Historically, the expanded use of the terrorist label by governments tends to coincide with the rising tides of despotism. A government that quietly seeks to dominate the people will inevitably begin to treat the people as if they are the enemy. Those citizens who present the greatest philosophical or physical threat to the centralization of power are usually the first to suffer. I do not think it is unfair to say that any system of authority that suddenly claims to see terrorists under every rock and behind every tree is probably about to rain full-on fascism down upon the population.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the legal extension of this process, with a vaporous gray language that allows the government to interpret it in any manner it deems useful, which conveniently allows it to interpret a wide range of “offenses” as acts of war against the state.
The Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something Say Something” campaign is the social extension of the process, by which it creates the framework for a paranoid self-censored surveillance culture.