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America: a police state gone wild


Overcriminalization

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(NaturalNews) Simone Weil, a 20th century French philosopher and political activist, once wrote:

Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus--the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers' enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.

Weil lived during a time of upheaval. Born in 1909, she was still just a child when France was ravaged by World War I; by the time World War II started and France was quickly conquered by Nazi Germany in 1940, she was still a young woman of 31. She would not outlive the Second World War; she died in 1943, perhaps of tuberculosis brought on from malnutrition after refusing to eat more than she imagined was available to soldiers at the time.

Her left-leaning activism prior to her death and in between the world wars distinguished her life. An academic who chose to side with the Anarchists in Spain during that country's civil war in the mid-1930s, she occasionally taught but spent a full year working as a laborer in an automobile factory so she could better understand the working class. She was proficient in Ancient Greek by age 12; she learned how to write Sanskrit. She once admired communist founder Leon Trotsky but learned to understand that communist elites could oppress populations just like the worst capitalists, so she began to publicly rebuke him.

Real champions 'of the people'

Weil was, more than anything, a people's champion, and she well understood that the trappings of power could be -- and were -- often used against the people, instead of in defense of their liberties. Eventually, she found what she was looking for in Christianity, having been betrayed by all manner of political ideology.

Much of what she believed is contained in the writings of John Whitehead, a contemporary author, commentator and founder of the Rutherford Institute, an organization "dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights." Neither politically "right" nor "left," Whitehead -- like Weil -- is a champion of the people, and he has long warned of rising tyranny in America.

"It's no coincidence that during the same week in which the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Yates v. United States, a case in which a Florida fisherman is being threatened with 20 years' jail time for throwing fish that were too small back into the water, Florida police arrested a 90-year-old man twice for violating an ordinance that prohibits feeding the homeless in public," Whitehead wrote in his Nov. 10 column [see it here]. "Both cases fall under the umbrella of overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal and everyone becomes a lawbreaker."

Indeed, he notes, these are the kinds of things that happen -- and they happen multiple times a day, 365 days a year, to millions of American citizens -- when an over-bureaucratized system has been built by the power elites (of both major political parties), then used as a hammer with which to beat the people into compliance.

Bartering away our freedom

Only, as he and others have observed, compliance is impossible, if only because of the sheer number of rules with which the citizenry must comply -- even as the government insists that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

"We've bartered away our right to self-governance, self-defense, privacy, autonomy and that most important right of all--the right to tell the government to 'leave me the hell alone,'" wrote Whitehead, and we have done so "in exchange for the promise of safe streets, safe schools, blight-free neighborhoods, lower taxes, lower crime rates, and readily accessible technology, health care, water, food and power" (none of which have come to fruition).

But in making that deal, "we've opened the door to militarized police, government surveillance, asset forfeiture, school zero tolerance policies, license plate readers, red light cameras, SWAT team raids, health care mandates, overcriminalization and government corruption," he said.

No doubt Weil would agree.

Sources:

https://www.rutherford.org

https://www.rutherford.org

http://www.pbs.org

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