Regime-Based Policing: Another Progressivist Legacy

Recently by William L. Anderson: The Paul Detainment and Metastasizing Executive Power: Another Progressive Triumph

One of the many themes of the Progressivism that has been the governing "model" in the United States since the late 1800s has been the emphasis upon "training" and "professionalism" in the various occupations. (I mean, who can be against "well-trained professionals" doing their work?)

For all of the praise given this particular model — which has been absolutely absorbed into American work and education, not to mention politics — it is based upon the false notion that a society, from its economy to all of its institutions, not to mention families, can be managed through centralized administration. Thus, people really come to believe that the President of the United States "runs the country."

Whenever there is a breakdown in this model, the mantra that comes from modern Progressives is "training, training, and more training." For example, when two elderly women recently were strip-searched by Transportation Security Administration officials, the TSA's public relations machine Pavlovian response was to declare that officials acted according to how they were trained (which is to say their actions were "proper"). Later, the TSA gave a conditional apology, claimed it was in the right:

Lenore Zimmerman, 85, accused the TSA in December of taking her into a private room and removing her clothes. Days later, Ruth Sherman, 88 came forward with the charge that over the Thanksgiving holiday, TSA agents made her remove her clothes so they could inspect her colostomy bag.

In Zimmerman’s case, officials insisted proper procedures were followed but issued an apology for the inconvenience. (emphasis mine)

Unfortunately, as things went, it also turned out that officials were lying about what happened, but lying, too, is part of "professional conduct" in Progressive America. However, the TSA hardly is the only entity these days that violates rights of individuals; indeed, government brutality, and especially brutality toward helpless people, has become the norm, not the exception in American life.

This is not due to the existence of "rogue" officials, "rogue" prosecutors, and "rogue" cops, as the defenders of these people might claim. Furthermore, abuse and brutality is not the result of a "lack of training" or anything else in the Progressivist mantra. There really is rhyme and reason to what is happening, and in this piece, I want to deal with the increasing incidents of police brutality, and especially police brutality toward women.

As I will point out, the brutality that male police visit upon women is a direct result of Progressivism and the supposed government protections of women that have been presented in various laws such as the Violence Against Women Act. (And, yes, the VAWA is squarely within the realm of Progressivist thinking.) Furthermore, I believe that the very things that the "experts" claim make the police more "professional" actually is what makes them more brutal and less likely to abide by the law. In the end, what we have to understand is that the police in this country, for all of their claims to "protect and serve" communities actually "protect and serve" only one entity: the state.

Worship of the state has long been a centerpiece of Progressivism in the United States. As Samuel Blumenfeld has noted in his works that deal with the history of public (government) education in this country, the Unitarians like Horace Mann — who were the early "Progressives" — that led the early common school crusades saw government education as a means of "socializing" children in order to make them into "obedient servants of the state." Throughout the works of John Dewey and others who gave us modern government education, one will find the theme of "serving the state."

Americans today have fully absorbed the view that their existence is to further the American state, including its empire. Witness the bile and hatred that both conservatives and liberals have heaped upon Ron Paul in his current presidential campaign, as Dr. Paul is the only person running for the government's highest office who says that government should protect individual rights, not squash them.

That being the case, one should not be surprised that American police no longer view their jobs as protecting other Americans from being assaulted by others, including their government. Instead, American police as a whole today believe that their job is to protect the state and themselves from individuals who will not submit to their authority.

In watching the very disturbing video that appears here, I came to realize that what we were seeing is the very microcosm of government in the USA. Here is a woman who was falsely arrested, beaten by a cop before she was put into a police car, dragged into a cell, stripped naked by both male and female police officers, and then left naked in front of male officers for six hours.

This was law breaking at its worst, yet the telling thing is not the brutality of what happened, but instead its aftermath. We witness crimes — serious crimes — being committed by officers of Stark County, Ohio, yet the only person who was convicted of anything was the woman being sexually assaulted. Prosecutors hid the tapes from the woman's defense attorneys and other incriminating police videos were made to disappear.

Furthermore, police lied during the woman's trial, and they lied to the media and to everyone else. After a Cleveland television station made the whole thing public, there was an outcry, but nothing was done. Yes, the Ohio Attorney General's office claimed to investigate, but in the end the police were "exonerated," and government authorities quietly "settled" with the woman for an undisclosed sum of money, and no one in authority lost his job.

Stark County is not a backwater by any means. It is the home of the National Football League Hall of Fame, and every year the national media visits Canton when players are indicted into the Hall. Most likely, the police performing that brutal act at least had attended college and very well were college graduates.

This case hardly is the exception; it is the rule. Male police officers today routinely beat up women less than half their size and never face even a whit of discipline for their brutality. Police regularly lie under oath (police jokingly call it "testilying"), and female officers never complain and often are complicit in the beatings and lying.

