In a stark outlook and set of predictions for 2015, former Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul cautioned that America has descended into a police state where liberties are "under siege" and further violent events and inner city turmoil, such as that seen in Ferguson, were likely to occur:
If Americans were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that the Republic is no more. We now live in a police state. If we do not recognize and resist this development, freedom and prosperity for all Americans will continue to deteriorate. All liberties in America today are under siege.
It didn't happen overnight. It took many years of neglect for our liberties to be given away so casually for a promise of security from the politicians. The tragic part is that the more security was promised — physical and economic — the less liberty was protected.
This is especially noticeable in the police war on the lawbreakers — real and unreal — in America. The failures of social and economic policy of the past 50 years have led to a mounting friction between the local police and the rights of the people. Local police have been militarized and have become an integral part of the national police state. A police culture that accepts the principle of initiating unjustified violence against citizens has become a serious problem.
The news is constant. If it's not Ferguson, it's New York City. If not New York City, it's Chicago or Detroit or Cleveland. And I believe the violence in our cities is only in its early stages. We had a taste of the conflict in the 1960s, but the fundamental values of equal justice and economic opportunity have receded further from reality. Failing to understand why the past 50 years of government expansion to eradicate poverty has only worsened the conditions of our cities will guarantee that the violent conflicts we see erupting today will only get worse.
In a lengthy essay, Ron Paul spells out much of the bigger picture problems that have created fractures in a system that is doomed to fail, and designed to divide and conquer the population as it comes apart through an orchestrated game of musical chairs. Paul argues:
Many factors are involved in the crisis of our cities, including the following:
Police brutality, militarization of the police, excessive laws, courts and law enforcement efforts ignoring the principles of equal justice,
Racism that exists to some degree on both sides of the conflict,
Rampant crime reflecting structural poverty,
Absence of an understanding of the difference between earned and stolen wealth,
The entitlement mentality, self-reliance not being a goal for many, and the breakdown of the family unit,
The war on drugs, and
[especially, the elephant in every room and street riot]
The lack of economic understanding regarding the Federal Reserve, taxes, welfare, economic consequences of constant war, deficits, and excessive government spending.
The tyranny of a militarized police crackdown is ultimately a symptom of transferring far too much power to a centralized, federal government in the name of increasing "security" at the expense of "liberty." Thanks to lobbyists for defense contractors, Big Pharma and the prison industry, the military industrial complex has put weapons of war in the hands of police, while using the drug war to upend impoverished communities and justify a crackdown:
This social disruption has motivated the enthusiastic growth and militarization of our local police departments. The law and order crowd thrives on excessive laws and regulations that no US citizen can escape. The out-of-control war on drugs is the worst part, and it generates the greatest danger in poverty-ridden areas via out-of-control police. It is estimated that these conditions have generated up to 80,000 SWAT raids per year in the United States. Most are in poor neighborhoods and involve black homes and businesses being hit disproportionately. This involves a high percentage of no-knock attacks. As can be expected many totally innocent people are killed in the process. Property damage is routine and compensation is rare. The routine use of civil forfeiture of property has become an abomination, totally out of control, which significantly contributes to the chaos. It should not be a surprise to see resentment building up against the police under these conditions.
The overreaction by both sides continues to make the situation much worse. As a result, policing in general is out of control, and anything suggesting racial confrontation leads to rioting, looting, and property destruction. Civil liberties are ignored by the police, and the private property of innocent bystanders is disregarded by those resenting police violence. When police overreact and unfairly enforce the law, it elicits a violent reaction from those on the receiving end. This only escalates the problem. It's an invitation for outside provocateurs to rush in and aggravate the racial tensions…
Why do the race baiters have so much success in making this type of conflict a racial problem alone? Unfortunately many of them make a living off stirring up trouble. If the situation were understood in terms of police brutality and poverty, the evening news would be dramatically different. Turning it into strictly a racial conflict narrows the discussion, and the idea of responsibility for one's action no longer needs to be discussed.
