What I Don’t Like About Life in the American Police State

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”-Edward Abbey, American author

There’s a lot to love about America and its people: their pioneering spirit, their entrepreneurship, their ability to think outside the box, their passion for the arts, etc.  Increasingly, however, as time goes by, I find the things I don’t like about living in a nation that has long since ceased to be a sanctuary for freedom are beginning to outnumber the things I love.

Here’s what I don’t like about living in the American police state: I don’t like being treated as if my only value to the government is as a source of labor and funds. I don’t like being viewed as a consumer and bits of data. I don’t like being spied on and treated as if I have no right to privacy, especially in my own home.

I don’t like government officials who lobby for my vote only to ignore me once elected. I don’t like having representatives incapable of and unwilling to represent me. I don’t like taxation without representation.

I don’t like being bullied by government bureaucrats, vigilantes masquerading as cops, or faceless technicians. I don’t like being railroaded into financing government programs whose only purpose is to increase the power and wealth of the corporate elite. I don’t like being forced to pay for wars abroad that serve no other purpose except to expand the reach of the military industrial complex.

I don’t like being subjected to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA. I don’t like VIPR raids on so-called “soft” targets like shopping malls and bus depots by black-clad, Darth Vader look-alikes. I don’t like fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement.

I don’t like being treated like an underling by government agents who are supposed to be working for me. I don’t like being threatened, intimidated, bribed, beaten and robbed by individuals entrusted with safeguarding my rights. I don’t like being silenced, censored and marginalized. I don’t like my movements being tracked, my conversations being recorded, and my transactions being catalogued.

I don’t like how the presidency has developed into a neo-monarchy replete with all the luxury and lasciviousness of the feudal lords of old.

I don’t like politicians who spend most of their time running for office, fundraising and enjoying being feted by lobbyists and corporations alike. I don’t like being kept at a distance from my elected representatives, including the president (a.k.a. the Emperor). I don’t like free speech zones, roving bubble zones and trespass laws that restrict Americans’ First Amendment rights.

I don’t like laws that criminalize Americans for otherwise lawful activities such as holding religious studies at home, growing vegetables in their yard, and collecting rainwater. I don’t like the NDAA, which allows the president and the military to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely. I don’t like the Patriot Act, which opened the door to all manner of government abuses and intrusions on our privacy.

I don’t like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which has become America’s standing army in direct opposition to the dire warnings of those who founded our country. I don’t like military weapons such as armored vehicles, sound cannons and the like being used against the American citizens. I don’t like government agencies such as the DHS, Post Office, Social Security Administration and Wildlife stocking up on hollow-point bullets. And I definitely don’t like the implications of detention centers being built that could house American citizens.

I don’t like the fact that since President Obama took office, police departments across the country “have received tens of thousands of machine guns; nearly 200,000 ammunition magazines; thousands of pieces of camouflage and night-vision equipment; and hundreds of silencers, armored cars and aircraft.”

I don’t like America’s infatuation with locking people up for life for non-violent crimes. There are over 3,000 people in America serving life sentences for non-violent crimes, including theft of a jacket, siphoning gasoline from a truck, stealing tools, and attempting to cash a stolen check. I don’t like paying roughly $29,000 a year per inmate just to keep these nonviolent offenders in prison.

I don’t like having my hard-earned taxpayer dollars used against me.

I don’t like the partisan nature of politics today, which has so polarized Americans that they are incapable of standing in unity against the government’s abuses. I don’t like the entertainment drivel that passes for news coverage today.

I don’t like the fact that those within a 25-mile range of the border are getting a front row seat to the American police state, as Border Patrol agents are now allowed to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant.

I don’t like public schools that treat students as if they were prison inmates. I don’t like zero tolerance laws that criminalize childish behavior. I don’t like a public educational system that emphasizes rote memorization and test-taking over learning, synthesizing and critical thinking.

I don’t like police precincts whose primary purpose—whether through the use of asset forfeiture laws, speed traps, or red light cameras—is making a profit at the expense of those they have sworn to protect. I don’t like militarized police and their onerous SWAT team raids.

I don’t like Department of Defense and DHS programs that transfer surplus military hardware to local and state police. I don’t like government programs that reward cops for raiding homes and terrorizing homeowners. I don’t like local police dressing and acting as if they were the military while viewing me as an enemy combatant.

I don’t like being treated as if I have no rights.

I don’t like cash-strapped states cutting deals with private corporations to run the prisons in exchange for maintaining 90% occupancy rates for at least 20 years. I don’t like the fact that American prisons have become the source of cheap labor for Corporate America.

