Recently by Robert Wenzel: The Establishment Is Now Concerned About the Deficit
One of the most oppressive aspects of any totalitarian regime is the inability to talk freely. You just don’t know who is a snitch and when something said innocently can be twisted into sounding criminal, especially with all the regulations in a totalitarian regime. It could be a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend, or even your child indoctrinated in totalitarian propaganda at school that could turn you in.
I contend this is one of the cruelest parts of totalitarianism for the average person. It creates a paranoia about speaking freely. For your own safety, you must keep things bottled up inside. It is a form of solitary confinement.
In a way, it’s kind of a very twisted version of the ominous Eagles song, Hotel California: You have freedom of speech to say anything you want anytime you want, just don’t say anything in front of anyone ’cause you might go to jail.
Anyone who has spent any time with now elderly people from Eastern Europe, who lived under the old Soviet Union regime, know the paranoia and fear they still carry with them about speaking freely.
Barbara Branden in her book about Ayn Rand, The Passion of Ayn Rand, recounts the story of how Rand’s sister visited Rand in the U.S. from Russia.
Rand rented a limousine to pick up her sister from the airport. Rand’s sister indicated to Rand that she didn’t want to talk in front of the limousine driver. Back at Rand’s apartment, the sister wouldn’t talk in front of the cleaning lady. What a terrible way to live.
And such a paranoia about speaking freely is slowly moving over America. The lead agency promoting this potential national death of individual spirit is the Securities and Exchange Commission. They may have no idea how to catch a Ponzi scheme operator like Bernie Madoff (even when letters are sent to them warning about Madoff!), but they sure have evil bastard lawyers who know how to protect the agency and expand the worst aspects of totalitarianism.
Their latest stunts include, as part of the Dodd-Frank Act, slipping in language which exempts them from the Freedom of Information Act. Thus, we don’t get to see what they are up to at all. At the same time, they slipped other language into Frank-Dodd that will pay snitches 30% of all fine money collected by the SEC. In other words, while the SEC couldn’t catch a real crook like Madoff, they are damn good at harassing those who only in the minds of the SEC have done anything wrong, e.g. Martha Stewart and Mark Cuban, and are perfectly willing to payoff those who provide them with leads for the bogus cases that they prefer to bring.
©2010 Economic Policy Journal