The economic and moral decay of American society is reflected in the loss of liberties. This problem affects all Americans and not just the poor in the inner city. Gradual erosion of personal and economic liberty has proceeded for a century. The loss of our liberty has sharply accelerated since the 9/11 attacks.
We have done to ourselves what no foreign enemy could have possibly accomplished.
Government surveillance provides the state with information that enables it to know our every move. The protection of the Fourth Amendment is gone. Many Americans are comfortable with the sacrifice of liberty for safety and accept the notion that government's key responsibility is to keep us safe.
Society has been trained to expect government to provide everything – unlimited safety and security, free money and benefits, and benevolent control over all areas of society. But the illusion is dangerous and cannot provide these things.
Cheap prosperity for the rich and benefits and handouts for the poor come at the expense of more and more taxes, money printing, surveillance, and control over everything from education to medicine, food, media, and information.
In short, Ron Paul argues that the Welfare State, and the perpetual War State, have made tighter police controls a requirement.
Welfare, which is the use of force to transfer wealth from one group to another, is based on a moral principle of equality that in fact is not moral and does not work. The wealthy special interests, such as banks, the military-industrial complex, the medical industry, the drug industry, and many other corporatists, quickly gain control of the system. Crumbs may be thrown to the poor, but the principle of wealth transfer is hijacked and used for corporate and foreign welfare instead of wealth transfers to the poor.
The very expensive war on poverty has after 50 years only made matters worse, compounding the problems of poverty and inflation while hurting most of the people the "war" was supposed to help. Currently our government spends over $1 trillion per year on anti-poverty programs. Over the past 50 years, over $16 trillion was spent, i.e., wasted. And yet poverty and dire economic conditions remain the major factor in the violence that persists, which incites or gives the police the excuse to overreact to maintain order. The plans and expectations for the war on poverty must have been seriously flawed.
Although the degree of poverty is different for the various races in the United States, all categories — Asian, white, Hispanic, and black — have had a steady increase in real median income from 1964 until the year 2000, when the first of many bubbles started bursting. In all four race categories incomes are lower since then. With the economy moving into the next stage of liquidation of bad investment and debt, we should expect this trend to continue. Economic setbacks and a decrease in real income are not limited to blacks in the inner city.
Reality is now setting in for America and for that matter for most of the world. The piper will get his due even if "the children" have to suffer. The deception of promising "success" has lasted for quite a while. It was accomplished by ever-increasing taxes, deficits, borrowing, and printing press money. In the meantime the policing powers of the federal government were systematically and significantly expanded. No one cared much, as there seemed to be enough "gravy" for the rich, the poor, the politicians, and the bureaucrats.
As the size of government grew and cracks in the system became readily apparent, a federal police force was needed to regulate our lives and the economy, as well as to protect us from ourselves and make sure the redistribution of a shrinking economic pie was "fair" to all. Central economic planning requires an economic police force to monitor every transaction of all Americans. Special interests were quick to get governments to regulate everything we put in our bodies: food, medications, and even politically correct ideas. IRS employees soon needed to carry guns to maximize revenue collections.
The global commitment to perpetual war, though present for decades, exploded in size and scope after 9/11. If there weren't enough economic reasons to monitor everything we did, fanatics used the excuse of national security to condition the American people to accept total surveillance of all by the NSA, the TSA, FISA courts, the CIA, and the FBI. The people even became sympathetic to our government's policy of torture.
In a fundamental way, the naive calls to expand government power in Washington over a period of decades has made the resulting police state, increasing federal control over local police and the rise of a national police force a predictable reciprocation to undue power that cannot meet the needs of the people:
To keep the people obedient to statism that originated at the federal level of government, control of education was required. It is now recognized that central control of education has actually ruined education, while costs have skyrocketed. National control of medical care has brought a similar result. This has meant more money for bureaucrats, as well as drug, insurance, and health management companies, and less money for medical care. Constantly more police are required to run our lives at greater costs while providing less benefit. "Nationalizing" both medical care and education has provided a great incentive to increase the policing powers of the federal government.
