Recently by Jack D. Douglas: Osama Strikes at the Heart of the U.S. Empire Again
Totalitarian state powers grow by great leaps and bounds in the midst of obvious threats to the safety of the people, such as major wars and great financial crises. This has happened repeatedly in the U.S. from Lincoln’s Civil War to Bush and Obama’s Global “War On Terrorism” and their “Saving” the American people and the world from the Great Financial Crisis the government created through the wild pump-priming of the Federal Reserve and Big Banks. When the crisis is over some of those powers are reduced, but not eliminated, so the totalitarian powers ratchet up one big step at each major crisis and over a century and a half the U.S. government would by those big steps alone have created most of the totalitarian police powers it now possesses.
The Secret Police and federal banking system are extreme examples of that. There were no Secret Police or federal banking system before the Civil War, though the U.S. Bank Jackson eliminated was in small part a federal bank de facto. We now have sixteen publicly known secret police armies at the federal level and no doubt many top secret ones not admitted to exist, as the NSA and others were long top-secrets. The Fed and Ten Big Banks it guarantees and oversees control about 75% of all banking loans now and are a gigantic financial tyranny working almost entirely in secret on the crucial issues.
These processes by which totalitarian systems grow from created or perceived “Threats” in democracies have been obvious since the ancient world when tyrants like Sulla and Caesar and Augustus built their hidden tyrannies in these ways. Even when Augustus had become an extreme tyrant controlling almost all of the still standing institutions of the Republic of Rome, he was able to hide it carefully enough that most Romans, as far as we can tell, did not know he was a tyrant at all. Other tyrannies have been just as successful at secrecy in Republics, from the Medici in Florence to the USSR and other People’s Republics and the U.S. today.
While they have grown mostly by the big steps “absolutely needed to save the people from grave threats,” they have also used many other deceitful processes and devices. ranging from the use of secret police acts of tyranny, such as massive intimidation of officials and bribery of all kinds. and keeping the ancient forms of freedom but secretly refilling them with tyrannical powers of the Party or Leader, to building the totalitarian powers very slowly in baby steps that come on cat’s paws, very quietly and gently in ways the people rarely notice and when they do accept as “small inconveniences but nothing serious.” Just as intelligent monetary officials build inflation by small increases in the money supply over long periods so the people will not feel enough pain at any time to revolt, so the intelligent tyrant in general uses small steps on gentle cat’s paws to slowly eat away the real freedoms below the pain threshold of public perception. The Fed was imposed on the American people by a conspiracy of big bankers working with the government secretly in 1913. At that time the U.S. gold based currencies issued had slowly been gaining real purchasing power on average since the Revolution, with some oscillations, including the huge inflationary fall in purchasing power during the Civil War when federal greenbacks and Confederate money was poured out by the governments to pay for the war. In this century the Fed has produced a step-by-step, ratchet up inflation of over 2,000% without the people revolting and burning down the Fed. People get very mad during the inflations of war time, so the government imposes price controls which hide the inflation by driving it into the soaring black markets.
Today, after a century and a half of slow growth of totalitarian Party powers at the federal level and increasingly at the state and local levels by percolation downward, the U.S. is a huge totalitarian police state in which the Party, the Republicrats, has very effectively used the “laws” and “courts” to shut all real competing parties out of the big election of the Party Leader, the President. Since the Party Leader appoints the top officials in the courts and almost all other realms of power at the top, the Party’s powers expand very rapidly with full court approvals and the tyranny grows faster and faster. If you look at any good summing up of the day’s news on legal fronts in the U.S. and think about the vast powers some of the court rulings are “giving” the Leader and the Party, you will see them very easily, unless you choose to blind yourself to the obvious. Some of these now are really revolutions against the ancient foundations of our legal system and our most basic freedoms, but they are presented in small baby steps on gentle cat’s paws as “absolutely necessary to protect Americans,” so most Americans will not even bother to notice them.
Eventually almost all intelligent people who are not the major beneficiaries of the vast powers and wealth of the Party government begin to wake up and ask, “Hey! Whatever happened to our freedoms? Why can the police and the CIA kidnap or shoot innocent people and get away with it routinely? ‘Why am I being robbed quietly by the Big Banks to enrich the richest people at the top and none of them ever goes to jail for it?”
By then, of course, it is too late and the “wise” person keeps his mouth shut, allowing the totalitarian police state to grow behind the Mass Media fronts of “freedom.” Most Americans still say in public “Americans are the richest and most free people in the world!” That boast is absurdly false but who will dare speak out in the Mass Media to tell the ignorant or cowed people what has happened to them?
Jack D. Douglas [send him mail] is a retired professor of sociology from the University of California at San Diego. He has published widely on all major aspects of human beings, most notably The Myth of the Welfare State.