Rule by Thieves: One Week in the Life of the American Kleptocracy
“The first and most important thing to understand about politics is this: forget Right, Left, Center, socialism, fascism, or democracy. Every government that exists — or ever existed, or ever will exist — is a kleptocracy, meaning ‘rule by thieves.’” — Author L. Neil Smith
The American kleptocracy (a government ruled by thieves) continues to suck the American people down a rabbit hole into a parallel universe in which the Constitution is meaningless, the government is all-powerful, and the citizenry is powerless to defend itself against government agents who steal, spy, lie, plunder, kill, abuse and generally inflict mayhem and sow madness on everyone and everything in their sphere.
Case in point: in the same week that Wikileaks dropped its bombshell about the CIA’s use of spy tools to subject law-abiding Americans to all manner of government surveillance and hacking—a revelation that caused barely a ripple of concern among the citizenry—the government quietly and with little fanfare continued to wage its devastating, stomach-churning, debilitating war on the American people.
Incredibly, hardly anyone noticed.
This begs the question: if the government is overstepping its authority, abusing its power, and disregarding the rule of law but no one seems to notice—and no one seems to care—does it matter if the government has become a tyrant?
Here’s my short answer: when government wrongdoing ceases to matter, America will have ceased to be.
Just consider the devastation wrought in one week in the life of our American kleptocracy:
On Monday, March 6, police were given the go-ahead to keep stealing from Americans who were innocent of any wrongdoing.
In refusing to hear a challenge to Texas’ asset forfeiture law, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed Texas police to keep $201,000 in ill-gotten cash primarily on the basis that the seized cash—the proceeds of a home sale—was being transported on a highway associated with illegal drug trade, despite any proof of illegal activity by the owner.
On Tuesday, March 7, hacked information about the surveillance state was met with a collective shrug by the public, a sign of how indifferent the citizenry has become to living in an electronic concentration camp.
According to the Wikileaks Vault 7 data dump, government agencies such as the CIA and the NSA have been spying on the citizenry through our smart TVs, listening in on our phone calls, hacking into our computerized devices (including our cars), and compromising our security systems through the use of Trojan horses, spyware and malware.
On Wednesday, March 8, police were given further incentives to use the “fear for my life” rationale as an excuse for shooting unarmed individuals.
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An Alabama police officer shot a driver exiting his car, mistakenly believing the wallet in his hand to be a gun. Although the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals concluded “that a reasonable officer … would have feared for his life,” the video footage makes clear that the courts continue to march in lockstep with the police, because no reasonable person would shoot first and ask questions later.
On Thursday, March 9, police were given even more leeway in how much damage they can inflict on those they serve and the extent to which they can disregard the Constitution.
The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a police officer who allowed a police dog to maul a homeless man innocent of any wrongdoing. Incredibly, not only did the court declare that the police officer was protected by qualified immunity, which incentivizes government officials to violate constitutional rights without fear of repercussion, but it had the nerve to suggest that being mauled by a police dog is the equivalent of a lawful stop in which police may stop and hold a person for questioning.
On Friday, March 10, the military industrial complex continued to wage war abroad, while government agencies, including members of the military, remained embroiled in controversies over sexual misconduct.
A day after military brass defended the U.S.-led raid in Yemen that killed 10 children and at least six women, Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, informed members of Congress that even more U.S. troops were needed in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban.
That same day, news reports indicated that members of several branches of the U.S. military, including the Marines, have been using online bulletin boards to either share or solicit nude or explicit photos and videos of women in the military.
The FBI has also been getting in on the photo-sharing gig, only its agents have been distributing child porn, allegedly in an effort to catch consumers of child porn. As part of its Operation Pacifier sting, the FBI became a lawbreaker itself as the largest distributor of child pornography.
Mind you, this was just one week of shootings, degradation, excessive force, abuse of power and complicity in the American police state. Magnify the impact of these events 52 times over, because they are taking place every week in this country, and you will find yourself weak at the knees.
Somewhere over the course of the past 240-plus years, democracy has given way to kleptocracy, and representative government has been rejected in favor of rule by career politicians, corporations and thieves—individuals and entities with little regard for the rights of American citizens.
Our freedoms have become casualties in an all-out war on the American people.
As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, this war is being fought on many fronts, with bullets and tasers, with surveillance cameras and license readers, with intimidation and propaganda, with court rulings and legislation, with the collusion of every bureaucrat on the government’s payroll, and most effectively of all, with the complicity of the American people, who continue to allow themselves to be easily manipulated by their politics, distracted by their pastimes, and acclimated to a world in which government corruption is the norm.
How do we stop the hemorrhaging?
Start by waking up. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Most of all, think for yourself.
As H. L. Mencken observed, “The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself… Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable.”
Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People (SelectBooks, 2015) is available online at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at email@example.com.