I don’t like feeling as if we’ve come full circle back to a pre-Revolutionary era.

I don’t like answering to an imperial president, who operates above the law. I don’t like the injustice that passes for justice in the courts. I don’t like prosecutors so hell bent on winning that they allow innocent people to suffer for crimes they didn’t commit.

I don’t like the double standards that allow government officials to break laws with immunity, while average Americans get the book thrown at them. I don’t like cops who shoot first and ask questions later. I don’t like police dogs being treated with more respect and afforded more rights than American citizens.

I don’t like living in a suspect society. I don’t like Americans being assumed guilty until they prove their innocence. I don’t like the fact that 38 states require that a property owner prove his innocence when police have laid claim to it in a civil forfeiture proceeding, whether or not that individual has done anything wrong.

I don’t like technology being used as a double-edged sword against us. I don’t like agencies like DARPA developing weapons for the battlefield that get used against Americans back at home. I don’t like the fact that drones will be deployed domestically in 2015, yet the government has yet to establish any civil liberties protocols to prevent them from being used against the citizenry.

Most of all, I don’t like feeling as if there’s no hope for turning things around.

Now there are those who would suggest that if I don’t like things about this country, I should leave and go elsewhere. And there are certainly those among my fellow citizens who are leaving for friendlier shores. However, I happen to come from a long line of people who believe in the virtue of hard work and perseverance and in the principle that nothing worthwhile comes without effort.

So I’m not giving up, at least not anytime soon. But I’m also not waiting around for the government to clean up its act. I’m not making any deals with politicians who care nothing about me and mine. To quote Number Six, the character in the British television series The Prisoner: “I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own!”

I plan to keep fighting, writing, speaking up, speaking out, shouting if necessary, filing lawsuits, challenging the status quo, writing letters to the editor, holding my representatives accountable, thinking nationally but acting locally, and generally raising a ruckus anytime the government attempts to undermine the Constitution and ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry.

As I make clear in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’re at a crisis point in American history. If we don’t get up off our duffs and get involved in the fight for freedom, then up ahead the graveyard beckons. As Martin Luther King Jr. warned, “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality.”

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John W. Whitehead-BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
John W. Whitehead is an attorney and author who has written, debated and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law and human rights. He is the president and spokesperson of the Rutherford Institute. Mr. Whitehead is the author of numerous books on a variety of legal and social issues, including A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Arkansas and a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law, and served as an officer in the United States Army from 1969 to 1971.

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  1. I don’t like those things either, Mr. Whitehead.

    But unlike you, I do not consent to them.

    You see, governments derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed. To demonstrate that consent, they hold elections. We have something called winner-take-all elections. So when you vote for a local candidate, a worthy issue, or cast some sort of protest vote, you are granting your consent of the governed to the government holding the election. Since you have to sign your name to register to vote and again to vote, whatever that government subsequently does, is done in your name, the name you signed in order to do your civic duty, grant your consent, and delegate your power.

    As for holding your elected officials accountable, there is no right of recall at the federal level, so elected officials have total impunity to do whatever they wish while in office, and your only recourse is to try to vote them out after they have done irreparable damage that your grandchildren will be paying for, such as running up enormous debts, waging wars of aggression, and all the other abuses you list. Once you vote, your job is done. You have declared yourself incompetent and designated guardians to oversee your affairs for you. You have granted them an unlimited and irrevocable (during their terms of office) power of attorney to act in your name in all matters they see fit. They can incur debts in your name, for which you are responsible, without bothering to consult you, because if you weren’t incompetent to handle your own finances, you wouldn’t have granted them the power to do it.

    And you cannot sue them because they have sovereign immunity. Have you read Justice John Paul Stevens explanation of the unfounded abomination that immunity is? It is in his otherwise absurd book, “Six Amendments,” which is absurd because he was a Supreme Court Justice and he knows full well that the Supreme Court has the power to use any Amendments that might happen to be ratified, in a manner directly opposite of that which was intended, as they used the 14th Amendment in Bush v. Gore 2000.

    In addition to your list, I don’t like having an unelected body, the Supreme Court, with the Divine Right of Kings, so that no matter how unprecedented, irrational, and even downright insane their edicts may be (corporations are people? money is speech?), they cannot be appealed. Humans with the Divine Right to issue edicts which cannot be appealed is one of the things this country’s founded shed blood to rid us of, but the Constitution decided that as long as it was nine people, rather than one, there was nothing wrong with Divine Right.

