THE RISE OF THE AMERICAN POLICE STATE
With the enormous growth of government, federal and state, it should come as little surprise that we are experiencing a fundamental shift in the relationship between the individual and the state with freedom receding and control advancing. That shift is perhaps most evident when government agents bring to bear highly intrusive means or heavy handed tactics against individuals who have either done nothing unlawful or have violated laws that render illegal actions of no material consequence.
In her recent book Police State U.S.A., subtitled, “How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality,” Washington Times’ continuous news writer Cheryl K. Chumley provides a detailed yet highly readable litany of many federal and state abuses of power against specific individuals across the country. She explains that all manner of rights violations are on the rise, a marked increase over just a few decades ago.
The rise of the American police state includesa massive post-9/11 increase in use of warrantless searches; in reliance on property forfeitures before a trial on the merits; in home invasions; in massive data gathering and government storage of private information from smart phones and computers; in the militarization of state and local police; and inregulatory inspections and enforcement actions against people whose regulatory offenses harm no one. Chumley’s account is so compelling because she roots it in specific factual examples, dozens of them.
Here in one place you can find proof of a dramatic loss in liberty. Elected and appointed officials have at their disposal means to direct investigatory and police forces against any individual, including political enemies or those whose actions while lawful upset special interests favored by those in power.
In the nascent years of the American republic, more often than not individual liberty was considered the end of government. Any official action that violated liberty was viewed with alarm and was often rebuked by political leaders with strong public backing and in the courts. Today more often than not political expediency in achieving the designs of politicians is considered the end of government. All official action needed to achieve those designs are justified, met with little opposition in the public and in the courts, and are celebrated by political leaders and upheld in the law.
That sea change has transformed the federal and nearly all state governments from limited republics into bureaucratic oligarchies. The unelected now rule in a manner largely indistinguishable from absolute monarchs without checks from the courts, the legislatures or the American people. As Chumley explains, the unelected now rule tyrannically in the same sense James Madison used that term. Through delegation of legislative, executive, and judicial powers by Congress and state legislatures to independent unelected agencies, the separation of powers has been vanquished and the new authoritarians have arisen (those possessed of a combination of legislative, executive, and judicial power). They serve as the prosecutor, the law giver, and the judge, denying those who appear before them a right to a fair trial.
The absence of an independent judge in many federal and state controversies compounds the problem Chumley explains. It is bad enough to be denied liberty, arrested, and prosecuted for a transgression that actually harms no one (proof of Thomas Jefferson’s statement that “law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual”), but it is far worse to be denied that liberty, arrested and prosecuted only to be judged by the same party that ordered your arrest and prosecution. There is no justice in that, only tyranny. We have sadly reached that dire state of affairs, and we will not be able to overturn it until the collocation of powers is eliminated.
To put an end to the prosecutor and law giver judging the law transgressor requires legislative action to strip government agencies of all judicial powers, relying on the third branch of government, the judiciary, as an exclusive source of judicial decision.
There should also be no creation of law except by the legislative branches of American governments. Presently most law is regulatory, the product of rules and policies by unelected agency heads, not the product of bills passed by the legislatures comprised of the people’s elected representatives. In the Congressional Responsibility and Accountability Act that I wrote for then Congressman Ron Paul, which he introduced, no regulation of any consequence could be implemented by a federal regulatory agency unless first enacted into law by Congress. That measure never left committee but is essential to restore the republic. Like legislation should be introduced in every state to defang the unaccountable administrative state and restore the non-delegation doctrine that the Founding Fathers views as indispensable to the preservation of liberty.
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