When I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s, any male who would beat up a woman was scorned as a coward or worse, and that scorn extended to any police officer who would do the same. I recall a friend of mine who was protesting abortion in Rome, Italy, in the 1990s being arrested. When she refused to cooperate with the police, the males sent the female officers out of the room and then proceeded to beat up my friend.

However, unlike American female police officers who seem to enjoy brutality against women as much as their male counterparts, the Italian women officers screamed and beat against the door and demanded that the beating stop. The men ultimately were shamed by the women into stopping their assault; something like that simply could not and would not happen in the USA.

(My friend spent six weeks in the Rome jail, and said it had a wonderful library and one could purchase wine at the commissary to have with the evening meal. If an inmate were misbehaving, she said, the authorities would come down with what they believed was a most severe consequence: withholding that person's wine for the night.)

The question, of course, is why American authorities, be they police, TSA agents, prosecutors, or others dressed in "official" costumes, are protected from any consequences when they brutalize innocents and weak people, lie under oath, break the law, and more. I believe the reason is simple: Americans today who are placed in positions of authority know from the beginning that their job — their sole job — is to protect the regime, be it local, state, or national. (The fact that most local and state agencies dispense with local and state symbols and display eagles or the American flag, or at best they make the local symbols subservient to nationals ones is most telling about their regime mentality.)

Who is a threat to the regime? Anyone who is not employed in those state agencies whose members carry weapons. Everyone outside those entities exists for one reason and one reason only: to provide the continued funding for those "inside" to carry on with their careers. What Will Grigg calls "mundanes" have as their sole purpose in life to finance and to obey those that "protect" the regime. There is no other reason for our existence.

How, then, does one explain the existence of this brutality toward women and the existence of the VAWA? One must remember that the VAWA is a political act, and so anyone who allegedly perpetrates a violent act against a woman has not harmed an individual, but rather has harmed the state. Likewise, given that the state now takes responsibility for determining what is violence and what is not, there is much leeway to be given to state agents that make such decisions.

Furthermore, everyone who is not part of the "law enforcement" class is seen as a potential or real enemy of the state, and that includes women who don't wear blue or brown costumes and carry Glocks and Tasers. When TSA agents strip down elderly women, they don't do it to protect other passengers, but rather to "protect America." (The 9-11 attacks themselves are seen as an "attack on America," not the destruction of the Trade Towers and the killing of nearly 3,000 people. We use collectivized terms like "national security" to describe attacks on American individuals as opposed to calling them what they are: assaults upon the rights of individual Americans, not attacks upon an entire country.)

After the Bush administration launched its "War on Terror" in the wake of 9-11, it became clear that every American individual who was not employed either by the U.S. Armed Forces or in an American police agency was deemed as a "potential terrorist." And "terrorists" are, of course, the enemy, and enemies deserve no protection. Since it is conceivable (I guess it is conceivable) that terrorists would recruit elderly Jewish ladies to carry bombs in their colostomy bags, those ladies must be strip-searched in order to prevent such dastardly deeds from happening.

So we see the ultimate end of the Progressive movement from more than a century ago: the United States is divided into those people who are part of the regime, and those who are not. Those who are not employed by agencies that protect the regime are viewed with suspicion and distrust and outright hatred by their regime counterparts. The mundanes exist to obey and serve, period. Those employed as protectors of the regime are called "trained professionals," thus fulfilling the Progressivist dream of having such people in control of everyone else.

In Stark County, Ohio, the regime protection mechanism moved full gear. The woman being brutalized was demonized and shown by the police to be someone who was a danger to others. The prosecutors covered for the police and the Ohio attorney general covered for police and prosecutors. The U.S. Attorney General's office, despite the fact that it had videotaped evidence of federal crimes being committed, instead covered for everyone else.

Who paid? The taxpayers of Stark County, the mundanes whose job it is to fund the police and prosecutorial machine and to accept police beatings and wrongful prosecutions all the while praising their tormentors ultimately paid for the settlement of the lawsuit. None of the perpetrators lost his or her job; none of the prosecutors who lied and withheld evidence faced a job loss or even a whit of discipline.

Alas, we see the dream of the Progressivists run headlong into the Laws of Nature and especially the laws of human nature. People who are not held accountable for their actions ultimately are very likely to abuse their privileges and the more it becomes clear that certain lines of employment will offer protection for the worst among us, the worst among us will be those who take such jobs.

Progressivists, like their socialist counterparts, believed that "training" and "professionalism" would negate any tendency of individuals to abuse their powers. What we are finding is that not only was it impossible to create the New Socialist Man, but that all of the formal education, training, and "professional attitudes" cannot keep a bully from acting like a bully. The Progressivists have claimed they have been producing a "kind and compassionate" government, but what they have actually created is a brutal regime that destroys anyone deemed to be in the way.

January 30, 2012

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