It is in vogue, trendy, and appropriate to look to dystopian literature as a harbinger of what we’re experiencing at the hands of the government.
Certainly, George Orwell’s "1984" and "Animal Farm" have much to say about government tyranny, corruption, and control, as does Aldous Huxley’s "Brave New World" and Philip K. Dick’s "Minority Report." Yet there are also older, simpler, more timeless stories - folk tales and fairy tales - that speak just as powerfully to the follies and foibles in our nature as citizens and rulers alike that give rise to tyrants and dictatorships.
One such tale, Hans Christian Andersen’s fable of "The Emperor’s New Clothes," is a perfect paradigm of life today in the fiefdom that is the American police state. Instead of an imperial president spending money wantonly on lavish vacations, entertainment, and questionable government programs aimed at amassing greater power, Andersen presents us with a vain and thoughtless emperor, concerned only with satisfying his own needs at the expense of his people, even when it means taxing them unmercifully, bankrupting his kingdom, and harshly punishing his people for daring to challenge his edicts.
For those unfamiliar with the tale, the emperor, a vain peacock of a man, is conned into buying a prohibitively expensive suit of clothes that is supposedly visible only to those who are smart, competent and well-suited to their positions. Surrounded by yes-men, professional flatterers and career politicians who fawn, simper, and genuflect, the Emperor - arrogant, pompous and oblivious to his nudity - prances through the town in his new suit of clothes until a child dares to voice what everyone else has been thinking but too afraid to say lest they be thought stupid or incompetent: “He isn’t wearing anything at all!”
Much like the people of the emperor’s kingdom, we, too, have been conned into believing that if we say what we fear, we will be branded idiots and fools. Yet the truth is staring us in the face just as surely as the fact that the emperor was wearing no clothes.
Truth #1: The U.S. is on the brink of bankruptcy - as many economists have been warning for some time now - with more than $16 trillion in debt owned by foreign nationals and corporations.
Truth #2: We no longer have a government that is “of the people, for the people and by the people.” This sorry state of affairs is reinforced by a study which found that average citizens have “little or no independent influence” on the policy-making process.
Truth #3: Far from being a benevolent entity concerned with the well-being of its citizens, whether in matters of health, safety or security, the government is concerned with three things only: power, control, and money. Nowhere is this more evident than in the transformation of police officers from benevolent keepers of the peace to inflexible extensions of the military hyped-up on the power of their badge.
Truth #4: Our primary use to the government is as consumers, worker bees, and bits of data to be collected, catalogued, controlled, mined for information, then sold to the highest bidder. Working in cahoots with corporations, the government has given itself carte blanche access to our phone calls, emails, bank transactions, physical movements, even our travels on foot or in our cars.
Truth #5: Whatever problems we are grappling with in regards to illegal immigrants flooding over the borders has little to do with the fact that the borders are porous and everything to do with the government’s own questionable agenda. Conveniently, the Obama Administration is asking Congress for $3.8 billion in emergency funding which would be managed by the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, State, and Health and Human Services: The very same agencies responsible for bringing about a rapid shift into a police state.
Truth #6: The U.S. government is preparing for massive domestic unrest, arising most likely from an economic meltdown. The government has repeatedly made clear its intentions, through its U.S. Army War College report alerting the military to prepare for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States.”
Truth #7: As President Gerald Ford warned, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have.” We now find ourselves caught in a Catch-22 situation wherein the government’s so-called solutions to our problems have led to even graver problems. In this way, zero tolerance policies intended to outlaw drugs and weapons in schools result in young children being arrested and kicked out of school for childish behavior, and zoning laws intended to protect homeowners have been used to prosecute residents who attempt to live off the grid.
Truth #8: The U.S. is following the Nazi blueprint to a “t,” whether through its storm trooper-like police in the form of heavily armed government agents, to its erection of an electronic concentration camp that not only threatens to engulf America but the rest of the world as well via NSA surveillance programs such as Five Eyes.
Truth #9: Not only does the U.S. government perpetrate organized, systematic violence on its own citizens, especially those who challenge its authority nonviolently, in the form of SWAT team raids, militarized police, and roaming Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response checkpoints, but it gets away with these clear violations of the Fourth Amendment.
Truth #10: As I make clear in my book "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State," the United States of America has become the new battlefield. In fact, the only real war being fought by the U.S. government today is the war on the American people, and it is being waged with deadly weapons, militarized police, surveillance technology, and laws that criminalize otherwise lawful behavior.
So there you have it: Facts rather than fiction, so naked that a child could call it for what it is, and yet so politically inconvenient, incorrect, and uncomfortable that few dare to speak of them.
Even so, despite the fact that no one wants to be labeled dimwitted, or conspiratorial, or a right-wing nut job, most Americans, if they were truly paying attention to what’s been going on in this country over the past few decades and willing to be truthful - at least to themselves - would have to admit that the outlook is decidedly grim. Indeed, unless something changes drastically for the good in the near future, it looks like this fairytale will not have a happy ending.
Constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute and author of "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State." Whitehead can be contacted at email@example.com.
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