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Andy Taylor on the Coercive Power of the State

There are several worrisome things that my friend’s experience illustrates. One concerns the increasing militarization of the police in this country. Do we really want these latter-day Gauleiters swaggering about the joint with their preposterous uniforms, minatory attitudes, and an amount of firepower more appropriate to a battlefield than a small town? (“Ah,” quoth our masters, “everywhere is a battlefield today.”) There was a character in the television series Hill Street Blues, a city police department employee who had a military-garb fetish. He like the boots-jodhpurs-and-belt-across-the-chest look. He was a slightly comic, slightly dangerous, wholly pathetic character.

Now our police and other official agencies are full of such characters. What are we going to do about that? Acquiesce or resist?

My friend’s note also illustrates the larger point that Ken Minogue made. He quotes that bit from The Servile Mind I quoted above, and adds Ken’s conclusion:

Nor does the state deal merely with principles. It is actually telling its subjects to do very specific things. Yet decisions about how we live are what we mean by "freedom," and freedom is incompatible with a moralizing state.

So two goons from a state-funded acronym get duded up in scary uniforms, strap on some heat, and terrorize the local kids and their grandparents: “Remember the first time we went jug fishing, grandpa, and these scary men came up and ruined the evening?” Thanks a lot, pal.

What do we have here? One thing which you should never forget: your tax dollars at work.

And here's a prediction: you will be seeing more and more intrusions of this sort. Sooner or later, it will move from intimidation to tragedy: "I had to shoot the kid, he was reaching for his pen knife." There’s only one thing that can stop it. The people who elected the bozos who allowed this apparatus of intimidation to form must be the people who stand up and replace them. All of them. Now.