Friday, January 25, 2008

Paranoia and Policy. Perfect Together.

Dear George,

It is nigh impossible to run an effective police state without a heavy dollop of paranoia. However, the locus of the paranoia must be with the rulers, not the subjects. All policy generated by the state must be grounded in paranoid assumptions. The more paranoid the assumptions, the more oppressive will be the state.

A police state is only as good as the policies it generates, and your administration is a master of policy generation. Policy is best created in a hermetically sealed bubble occupied only by individuals who will profit from the new policy. Just as you don’t allow environmentalists to sit in on discussion of energy policy, so do you not allow civil libertarians to sit in on discussions of antiterrorism policy.

All policy is a revenue stream for the connected, and paranoia is no exception. The creation of a paranoid-based policy involves the laying down of a series of lines, much as one does with coke. First, you lay down a line of whatifwhatifwhatifwhatifwhatifwhatif. This is followed by a line of, yabutyabutyabutyabutyabut, which is quickly followed by a line of supposesupposesupposesuppose.

Each “what if”, “ya but”, and “suppose” cries out for a solution, no matter how imaginary or fantastic it is. Every solution cries out for new and better equipment. Each piece of new equipment generates another cost-plus contract. And on and on it goes.

Paranoia has created so many new toys that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been forced to create new domestic spying operation, the National Applications Office (NAO). This office will use all of this new technology to spy on Americans who might be thinking radical thoughts and who are on the brink of engaging in radical acts such as dissent.

All of these spy satellites and heat detectors have yielded a new variation of the Butterfly Effect. The traditional Butterfly Effect posited that a butterfly flapping its wings in Beijing would create a cyclone off the coast of Africa. The DHS variant posits that a radical farting in Okemos, Michigan will generate an indictment in Washington D.C.

All of this was the result of an Independent Study Group (ISG) created by DHS in May, 2005, and charged with studying “the current state of Intelligence Community support to homeland security and law enforcement entities.”[i] Of course, the bulk of this group was made up of the people who understand domestic spying the best, the contractors who profit from manufacturing the equipment is requires. Notably absent from the group was a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Their conclusion (surprise, surprise) was that there is “an urgent need for action because opportunities to better protect the nation are being missed.” Some sourpuss of a cynic might suggest that the only thing the nation needs protection from is its government. Cynics such as this are why we need a robust® program of domestic spying. In America, only happy thoughts are allowed. There is no place for a Mr. Grumpus, other than a well-appointed camp somewhere in the barren wilderness of fly-over country.

The happy news is that America will prosper as long as her leaders can utter those magic phrases, “What if?” “Ya but!” And “Suppose.”

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones


[i] All of this material is from an excellent article by Stephen Lendman, “Institutionalized Spying on Americans” that may be found at the above link. -cw

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