But I never dreamed I'd out-live it.
Chris Floyd sez:
The Republic you wanted -- and at one time might have had the power to take back -- is finished. You no longer have the power to keep it; it's not there. It was kidnapped in December 2000, raped by the primed and ready exploiters of 9/11, whored by the war pimps of the 2003 aggression, gut-knifed by the corrupters of the 2004 vote, and raped again by its "rescuers" after the 2006 election. Beaten, abused, diseased and abandoned, it finally died. We are living in its grave.Where does that leave us? Up Shit Crick, without a paddle, friends.
(We) must also recognize that the kind of civil disobedience that Thoreau preached – and practiced – is immensely more difficult today, because the power of the state is so much greater, far more pervasive, more invasive…and much more implacable, more inhuman. No one would have dared put Thoreau in "indefinite detention" without charges, or torture him, or delegate some underling in intelligence apparatus (which didn't exist then) to kill him as a "suspected terrorist." Of course there were many egregious suspensions of Constitutional liberties and draconian measures during the Civil War; but these occasioned fierce fights in Congress, investigations, lawsuits, and outraged protests on the streets – the worst, by far, in American history, dwarfing the urban riots and war protests of the Sixties. But only the most ignorant fool – or devious liar – could compare these short-lived, ad hoc, inconsistently applied, frequently reversed and much-disputed depredations, carried out in the midst of a massive insurrection by fully-fledged armies on American soil, with today's thorough-going, systematic creation of an authoritarian state, on the basis of a zealous ideology of an unrestricted "unitary executive," operating in a nebulous, self-declared "state of war" that we are told will last for generations.Thoreauvian/Gandhian/MLK-style "pacifism" is as impractical, as impossible today, as alchemy.
The technology available to the government today amplifies the scope of repression immeasurably, both in the pinpoint, surreptitious targeting of individuals and in larger-scale operations.There's lot more, much of it reiterating--albeit more elegantly--what I've been saying since "we, the People" acquiesced to Bush v. Gore. (H/t to "fortytwo" at MLW)
In a land crawling with armed – and armored – SWAT teams, with operatives from innumerable federal agencies packing heat and happy to use it, a land where more than 2 million people languish in prison (many of them captives of an endless "war on drugs" that has done nothing to curb substance abuse but has greatly augmented the power of the state and the criminal gangs whose laundered money enriches Establishment elites), a land where almost every transaction is wired up to some national grid, where national ID cards are now being imposed – a land where you literally cannot exist without placing your liberty, your privacy, your very life at the mercy of a government apparatus besotted with violence, coercion and intrusion, there is no place left for the kind of action that Thoreau advocated. His way – and that of Gandhi and King, who took so much from him – envisions a state opponent which one could hope to shame into honorable action by the superior moral force of principled civil disobedience. But the very hallmark of the present regime is its shamelessness, its utter lack of any sense of honor or principle, its bestial addiction to raw power...
...(D)espite the deep unpopularity of the regime, there is still a widespread reluctance to recognize its true nature, and what it will require to restore our constitutional republic. And truth to tell, there are a great many people uninterested in doing so. As long as the diversions keep pouring through the latest gadgetry, the monthly paycheck manages to cover the bills, and their own bodies are not subjected to the tyrant's evil, many people are happy to accept the authoritarian system. (This is not unique to Americans, of course; it is a constant in human history.) But even where there is an interest in discerning the reality of our times, and a yearning for change, again there is no broader movement to leverage an individual's dissent into a form large enough to thwart the tyrannical machine. And there is no American Sakharov on the horizon, someone to arise from the very center of the machine to denounce its workings and call for genuine liberty, genuine democracy, genuine economic and social justice.