Federal officials are warning “U.S. law enforcement about the threat of Islamic State-inspired terror attacks against police officers, government workers and ‘media figures’ in the U.S.” Unfortunately many Americans will buy into the state propaganda, spurring even more authoritarian increases in police and military power.
But what reasons are there to think that Islamic terrorists are a significant threat to Americans? Simply put, there are none. But when has that ever stopped the government?
Lack of real evidence for danger hasn’t stopped government officials before and I suspect they will be damned if it gets in their way now. After all, the United States government has a long history of using scant (sometimes even completely non-existent) evidence to fuel increases in its power.
NBC reports that an ISIS recorded message urges, “lone wolf terrorists in Western countries to carry out attacks on, ‘soldiers, patrons, and troops … their police, security and intelligence members.’” In a separate incident, an Army Intelligence Bulletin warns that ISIS militants “called on supporters to scour social media for addresses of their family members.”
Even if these claims are true, this is hardly justification for any kind of panic or worry, let alone state action. After all, you are nine times more likely to be killed by a police officer than by a terrorist. While terrorists killed 17 American citizens worldwide in 2011, police officers killed at least 155 that same year!
This is not to diminish the tragic death of those 17 human beings, but merely to put things into perspective and show what’s wrong with where our priorities actually lie. If you’re nine times more likely to be killed by a police officer, the so called “public servant” tasked with protecting you, than you are to be killed by a terrorist — you know, that group of people that the United States government has declared war on and spent $6 trillion dollars to fight — then who are the real terrorists? I doubt we’re going to see a “war on cops” anytime soon, despite the depressing statistics.
Economist FA Hayek warned that, “Emergencies have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.” While it was said decades ago, there is no time that exemplifies the truth of Hayek’s insight better than the last 15 years. The war on terror and increased police militarization have destroyed not only security (they make us less safe, not more) and privacy, but also lives — American or otherwise.
If there was one quote that I could magically have every American understand the meaning of, it would be Hayek’s. The imperial presidency, the security state, the surveillance state and the police state are all built upon rampant fearmongering and so-called “emergencies.” But if more people grasped Hayek’s maxim, Leviathan wouldn’t have the power to spy, imprison, torture, bomb and murder like it does right now.
The recent worry over ISIS attacks on American citizens is merely the latest in a long history of propaganda peddling in order to create fear over non-existent threats, implicitly hiding the real ones, and ratchet up state power. It’s pure BS. The government knows it. We just need the American people to realize it.
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