the worse things are, the less effort it takes to make things seem better. The prisoner who is beaten will be grateful when the pain ends, while the bars remain.

As Americans, I fear a large part of the problem is, it's simply too easy to tell ourselves "This can't be as bad as it seems, this is America! Land of the Free!". If our neighbor isn't outraged too, surely it can't be as bad as it appears.

Now we are nearly 7 years deep into this crap, since the SCOTUS decided counting votes was bad, and appointed the current administration, and was allowed to get away with it. And then the whole 9-11 thing erupted, and the screwy election became an historic side note. It's been seven years of being told to be afraid. Seven years of being told "everything changed".

This whole mess is like a slow-moving snake. Many don't notice the loops slowing moving around our necks. Those that do notice may forget, because it's not squeezing, yet. We get used to it being there. Worse, some accept it, because that snake is really there to protect us. It must be so, because the authorities, charged with our protection, assure us that is the case.

Now, after seven years, how do you tell between who drank the koolaid, and who's passing it out? Is there a difference? Who's in on the scheme, and who's merely fooled? And does that really matter, when there's a snake around your neck, poised to strangle the life out of you?
posted by Goofyy at 12:18 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh come on. Joe Average is afraid.
People are censoring their own behaviour out of fear.

People are NOT afraid they're unimportant, people are NOT afraid that they have something to hide, people are afraid that normal innocent things they do will be erroneously flagged as suspicious by the incompetent over-reach of vast semi-automated Kafkaesque dragnets, whereupon they add to the masses of other innocent people who have lost their time, money, work, and/or dignity, and for whom the nightmare does not end.

To respond to how many citizens are living in fear right now by dismissively pointing out that they're hardly going to be executed, is just disgusting.

Joe Average is afraid because so many other Joe Averages like themselves and people they know, with nothing to hide and no reason to be deemed "suspicious", have been ensnared. That makes it a rational fear, not a make-believe one. The situation that has generated all these very real reasons to fear is the problem, not the fear.

It's contemptible that so many think it's all tin-foil-hats and puffery unless secret-police are provably committing mass-executions.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:30 AM on October 28, 2007 [1 favorite]


I miss the good old days when conservatives hated big government.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:32 AM on October 28, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh, and another thing to consider: in the past few years, foreign visitors to the United States have gone down. Friends of mine have complained about things like being fingerprinted, or subjected to interview sessions where they're asked in detail about what they're doing in the States in question (on the bright side, they're definitely not using racial profiling exclusively; my friend was a white 24 year old female).

Quick question: why are foreigners upset about increased scrutiny?

Hint: it's not because they're terrorists.
posted by Deathalicious at 3:35 AM on October 28, 2007


Easy way to get rid of (any new) fear:

have your amygdala removed!

Old fears...can't help ya.
posted by Chocomog at 7:57 PM on October 28, 2007


"For the past hour, I have my eyes fixed on the doors here," he said. "You talk about fascism and police repression. In Germany when I was a student, they come through those doors long ago. Here they must be very slow."

Please do not be concerned until you can no longer be concerned.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:26 PM on October 28, 2007


The point was that leftist "intellectuals" have been proffering this paranoid fantasy for more than 40 years, yet somehow it's never come to pass.

Speaking of things that never came to pass, how's that free and peaceful Iraq working out for you, Steve?

I'm not convinced that fears of internal controls in America aren't paranoid, but I am convinced that Steven C. Den Beste is one the least credible people on the internets to expound on this--or any other--serious topic. Stick to your anime children, Steven; leave politics to others.
posted by octobersurprise at 5:54 AM on October 29, 2007


‘When the President Does it, That Means That it is Not Illegal’
posted by homunculus at 10:16 AM on October 29, 2007


AT&T Explains Guilt by Association
posted by homunculus at 11:37 AM on October 29, 2007


I was gonna make a front page post of this, but it belongs buried in this thread instead. Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you. They may not be. They don't have to be, if they've made you paranoid.

Dissent is not treason. If you believe deep down in your heart that it is, you are part of the problem.

Ten things a would be dictator does to turn a democracy into a fascist dictatorship. All ten of these things are happening now, in the United States. Once you know the blueprint for fascism, you can observe it happening. There is a "predictive blurring of the line." It is a gradual, subtle process. It is the temperature in the lobster water slowly going up and the lobsters being totally oblivious. We are lobsters, and if something doesn't happen soon, we are destined to be served on a plate to the Have Mores.

This is an important and powerful lesson in civics, told in a manner that even the average short jewish soccer mom. I say that cuz the speaker is a self-admitted short jewish soccer mom. I wish I could explain all this as well as she can.

Just a couple tidbits from this fascinating speech. I couldn't grab quotes all the time. The following are sometimes paraphrased.

You don't need to do surveillance on everyone, if everyone thinks you have a file on them.

If one third of your money comes from defense, and you have no enemy? You have to fabricate one.

"America isn't driven by ideologies the way that Italy or Germany were. America is driven by profit."

Oh. And by the way, she's on "the list." She's a soccer mom. She's on the No Fly list.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:20 PM on November 12, 2007


"Tyrants love having elections. It validates them. ...There are still elections in a closed society. They are just corrupted." - Naomi Wolf
posted by ZachsMind at 2:26 PM on November 12, 2007


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