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Neither the TSA nor the alleged “war on terror” have anything to do with terrorism

Why TSA, Wars, State Defined Diets, Seat-Belt Laws, the War On Drugs, Police Brutality, and Efforts to Control the Internet, Are Essential to the State

by Butler Shaffer

Whenever justice is uncertain and police spying and terror are at work, human beings fall into isolation, which, of course, is the aim and purpose of the dictator state, since it is based on the greatest accumulation of depotentiated social units.

~ Carl Jung

The title of this article encompasses topics that arouse attention and criticism among persons of libertarian persuasion. The discussion of such matters usually treats each issue as though it were sui generis, independent of one another. Most of us respond as though the woman who is groped at the airport has no connection with the man who is tasered by a police officer; that the person serving time in prison for selling marijuana is unrelated to the men being held at Guantanamo. The belief that one person’s maltreatment is isolated from the rest of us, is essential to the maintenance of state power.

What we have in common is the need to protect one another’s inviolability from governmental force. When we understand that the woman being groped by a TSA agent stands in the same shoes as our wife, mother, or grandmother; when the man being beaten by a sadist cop is seen, by us, as our father or grandfather, we become less willing to evade the nature of the wrongdoing by invoking the coward’s plea: “better him than me.” The state owes its very existence to the success it has had in fostering division among us, a topic I explored in my Calculated Chaos book. Divide-and-conquer has long been the mainstay in political strategy. If blacks and whites; or Christians and Muslims; or employees and employers; or “straights” and “gays”; or men and women; or any of seemingly endless abstractions, learn to identify and separate themselves from one another, the state has established its base of power. From such mutually-exclusive categories do we draw the endless “enemies” (e.g., communists, drug-dealers, terrorists, tobacco companies) we are to fear, and against whom the state promises its protection. By becoming fearful, we become existentially disabled, and readily accept whatever safeguards the institutional fear-mongers impose, . . . all for our “benefit,” of course!

Look at the title of this article: do you find any governmental program or practice therein that is not grounded in state-generated fear? Each one – and the numerous others not mentioned – presumes a threat to your well-being against which the state must take restrictive and intrusive action. Terrorists might threaten the flight you are about to take; terrorist nations might have “weapons of mass destruction” and the intention to use them against you; your children might be at risk from drug dealers or from sex perverts using the Internet; driving without a seat-belt, or eating “junk” foods might endanger you: the list goes on and on, changing as the fear-peddlers dream up another dreaded condition in life.

It is not sufficient to the interests of the state that you fear other groups; it is becoming increasingly evident that you must also fear the state itself! Governments are defined as entities that enjoy a monopoly on the use of violence within a given territory. Implicit in such a monopoly is the recognition that there be no limitations on its exercise, other than what serve the power interests of the state. In relatively quiet and stable periods (e.g., 1950s) the state can afford to give respect to notions of individual privacy, free speech, and limitations on the powers of the police. In such ways, the state gives the appearance of reasonableness and respect for people. But when times become more tumultuous – as they are now – the very survival of the state depends upon a continuing assertion of the coercive powers that define its very being.

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