If We’re Protecting Ourselves, Why Do We Need a Police State?

The discovery of the Times Square SUV bomb by a Muslim street vendor is but the latest civilian thwarting of an attempted act of terrorism. Earlier civilian action foiled attempted plane bombings by the underwear bomber and the shoe bomber, and of course the sole aircraft that failed to hit its intended target on 9/11 was brought down not by the billions of dollars of heavy flying artillery the U.S. military maintains, but by its civilian passengers.

Which begs the question: Why is it that we’re all baa-fully turning one liberty after another over to the Police State—and paying for the privilege, to boot?

Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder rattled sabers in their rounds of the Sunday news shows—adding Pakistan to the long and growing list of terror-breeding enemies to be guarded against, and warning the Pakistan government—previously heralded as an ally—that the U.S. expects “more” from it in fighting terrorism.

With the axis of evil growing ever-larger and more far-flung, Americans can only expect further losses of our rights, privacy, and any remaining, minimal civility from our “public servant” police and security forces.

But why? There’s little evidence the police state that has grown exponentially since 9/11 is producing anything other than more terror. And if the premise that such belligerence is the greatest creator of terrorists, Canada may soon be the latest joining the evil axis, if this treatment of a man and his wife foolish enough to think the U.S. would welcome shoppers to its shores is any indicator:

While luckily (and likely narrowly) escaping arrest so far, I’ve experienced first-hand this kind of belligerent “because I said so” attitude that is very difficult for one raised to view oneself as a free and autonomous adult not to react badly to—as I’ve no doubt most people who travel or otherwise come into contact with the increasingly officious clerk class have as well.

Is it finally time for everyone to yell, “I”m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”? They can’t arrest us all.

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
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