Merriam-Webster defines a police state as a ‘political unit characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures’.
Some characteristics of police states include extensive government surveillance, overwhelming presence of police or military, police enforcement of oppressive mandates, etc. I stumbled upon an article from last May on The Price of Liberty which breaks down these characteristics in a concise but comprehensive manner.
Recently, we’ve been hearing a lot more about police and the military, whether it’s the radically left-wing ‘defund the police’ movement, or the typically conservative ‘back the blue’; there are two very radical and opposing ‘movements’, both with their own slew of rhetoric, some of it being false and others being blatantly obvious truths. I’m not going to attempt to appeal to people on the left, because their arguments can’t be supported using any sort of logical reasoning. Clearly, the core idea behind ‘back the blue’ is that having armed police officers to respond to potentially-violent situations is necessary for public safety; which is arguably correct and I take no issue with that. The problem, rather, is this knee-jerk reaction to reflexively support police and military, even when their actions are clearly indefensible. So far in 2021, there have been a few troubling events that I think are worth highlighting;
Military Occupation of the Capitol
I figured I’d tackle this one first, since it’s the most widely known; after the unruly radical right-wing protesters gained access to the Capitol on January 6, a lot of overzealous security precautions were put in place. Among these, was the deployment of National Guard troops – thousands of them. None of the individuals who infiltrated the Capitol on the 6th brought firearms or weapons. Regardless of your political persuasion, it is fair to say that the massive military occupation for such a long duration of time has not been a necessary security precaution.
Another popular instance occurred just over a week ago, when Fox News host Tucker Carlson called out the U.S. Military for its ‘feminization’, criticizing the ridiculousness of things like maternity flight suits (because pregnant women serving in the military is such a fabulous idea, right?). The official U.S. Army Twitter account tweeted a response to Carlson, triggering an uproar among the conservative community. Tucker also responded on his show.
During a speech at CPAC, congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene incorrectly claimed that Guam was a ‘foreign land’. Of course, while Guam is technically a U.S. territory, it isn’t a state, making it quite a simple misconception. More to her point, sending taxpayer money to Guam is arguably wasteful spending, when it could be better utilized here in the continental U.S.
What’s the connection?
In all of these instances, the military has taken the position of protecting government institutions against the citizens, as well as intimidating prominent individuals who have questioned their course of action.
Notably, intimidating citizens, whether they be talk show hosts or congressmen, is not the purpose of our military.
Meanwhile, our border security has been compromised, just yesterday we had a mass-shooting, committed by an Islamic extremist targeting white individuals, diplomatic discussions with our adversaries (China, Russia, North Korea) have led to increased tensions, so I believe it would be fair to say that the military has much more pressing things to attend to, rather than ‘diversity’ or public relations.
Are we living in a police state?
We are living in a country where individuals have been arrested for refusing to wear face masks, in which governors are releasing violent felons from jail, where illegal migrants are welcomed with open arms; meanwhile the country is still experiencing government-imposed economic failure and individuals are being targeted by law enforcement simply because they exercise their basic constitutional rights.
If we aren’t living in a police state, then we aren’t far from it.