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From the Left: The American Republic has become the American Empire

Columnist

Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 02:03

At what point did we allow our country to turn into a corporate police state? When was it that our great American Republic mutated into a nationalist empire? Did it start when President Obama expanded the use of drone strikes in the Middle East, bombing women and children in the hopes of potentially eliminating a single al Qaeda agent, or when his Affordable Care Act restructured our health care system to reinforce, and even mandate, participation in a for-profit and anti-trust law exempt market? Was it then, when his healthcare and financial “reform” padded the pockets of the ultra-rich at the expense of the working class?

No – the situation that we have now is the result of more than a generation’s worth of political apathy, of allowing capitalist bureaucrats and Wall Street financiers to make our decisions for us. Being an anti-establishment government-basher has become fashionable; sitting around and pointing out the flaws of the nation, without making an effort to take a part and offer a practical solution, makes one “cool” and “edgy.”

The USA Patriot Act codified many of the wishes of statists into law. Whether it is the act’s regulation of bank accounts, the broadening of the government’s authority to deport citizens, or the authorization of roving wiretaps and non-consenting business record searches, the act is only the first brick in the construction of the modern police state. We have also had the unfortunate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012, which appropriates and divides up defense and war spending, but contains a blatantly unconstitutional clause that gives the government the authority to indefinitely detain American citizens. And now – even after the intense political backlash against the NDAA 2012 – our Congress has the gall to discretely slip another clause into the NDAA 2013 that repeals the World War II-era legislation that prevents the government from using state-approved propaganda, and would make Washington immune to any court cases challenging them. 

The entire NDAA 2013 sets the stage for an Orwellian thought police program, complete with the blessing of our elected representatives. The impacts of these laws, both constitutionally and as a matter of personal liberty, become even more frightening when we realize that they do not stand alone. Hosts of other bills – from the surveillance-expanding USA Act of 2001 or the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act’s drastic expansion of state-approved execution, or even the protest-restricting Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act that was passed during the populist Occupy Wall Street uprising – are also on the books. One could fill an entire library with books full of these heinously unconstitutional laws that the élite class uses to secure its hegemony. When brought together with the push for prison “reform” vis-à-vis privatization, expanding TSA and Homeland Security powers, and the government’s recent mass purchasing of guns and ammunition, it seems that we are getting dangerously close to fascism.

The dozens of harsh, inhumane bills that were passed from the FDR era and on are nothing compared to the outrageous human rights violations that have been committed in the name of “liberty” and “democracy” since Sept. 11, 2001. We have allowed the bourgeois élite to take advantage of us by uniting us against the “terrorists,” by appealing to a demagogic and emotionalist sense of nationalism and fear. By uniting us against a common “enemy,” they have expanded and centralized police power. Since that tragic day, the profiteering élite have created a false threat, a faux straw man of pending immediate danger of the foreign terrorists who want nothing more than to end our entire way of life and kill all of us, for no other reason than our being “free” and “rich,” not in retaliation for the toppling of their democratically-elected leaders and incessant drone strikes.

The Middle Eastern neo-colonialism of the Bush-Cheney regime reeks of overt imperialism. Who are we to colonize and occupy foreign lands, topple governments that we do not like, and establish radical ones that serve our economic interests? How can we go about proselytizing incessantly about “freedom” and “liberty” while presiding over the systematic eradication and political disenfranchisement of millions of our fellow human beings?

It does not matter who the president or the current administration is, or what political party controls Congress or the governorships. Every single politician that takes part in the government is guilty of the construction of the American Empire. 

We should not be encouraging an expansion of state power; we should not be crushing every single liberty that our Founding Fathers fought for, especially amidst cheering and applause. We should be championing the abolition state authority in all spheres, not supporting it. If we continue to rely on the state to solve all of our problems, then we have no one else to blame for our country’s descent into fascism than ourselves.

 

Dan Fournier is a pre-medical undergraduate majoring in evolutionary biology. He is both a libertarian socialist and an active member in the peace movement.

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