Ignoring the Obvious

"How can an otherwise sane individual become so enamored of a fantasy, an imposture, that even after it's exposed in the bright light of day, he still clings to it—indeed, clings to it all the harder? No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie."

— Lamar Keene, a scam artist who posed as a psychic, describing why it was so easy to fleece people.

Homo sapiens is a creature of habit. Most people have a strong desire to do what they can to create a life (and lifestyle) that is comfortable for them. Once this is done, we curl up and settle in. We then may add the occasional improvement to this situation, but, otherwise, we prefer then to be left alone to maintain what we have created.

It should not, therefore, be surprising if, when that comfy situation is threatened, we wish the threat would simply go away. Similarly, it is understandable if, when that threat begins to grow, we may simply pull the covers over our heads and pretend the threat either does not exist or at least is far more benign than it appears.

Hence, when we discover that the government that we have been brought up to believe exists for our protection has become no less than the greatest threat to our well-being, we may behave in the way described by Lamar Keene.

Consider the following events with regard to the USA:

  • The Patriot Act, passed in 2001 and extended in 2011 with additional controls, expands law enforcement powers and removes civil liberties and constitutionally guaranteed rights.
  • The National Defense Authorization Act, passed in December 2011, allows the indefinite imprisonment by the military of any "suspects" (including American citizens on American soil) without allowing due process of law.
  • The MAP-21 Bill, allows the Internal Revenue Service to suspend the passport rights of Americans, based on the premise that their tax obligations may be unfulfilled.
  • 30,000 Drones flying over the US, allowed by a bill signed by President Obama in February 2012, provides the government with Orwellian surveillance ability and a killing capacity ranging from selected individuals to entire communities.

The above are all actual occurrences. The reasons for them can be debated. (After all, the DHS may well have ordered 450 million rounds of hollow-point bullets because they were thinking of doing a bit of target practice.)

In fact, each of the above, conceivably, could have been the product of well-meaning legislators, planning for what they conceived as "a better tomorrow." The trouble is, taken together, it is difficult to imagine that this may be the case. Indeed, taken together, they suggest the creation of a police state that rivals what Uncle Joe Stalin or Brother Adolf created.

Circa 1885, folk philosopher James Whitcomb Riley said, "When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck."

At some point, when we observe a government that consistently institutes executive orders and legislation that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it behooves us to conclude that it is in fact, a duck. Is it possible that we may be proven incorrect? Yes, absolutely so. However, when the overwhelming evidence points to the unpleasant realization that our comfy life is soon to end, we would be wise to take preparatory action.

Just how many ducks does it take before we decide there are enough to call them a flock? If such a flock represents a significant and uncontrollable danger to us, we would be advised to get out of the way. In such cases, it is infinitely wiser to err on the side of caution.

Not long ago, I overheard a discussion between an American businessman and an associate from my own country. The American was describing the seemingly endless array of draconian laws and executive orders that have been coming his way, courtesy of his government, in recent years.

His associate said, "I have only one question: 'Why aren't you packing now?'"

Tags: police state,