Soldier Blue

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The Cato Institute has just published an excellent paper by Gene Healy on the creeping militarization of the homefront.

NEXT: Here Come Da Judge

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  1. i think that principled american democracy has been in decline since world war one, but i’m afraid that there’s little that can be done about it. libertarianism is historically sidelined for the nanny state as a civilization grows wealthy and decadent, as we have, and that tytler’s analysis of the athenians is holding true:

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury. From that time on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the results that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.

    inevitably, the people welcome their captors as the solution to all their problems.

  2. “Most big and medium-sized city police forces have come to view the local population as an occupied enemy.” Actually Kevin, the cities that have seen the greatest, most lasting success in reducing crime and improving the quality of life have been the ones that have implemented Community Policing.

    “The policeman is a person in your neighborhood
    In your neighborhood.
    In your neigh-bor-ho-od
    The policeman is a person in your neighborhood.
    He’s a person that you meet
    When you’re walking down the street.
    He’s a person that you meet each day.”

    They still have SWAT teams, but they aren’t so quick to send them to the noisy house near campus on a Friday.

  3. Overall a good read, I thought. The most surprising thing to me was this: “Florida authorities…deployed a tank outside Miami International Airport.” Now _that_ is mindboggling. I hope that tank gun wasn’t loaded…

  4. joe,

    I don’t doubt that at all. Unfortunately, with crime as with all other social problems, the powers that be have a vested interest in NEVER fixing them. Then they’d be out of a job.

    I don’t think there’s a deliberate strategy of refusing to adopt measures like community policing, so as to drive up crime and thus create more power for cops. It’s just an example, rather, of government choosing the “solution” that most empowers government, and creating a spiralling cycle of irrationality that calls for even MORE power to government.

  5. Community policing “empowers government” more than “zero tolerance,” Guliani tactics? How so?

  6. Will somebody please get Rick Barton a Valium?

  7. Excellent paper, indeed!

    This is just another example of what Richard K. Moore has described as importing techniques of public control from the imperial periphery to the core. This kind of stuff has been going on for thirty years, with the Drug War, the proliferation of SWAT teams, joint training with the military, etc. Most big and medium-sized city police forces have come to view the local population as an occupied enemy.

  8. From the “Executive Summary” of the Cato report:

    And key figures in the Bush administration and Congress have considered weakening the Posse Comitatus Act, the federal statute that limits the government’s ability to use the military for domestic police work.
    The historical record of military involvement in domestic affairs cautions against a more active military presence in the American homeland. If Congress weakens the legal barriers to using soldiers as cops, substantial collateral damage to civilian life and liberty will likely ensue.

    This is a frightening prospect. We’re witnessing the creeping police state. Coupled with the Patriot Act, its a nightmare.

    But, we can fight back, and we must. We can use the “Send this page to a friend” button on the Executive Summary page and send it to our congress people and senators. We should tell them not to weaken the Posse Comitatus Act.
    Our liberty and our children’s liberty may well depend on our taking action now!

    Also, we should email the page to other sites that might run it.

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