But with yesterday’s
Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project decision (No.
08-1498, also 09-89) of the Supreme Court, coupled with last
week’s Arar v. Ashcroft denial of certiorari (No.
09-923), the case for claiming that the U.S. is a fascist police-state
just got a whole lot stronger.
First of all,
what is a “fascist police-state”?
uses the law as a mechanism to control any challenges to its power
by the citizenry, rather than as a mechanism to insure a civil society
among the individuals. The state decides the laws, is the sole arbiter
of the law, and can selectively (and capriciously) decide to enforce
the law to the benefit or detriment of one individual or group or
In a police-state,
the citizens are “free” only so long as their actions
remain within the confines of the law as dictated by the state.
If the individual’s claims of rights or freedoms conflict with
the state, or if the individual acts in ways deemed detrimental
to the state, then the state will repress the citizenry, by force
if necessary. (And in the end, it’s always necessary.)
key to the definition of a police-state is the lack of redress:
If there is no justice system which can compel the state to cede
to the citizenry, then there is a police-state. If there exists
a pro forma justice system, but which in practice is unavailable
to the ordinary citizen because of systemic obstacles (for instance,
cost or bureaucratic hindrance), or which against all logic or reason
consistently finds in favor of the state – even in the most
egregious and obviously contradictory cases – then that pro
forma judiciary system is nothing but a sham: A tool of the state’s
repression against its citizens. Consider the Soviet court system
the classic example.
is not necessarily a dictatorship. On the contrary, it can even
take the form of a representative democracy. A police-state is not
defined by its leadership structure, but rather, by its self-protection
against the individual.
of “fascism” is tougher to come by – it’s almost
as tough to come up with as a definition of “pornography”.
definition is simply totalitarianism of the Right, “communism”
being the sloppy definition of totalitarianism of the Left. But
that doesn’t help much.
For our purposes,
I think we should use the syndicalist-corporatist definition as
practiced by Mussolini: Society as a collection of corporate and
union interests, where the state is one more competing interest
among many, albeit the most powerful of them all, and thus as a
virtue of its size and power, taking precedence over all other factions.
In other words, society is a “street-gang”
model that I discussed before. The individual has power only
as derived from his belonging to a particular faction or group –
individuals do not have inherent worth, value or standing.
Now then! Having
gotten that out of the way, where were we?