    And the Constitution was never submitted to the State legislatures as it should have been. It is a fraudulent as having the names of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates on ballots when the Constitution expressly forbids us to vote for those offices–only the members of the Electoral College, who you are really voting for, and whose names are not on the ballot, can do that.

    I stopped voting in 2006. Whatever this government may do, it is not in my name and it does not have my consent. If it continues to screw me, it is rape, not consensual political intercourse, because I have not agreed to allow it. Yes, it has the power to screw me, but I do not have to give my consent. Whatever mandate the government claims from its ritual electoral farce, does not include me.

    Refusing to grant your consent is legal, nonviolent, and effortless. Just as voting is performing your civic duty, refusing to vote is noncompliance, refusing to legitimize an illigetimate government. If you don’t like something, it seems to me that even if you can’t rise up and participate in an armed revolution, the very least that you can do is stop supporting that which you don’t like. Stop authorizing it. Stop consenting to tyranny.

    So tell me, Mr. Whitehead, why do you continue to consent to things you don’t like?

    • Well put; very well said. And … I fully agree.

      • Ribbit-Mark says:

        Me too! 🙂

        Now that pretty much all of the “don’t like” ‘s have been enunciated, let’s see how creative (or not) we can be here at BFP with a plan to effectively change the quagmire we find ourselves in.

        What concrete steps can we as individuals (or as a group) take to turn things around and have a government (and all of its ‘security’ branches) that works for us and not against us?

        The mic is open…

      • Agreed 100%

        So then… What do The People do about the Rogue State? (the most important question facing Americans today)

        That answer is simple: The People impose restraint on the rogue state by choosing– one by one– to cease voluntarily turning control over their resources to the state, and choosing instead to retain control over those resources themselves. This is done by refusing– one by one– to engage in “income tax” excisable activities (and refusing to blindly or fearfully allow their activities to be misrepresented as excisable activities upon which the tax applies, when they really are not).
        The refusal of individual Americans to voluntarily fund FedGov, (via federal income tax payments) forces the state to resort to highly-politically-accountable, highly-politically-vulnerable alternative revenue sources. These include options like direct, apportioned taxes (which will not be tolerated by the people or approved by Congress at multi-trillion annual volumes), and/or increased revenue tariffs (which can raise amounts adequate for legitimate state needs, but are very self-regulating, since consumers naturally choose domestic product alternatives when higher tariffs raise the prices of imports beyond a certain point).
        This solution is precisely the one intended and provided for by the Founders– who didn’t impose the taxation rules in the US Constitution just so they could admire their own handwriting. They put those rules in place in direct anticipation of state behavior of the sort with which we are now plagued.

        As even so odious a character as Hamilton pointed out in Federalist #21:

        “Imposts, excises, and, in general, all duties upon articles of consumption, may be compared to a fluid, which will, in time, find its level with the means of paying them. The amount to be contributed by each citizen will in a degree be at his own option, and can be regulated by an attention to his resources. …If duties are too high, they lessen the consumption; the collection is eluded; and the product to the treasury is not so great as when they are confined within proper and moderate bounds. This forms a complete barrier against any material oppression of the citizens by taxes of this class, and is itself a natural limitation of the power of imposing them.”
        What we’ve got today is simply the direct (and perfectly predictable) consequences of NOT adhering to the Founders’ plan. As Frederick Douglass trenchantly observed, “Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”
        We’ve got plenty of injustice and wrong these days. But our fix to the problem was bought for us with blood a few hundred years ago. All we have to do is stop playing along with the rogue state’s false (and rather embarrassingly crude) paradigm concerning who owns what, and what powers to tax have really been granted. As soon as enough of us quit endorsing that nonsense, it’s all good.

        ———————————————————-

        Sibel,
        Please review the information at these links. There is only one legal remedy to our present crises and it’s been lurking here right under our noses all along. Only our own ignorance of the law has prevented us from using it. That has to end now …and fast!

