Authoritarian control freaks out to micromanage our lives have become the new normal or, to be more accurate, the new abnormal when it comes to how the government relates to the citizenry.
This overbearing despotism, which pre-dates the COVID-19 hysteria, is the very definition of a Nanny State, where government representatives (those elected and appointed to work for us) adopt the authoritarian notion that the government knows best and therefore must control, regulate and dictate almost everything about the citizenry’s public, private and professional lives.
Indeed, it’s a dangerous time for anyone who still clings to the idea that freedom means the right to think for yourself and act responsibly according to your best judgment.
This tug-of-war for control and sovereignty over our selves impacts almost every aspect of our lives, whether you’re talking about decisions relating to our health, our homes, how we raise our children, what we consume, what we drive, what we wear, how we spend our money, how we protect ourselves and our loved ones, and even who we associate with and what we think.
You can’t even buy a stove, a dishwasher, a showerhead, a leaf blower, or a lightbulb anymore without running afoul of the Nanny State.
In this way, under the guise of pseudo-benevolence, the government has meted out this bureaucratic tyranny in such a way as to nullify the inalienable rights of the individual and limit our choices to those few that the government deems safe enough.
Yet limited choice is no choice at all. Likewise, regulated freedom is no freedom at all.
Indeed, as a study by the Cato Institute concludes, for the average American, freedom has declined generally over the past 20 years.
The overt signs of the despotism exercised by the increasingly authoritarian regime that passes itself off as the United States government (and its corporate partners in crime) are all around us.
Yet as egregious as these incursions on our rights may be, it’s the endless, petty tyrannies that illustrate so clearly the degree to which “we the people” are viewed as incapable of common sense, moral judgment, fairness, and intelligence, not to mention lacking a basic understanding of how to stay alive, raise a family, or be part of a functioning community.
When the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the individual rights of the citizenry, we’re in trouble, folks.
Federal and state governments have used the law as a bludgeon to litigate, legislate and micromanage our lives through overregulation and overcriminalization.
Overregulation is just the other side of the coin to overcriminalization, that phenomenon in which everything is rendered illegal, and everyone becomes a lawbreaker.
Yet while there are endless ways for the Nanny State to micromanage our lives, things become truly ominous when the government adopts mechanisms enabling it to monitor us for violations in order to enforce its many laws.
Nanny State, meet the all-seeing, all-knowing Surveillance State and its sidekick, the muscle-flexing Police State.
You see, in an age of overcriminalization—when the law is wielded like a hammer to force compliance to the government’s dictates whatever they might be—you don’t have to do anything “wrong” to be fined, arrested or subjected to raids and seizures and surveillance.
You just have to refuse to march in lockstep with the government.
This is the police state’s superpower: empowered by the Nanny State, it has been vested with the authority to make our lives a bureaucratic hell.
Indeed, if you were unnerved by the rapid deterioration of privacy under the Surveillance State, prepare to be terrified by the surveillance matrix that will be ushered in by the Nanny State working in tandem with the Police State.
The groundwork laid with COVID-19 is a prologue to what will become the police state’s conquest of a new, relatively uncharted, frontier: inner space, specifically, the inner workings (genetic, biological, biometric, mental, emotional) of the human race.
Consider how many more ways the government could “protect us” from ourselves under the guise of public health and safety.
For instance, under the guise of public health and safety, the government could use mental health care as a pretext for targeting and locking up dissidents, activists and anyone unfortunate enough to be placed on a government watch list.
When combined with advances in mass surveillance technologies, artificial intelligence-powered programs that can track people by their biometrics and behavior, mental health sensor data (tracked by wearable data and monitored by government agencies such as HARPA), threat assessments, behavioral sensing warnings, precrime initiatives, red flag gun laws, and mental health first-aid programs aimed at training gatekeepers to identify who might pose a threat to public safety, these preemptive mental health programs could well signal a tipping point in the government’s efforts to penalize those engaging in so-called “thought crimes.”
This is how it begins.
On a daily basis, Americans are already relinquishing the most intimate details of who we are in order to navigate an increasingly technologically-enabled world.
Having conditioned the population to the idea that being part of society is a privilege and not a right, such access could easily be predicated on social credit scores, the worthiness of one’s political views, or the extent to which one is willing to comply with the government’s dictates, no matter what they might be.
We should all be leery and afraid.
All the government needs is proof of your law-breaking. They’ll get it, too.
Whether it’s through the use of surveillance software such as ShadowDragon that allows police to watch people’s social media activity, or technology that uses a home’s WiFi router and smart appliances to allow those on the outside to “see” throughout your home, it’s just a matter of time.
At a time when the government has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state, it won’t take much for any of us to be considered outlaws or terrorists.
In an age of overcriminalization, you’re already a criminal.
After all, the government likes to use the words “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” interchangeably.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, at some point, being an individualist will be considered as dangerous as being a terrorist.
Reprinted with permission from The Rutherford Institute.