Measuring the Extent of a Police State

Wendy McElroy

I believe America’s political institutions are beyond redemption. The hope for America lies with individuals who live freedom rather than talk about it or pursue it through authorized means. Freedom now rests with individuals who say “no,” in combination or alone.

But the issue of where America falls on the spectrum between “free” and “totalitarian” is important to air for at least two reasons. First, there is a key difference between America and most police states. In East Germany, the average person knew he lived under tyranny and he did not expect justice to result from petitioning the tyrant. In America, many if not most people still trust the government enough to believe in reform rather than in the quiet revolution of saying “no.” They still listen to the mainstream media, no matter how bitterly they complain about it. Nothing else can explain why people surrender their liberty and money in return for broken and retreaded promises.

Secondly, even if America is a police state, it’s not intuitively obvious how far the process has progressed. North Korea and the United States exist at different points on a sliding scale of totalitarianism, and merely pointing to rights violations by the U.S. proves little. All states violate rights. When does one become totalitarian?

What is a Police State?


h/t Jim D

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