        INCOME TAX DECEPTION SUMMARIZED:
        http://losthorizons.com/Documents/TheTruthInTenSegments.pdf
        http://www.losthorizons.com/Newsletter/NutshellLargePamphlet.pdf
        http://losthorizons.com/Documents/TheTruthAboutThe16thAmendment.pdf
        http://www.losthorizons.com/Newsletter/TakeTheRedPill.htm

        TESTIMONIALS (from CtC educated filers):
        http://youtu.be/oRCxUf_jI_w
        http://losthorizons.com/MidEditionUpdate/Brian%27s1500WordEssay.pdf

        VICTORIES (w/ documented proof from IRS):
        http://www.losthorizons.com/tax/Highlights.htm
        http://www.losthorizons.com/BulletinBoard.htm

        A wealth of additional information on this subject can be researched here: http://losthorizons.com/SiteMap.htm

        Thanks,
        Amanda

    • Before we get into another heated debate about anarchy and whether or not it’s really government, can you imagine that there are any other ways in which you might be giving this government consent? Unfortunately, if we live here and enjoy any of the system we so abhor, we have the duty to make it better. Self sacrifice for the good of the public, which will result in our own civil liberties. Just do the right thing, and stop thinking there’s a magic bullet to symbolically “stop consenting”, if you live here. If you think voting cannot make things better, at all, then don’t. But, stop with the delusion that you are now righteously among the un-consenting because of it.

      A protest vote is mostly a “protest” vote because of people who PARROT this line, like robots. Who’s inputting your data? The MSM tells the robots who’s viable, then the robots parrot. If not for the parrots…

      More splitting of resistance, I think. Like the individualists, anarchists who deny they believe in government, and Mises-bots do so dutifully.

    • ‘… governments derive their legitimacy from the consent of the governed.’ is pure rhetoric. ‘governments derive their legitimacy’ assumes governments are in fact legitimate institutions. But the crucial element is the last part. ‘consent of the governed’ is sure to not read ‘consent to be governed’. ‘of the governed’ offers solidarity; a mass of people collectively holding hands and agreeing to be governed. It’s ok this way because ‘we are all in it together’ for the ‘greater good’. However, consider it’s more personal, direct meaning, ‘from the consent to be governed’, paints a different image entirely. One must raise their hand, and say, yes, I would like to be governed please. Who really wants to be governed? Compounding the issue of this rhetoric, is that ‘consent’, in which ever way you spin it within the frame of ‘the governed’, in virtually all substantial instances of government today, is an illusion. One need not raise their hand to comply. Government, without your consent, takes your money, and ‘governs’ with it.

      • “Government, without your consent, takes your money and governs with it.”
        But you DO give your consent, annually, each time you file your Federal Income Tax return (which serves as your personal sworn written testimony as to whether or not you owe income taxes for that year). Most people have forgotten that the income tax is based on self-assessment and it is indeed voluntary (just as is stated by the IRS itself) – unless, of course, you happen to enjoy the privilege of working for the federal gov’t. The Federal Income Tax is now – and always has been – an excise tax (on the “exercise” of federal privilege). If you don’t enjoy such a privilege then you are not obligated to pay the tax.
        P.S. this is not like all of the bogus (and illegal) tax-cheat methods floating around the web – what I’m talking about here is the only legal method of reigning in a rogue gov’t …in fact, it is the rightful remedy as provided to us by the Founders of the Constitution. Find out more at the links below…

        TAX CODE DECEPTION:

        http://losthorizons.com/Documents/TheTruthAboutThe16thAmendment.pdf

        http://www.losthorizons.com/Newsletter/TakeTheRedPill.htm

        TESTIMONIALS (from CtC educated filers): 

        http://youtu.be/oRCxUf_jI_w

        VICTORIES (w/ documented proof):

        http://www.losthorizons.com/tax/Highlights.htm

        http://www.losthorizons.com/BulletinBoard.htm

        • First, I kindly thank you for your resourceful response. I will be looking into the book you mention. And as for the argument of ‘consent’, I do NOT consent to be governed in any way whatsoever, regardless that I’ve been ‘paying’ income taxes my entire working life. I have been following the ‘rules’ of this government, propagated by the media, schools, and government itself. Whether it be law or not scarcely matters. Even by following the tax code, you follow their laws, not because you like it, because you have to. If not, you pay the consequences: fines(theft), prison, etc. What’s going on here isn’t consent to be governed. It is force. It is not optional, so long as you are within their domain. If an option presents itself, we are met with strong coercion, manipulation, and/or flat out lies(more coercion). If you are not born into it, upon entering their territory, you obey their laws/rules, or pay the consequences. Laws are not optional. They require as much consent as a theif, rapist, or murderer. Consent is an illusion in the context of the ruling class and the governed. So I ammend my initial, narrow sentiment with a broader one, and say that government, with or without your ‘consent’, with or without your money, as an implement of the ruling class, ‘governs’ subjects within its territory and in some cases, without.

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