If the idea of a Police State was announced in advance, it would never happen! The people would resist, find leaders, rise up and stop it. But, of course, the loss of personal freedom never happens in one moment of time, but gradually, inch by inch, never moving fast enough to cause too much opposition, taking a backward step now and then, in order to take two forward steps later.
How do we recognise it? And what do we do about it?
There is a hundred and one symptoms, chief being absence of justice for the weak. When one person cannot find justice, all are endangered.
There’s no road-sign saying “BIG BROTHER HAS ARRIVED”. But you can hear his footsteps before you see him. Here are some of the “vibes” you’ll pick up:
When the person you elected can look you straight in the eye and tell you the opposite of what he promised when asking for your vote.
When he tells you your personal liberties must be sacrificed “for the common good”.
When your next door neighbour doesn’t want to get involved because he’s scared what’s happening to you may happen to him if he speaks out.
When the media has become a public prosecutor, in which it stereotypes, accuses and judges those it disagrees with in its articles and programmes.
When reporters will film for two hours to find one statement they can use to misrepresent what you really believe.
When untrue headlines on page 1 can condemn you nation-wide, and a forced apology appear in the smallest print possible on page 148 three months later.
When your producer or business association has set up an expensive headquarters in the capital, awarded its staff large and permanent salaries, and stopped speaking for your interests.
When Trade Unions, Business Associations and Producer Organisations have made their peace with the government in office, and push the “establishment-line”.
When the perks, benefits and superannuation available for elected representatives is more generous than those of the average voter.
When the most feared institution in the country is the Tax Department.
When all the taxes you pay – direct, indirect and rates – take more than 20 percent (in some countries it is now 50%) of the total income of the people.
When statistics become more important than human beings.
When GDP is more real to politicians and statisticians than human happiness.
When young people no longer believe their country offers them a secure, long-term future.
When young people get angry with their parents for pretending that it does.
When the growing percentage of the population no longer care who wins elections, believing that the process is rigged, unrepresentative and undemocratic.
When one wage can no longer support a family – and party politicians tell wage-earners they’re better off.
When crime, violence and vandalism – major signs of a hopeless and visionless environment – are increasing.
When your home is no longer your castle; when private property is invaded; when entry without a warrant becomes a government provision.
When all forms of activity come under “surveillance”, regulation and inspection by government.
When debt is the major factor in every public and private enterprise, used as the excuse for more regulation, confiscation or fire-sale to foreign ownership.
When men and women will hurry by injustice on their way to a Sunday service – and then bemoan the fact their faith is not taken seriously.
When the only political response to every problem is in legislation and regulation.
When politicians see their party, and orders from the Party Whip, as more important than their conscience or the electorate.
When a Minister will allow a great injustice to be perpetrated with the excuse that “Cabinet solidarity” prevents personal commitment.
When ordinary people, seeing the corruption around them, become corrupted themselves by their self-imposed silence and conformity.
Yes, the Police State begins to happen when people no longer care enough for freedom to speak out. As former US President Abraham Lincoln said: “Silence, when we should protest, makes cowards of us all.”
The great Russian, Solzhenitsyn, in his epic, The Gulag Archipelago, wrote of those who languished in slave labour camps:
“.... at what exact point, then, should one resist the Communists? How we burned in the prison camps later thinking: What would things have been like if every security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive?
Or, if during periods of mass arrests, people had not merely sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood that they had nothing to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes and hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand.
“.... the organs (police) would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers ... and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the accursed machine would have ground to a halt....”
There is no such thing as freedom for some and not others. As the famous American lawyer Clarence Darrow said in 1920: “You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free.”
When the State claims it can raise your children, run your business, spend your money, make your decisions, run your life, and defend your family and property better than you can – and makes it a crime for you to disagree ---- BIG BROTHER HAS ARRIVED!!
It will call itself by sweet-sounding names; even “the free society”.
But your own personal freedom is the price you pay........