The predictable poverty that results from such a terrible system is now upon us and is a strong motivation for the militarization of local police as part of the expansion of the national police state.
Temporary and perceived benefits of government overreach and expanded policing powers end up becoming the real problem.
Basically a vacuum has been created for total control to fill.
To escape this nightmarish cycle of increased poverty met with increased police response, the root of the economic problems must be realized – allowing the central government to plan the economy, and enrich wealthy insiders who are supposed to manage vast programs to benefit the many is certain to end in greater disparity in wealth and a concentrated of more government power at the expense of the civil liberties of the individuals of society.
The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson plus many similar incidents are signs of a serious economic and political crisis that is not limited to police brutality and runaway violence.
Police brutality and militarization may well induce a violent event far beyond what we have seen in Ferguson. It also can serve as an excuse. But it is not the root cause of turmoil. The real cause is poverty, the entitlement mentality, and the breakdown of the rule of law. Moral decay and the national police state are the real culprits.
More police with improved training will not do much to deal with this growing conflict. Bowing to entitlement demands from the "victims" will not be helpful in a bankrupt system. We have too many police, too many laws, and too much exemption of government officials from the crimes they commit. Both adding police and increasing entitlements involve expanding the role of government in an effort to solve problems that too much government has already caused. Government can only be expanded by diminishing the people's liberty.
This problem can only be ended by maximizing liberty and getting people to realize that self-reliance, hard work, and the absence of coercive force by individuals and government is the only way to reverse the downward trend from which we are suffering.
Instead of keeping us safe, and redistributing the wealth to make everyone more equal, and the poor better off, government control has led to an all-out federal government war on all Americans, according to Ron Paul:
It's the federal government that leads the charge in all our domestic wars, which, in addition to the global war on terrorism, include the war on drugs, taxpayers, and poverty, all of which contribute to the constant war on our privacy. Today every American is a suspect. Our president has established a policy that an American citizen can be assassinated without even being charged with a crime. The national police are made up of over 100,000 bureaucrats and police officials who carry guns to enforce federal law on the American citizens. The Founders and our Constitution intended that policing powers would be the responsibility of the individual states. That was forgotten a long time ago.
Not only do employees of agencies like the CIA, FBI, and BATF carry guns, employees of OSHA, EPA, Fish, and Wildlife, and many other agencies enforcing regulations do so as well. The notion of total homeland security being provided by a heavily armed Department of Homeland Security was foreign to America up until just recently. Today, whether it's riots in our cities or chaos after a national disaster like a hurricane, the Feds are there taking charge over all local officials and property owners. It shouldn't surprise us that our local police departments have become an arm of a runaway federal police mentality that mimics an army.
The Founders did not even want a standing army. They wanted only a militia. Today we endure, at the expense of our liberties, a national police force armed like an invading military force. We are destined to see a continued escalation of violence in our cities as the internal conflicts grow. Instead of the police quelling the violence, they unfortunately have become part of it.
2015 holds promise of worsening conditions, including inner city uprisings and police violence. The economic shoe, too, will fall, if not in 2015, then at some point, unless these policies are abandoned.
Ron Paul urges:
We must get people to reject flawed economic policy if we want a real war on poverty. LBJ's war on poverty was no more successful than his Vietnam War — or any war since, for that matter. A national government that can print money as needed to finance extraordinary extravagance can function longer than a city, state, or private entity, but it too must eventually "file for bankruptcy" albeit in a different fashion. As we are now seeing, the bankruptcy of a nation also involves poverty for many. This situation will continue to worsen. Since poverty is a major contributing factor to the violence of excessive police militarization, some fundamentals must be understood. The economic theories of Paul Samuelson, Paul Krugman, John Maynard Keynes, and all those who claim to know how to "regulate" the economy to benefit the poor, must be challenged and abandoned.
Read Ron Paul's entire essay at the Ron Paul Institute, including the above excepts and much more about the underlying causes of American unrest that many have seen coming for some time, but are now here, and worsening with each new crisis and each new demand for greater control and fewer freedoms.
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