the secret police have seized power in a silent coup
Metaphors rule the world. The stories we tell ourselves shape the future of civilization. Some metaphors are good, some are bad, and all are evil if taken too literally.
So let’s talk about the babysitting metaphor.
This is how the secret police (“IC”) think of themselves: responsible adults taking care of unruly children for their own good.
This is bullshit. A democracy with secret “babysitters” is by definition not a democracy–it’s a dictatorship. The secret police will, of course, justify this seizure of power by saying it’s for our own good. But even a well-intentioned “benevolent dictatorship” is still a dictatorship.
There is no such thing as a good dictatorship, and certainly not when, on paper, we are a republic, not a daycare facility run by murdering, torturing spooks.
Some secret police will tell themselves that they are really good people trying to do the right thing. To which I can only reply: Read the fucking Constitution. Power unchecked will be abused. This is poli sci 101. If there exists no countervailing force to check the power of secret police who disappear, torture and murder people they don’t like–“for the good of society”–what makes you think that power won’t be abused?
Let’s back up, and look at the babysitting metaphor more closely. As a parent, it’s not only acceptable for me to watch over my children, but it’s my responsibility. I would be a bad parent if I failed to take care of my children, feed them, clothe them, educate them, and make sure they don’t hurt themselves or anyone else.
But as they grow older, it becomes less and less acceptable for me to do so. The around-the-clock attention you give a newborn is not the same attention you give a five year old–or a fifteen-year old. By law and custom we fix the end of puberty as the beginning of adulthood, and life without babysitters.
A democracy of adults cannot have “babysitters” and remain a democracy. Secret power exercised by secret watchers turns the government into a de facto espiocracy, or rule by the secret police.
This poisonous “babysitter” metaphor has been used by tyrants throughout the centuries to justify their rule. Good Ol’ Papa Joe Stalin ruled Russia for the good of his child-like people.
In a democracy the acceptable amount of “babysitting” is zero, or else you aren’t living in a democracy, but a totalitarian crèche run by secret police who lie, cheat, steal, blackmail, torture, rape, murder, and commit genocide for a living.
The secret police have seized power in a silent coup. They will claim it’s to protect us, to keep us safe, to “babysit” us. This is bullshit. Their job isn’t to keep us safe–their job is to keep us free. And when they fail to do so, they commit treason against their own people.
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