A recent round trip in and out of the U.S. reminded me that most of the mechanisms for a fascist police state are securely in place. They run with the efficiency, common sense, and compassion you would expect from the sponsor of crack outfits like the IRS, BATF, and FEMA.
The TSA agent was checking passports and boarding passes. She was sarcastic, condescending, and passively hostile to passengers from whom she demanded documents arranged for her convenience. There was no strip search or arrest. But the idea of Strip Search and Arrest hovered over her like a guardian angel.
She tossed four passports and tickets into a sloppy pile on the table. The soccer mom was traveling with three children, carrying one, and a ton of gear. Two three foot tall girls stood close to her. “If you match those up you save everybody a lot of time,” the TSA agent snapped loud enough for all to hear. Then she folded her arms and waited for the woman to put her papers in order. The woman fumbled nervously assembling her stuff to the agent’s liking.
A TSA colleague cut to the front of the line with two people who were desperately late for a flight. “I ain’t gonna be rushed like that,” the agent said, confirming the vital importance of her duty as passport/ticket checker number two. The latecomers waited with the rest of us for the woman with the three little kids to get her documents together.
Finally, tickets and passports matched perfectly, the agent gave the woman a big, sarcastic, “Wasn’t that easier?” The flustered mother smiled weakly and agreed before she went through to the scanning area. The rest of us waited patiently, biting our tongues.
As mom and the kids headed off to be searched, scanned, and frisked I imagined them approaching the massive steel door to a grass shack.
You might think slamming shut an open, democratic society is something that happens suddenly after a military coup or invasion. But that’s not the case at all. Hellhole police states arise slowly over time, and most often with a majority of voters, or at least a majority of counted votes, supporting them.
The treatment Americans now tolerate at airports is the fascist oppression that will spread like a cancer throughout our lives if we don’t do something about it soon.
Hitler was elected. But once in office, he created the policies that all fascist dictatorships require. These are policies that are already in place, or can be put in place quickly, in the U.S. today.
An incomplete list includes, in rough order of appearance: bogus threats to the security of the nation, foreign war, secret prisons, laws that suspend basic rights, a paramilitary force, arbitrary arrests and detentions, infiltration of political groups, widespread general surveillance, tight controls on money, criminalization of speech, targeting of opposition leaders, and general civilian disarmament.
It is at airports today that we can most clearly see these policies fully implemented.
False threats? Terrorists are everywhere. Even so, you are much more likely to be stung to death by insects than to be killed by terrorists.
Search warrant? You will be able to talk to a supervisor after you walk through the we-can-see-you-naked-machine.
Paramilitaries? TSA agents carry guns and tasers, a big step up from the equipment they used to use at the carwash.
Arrests and detentions? Ask if they think you are hiding a rifle in your wallet. You will probably be allowed to go home after the strip search and interrogation in the tiny gray room.
Control of your money? Take a briefcase full of cash through a checkpoint. Kiss it good-bye. See Arrests and Detentions above.
Forbidden speech? While waiting at the boarding gate sing this to the Beach Boys tune Barbara Ann “Bomb, bomb, bomb, …… bomb bomb I am.” See Arrests and Detentions.
Surveillance? You’re kidding, right? You think you are alone in that stall? Wrap your lunch box in duct tape while you’re in there. See Arrests and Detentions.
Civilian disarmament? Explain to the nice TSA men that you have a license to carry your pistol and you want to sit in the “armed” section. See Arrests and Detentions.
Many who have noticed these policies slowly spreading into the fabric of American life are sounding the alarm. The alarm is going largely unheeded, however, because of the gradual way societies transform.
Fascism is hardly noticeable until one day you stumble over one of the little wires stretched everywhere over the landscape of a police state. Suddenly you are on the ground. You struggle for breath. The boot on the back of your neck is holding your face in the mud. You wonder why nobody notices or tries to help you.
Fascism isn’t inevitable, however. Americans have the means and system to defeat it. There is still time to return to the principles that made the United States the world’s model for freedom and prosperity. Unfortunately it won’t be as simple as replacing the corrupt Republican fascist in the White House with a corrupt Democratic fascist.
Avoiding fascism will require a return to the principles of small government, honest money, free markets and individual liberty. We either embrace these ideas or see Arrests and Detentions above.