Naomi Wolf on Sarah Palin

“Has Sarah Palin been picked as the titular head of the coming police state?”, asks Naomi Wolf.

My answer: No.

Journalists were arrested [at the RNC] — for reporting. Amy Goodman and ABC producers were arrested. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and others were forced to lie face down as armed agents tied their hands behind their backs.

This is not new. It happened repeatedly in the 60’s. We survived.

The riot police wore the black S&M gear of the Rovian fantasy life and carried the four foot batons cops carry in North Korea. All this is not John McCain’s imagery or strategy: it is Karl Rove’s.

How can she possibly know what Rove’s fantasy life is? Just wondering. Saying that the militarization of police is a Rovian plot grants way too much power to one person in addition to being more than a little Black Helicopter-ish. . Some perspective, southern cops in the 50’s did much worse things to nonviolent civil rights demonstrators than just cuff them on the ground. And – don’t forget – we eventually won that battle, against what at the time often seemed insurmountable odds.

Back in the 60’s-early 70’s, like now, there were dark rumors that the president (Nixon) was secretly setting up concentration camps for dissidents, would cancel elections, roll in the tanks, and that a police state was just ’round the corner. Didn’t happen, did it?

Wolf has done many important things, but if you posit the opponent as all-powerful and all-controlling, then you can paralyze yourself into inaction. Maybe it’s more like the Wizard of Oz. A little man with some machinery. Seems to me if you take that view, you will then be more optimistic and thus have a better chance of accomplishing your goals.

“Paranoia strikes deep / Into your life it will creep / Starts when you’re always afraid.”


  1. Nixon didn’t roll in the tanks, but he did hire non-governmental goons to bash the heads of those national-security-threatening peaceniks. And Reagan was, I believe, the first to suspend the “innocent until proven guilty” clause in the name of fighting the War on Drugs. What Bush has done to the Constitution is criminal.

    OTOH, even a dictator is only all-powerful when you fear what s/he can take from you. I come from the “Live Free or Die” state. Is liberty really worth dying for? If so, we have nothing to fear from anyone.

    But if we’re addicted to comfort, we’re screwed. That’s why the Ceasars used the Forum to distract the populace while they seized power from the Senate. That’s why we’ve got 1,000 channels on cable (well, I don’t), sports and entertainment “news” is more important to most people than the financials, and no one notices that the Constitution has been suspended. It’s pretty sad when a bad call by an NFL ref gets as much press as the $700 billion raid on the national treasury.

  2. I’m not ready to give this junta that big of a benefit of the doubt. Having been a student of the inter-twistings and machinations of the shadow government since picking up a copy of Tim Allen’s None Dare Call it Conspriacy in the early seventies, I may be biased in Ms Klein’s favor in that I’ve found Shock Doctrine as an accurate and far more eloquent of a depiction of my observations on how we got “here”, as John Robb’s Brave New War of what is actually happening “here”, or Jim Marr’s Rule by Secrecy as too why.

    I don’t see it as too far of a stretch that these End Times I chronicle are the product of a six hundred, perhaps even six thousand, yeaar process.

    I too scoff somewhat at the secret concentration camp notion, but during the weeks before I came home the Army and police were conducting joint training exercises in Portland (OR) with… Black Helicopters. While I’ve long contended that it would be a statistical impossibility to successfully impose Martial Law on a land base this large and a population this diverse – that doesn’t mean it won’t be attempted.

    And we should never lose sight of the fact that …

    We dropped the ball, my generation did… we stopped The War!

    Our War.

    Viet Nam.

    But we didn’t stop War.

    We forced Nixon to accountability. Whoopee! Nixon quit, The War is Over! Let’s finish our law degrees, cut our hair, and buy beemers and half-million dollar houses on the high desert!

    We stopped The War. Our War. Viet Nam. But we didn’t stop War. We finished our law degrees and bought overpriced McMansions, and left the machinations* in place, notably Bush/Carlyle, Cheney/Haliburton and Rumsfield/etal, that led to the Authoritarian State – the Fascist State – we are about, if not have, to become.

    We dropped the ball.

    Sometimes I think I understand why the good doctor (Hunter S) did, if he indeed, what he did.

  3. The good news and the bad news is that facism (or something like it) heralds the end of an empire. In the chaos that follows, life is uncertain– and leaders are more likely to come from outside the ruling class than before. They might even be (gasp) women!

    One of my professors abhorred the term “The Dark Ages” with respect to what happened after the fall of Rome. She argued that there was so much going on, and so many innovative leaders (many of them female), that though chaotic those times were not “dark.”

    We may have a chance to see for ourselves soon.

  4. Call me a cynic, but even if the empire falls tomorrow and heralds in a new age of rulership by the just, it’s only a matter of time before the greedy and powerful start finding ways to profit off it. Once they get their tentacles in, it’s all downhill. History shows it over and over, and we haven’t changed enough as a species for me to be confident that things would be any different if it were to happen to our country.

  5. DJ wrote: “One of my professors abhorred the term ‘The Dark Ages’ with respect to what happened after the fall of Rome. She argued that there was so much going on, and so many innovative leaders (many of them female), that though chaotic those times were not ‘dark.’

    “We may have a chance to see for ourselves soon.”

    But we have so many ups and downs now in this world:

    September 11th
    The Internet
    Scientific research surpassing our wildest dreams (Stem Cells, Hubble Telescope, faster and smaller computers, etc)
    Wealthy folks looting the government
    Roosevelt, Kennedy, and even to some degree, Clinton all providing innovative leadership (I’m ashamed to say my history is a little foggy between WWII and Viet Nam, so I’m sure I missed a few)
    Whole neighborhoods surrendering to crime

    I would say that we are already seeing for ourselves, yes?

  6. The Romans invented the steam engine. Then they collapsed, looted by a series of barbarian hordes that a few decades earlier wouldn’t have made it past their borders.

    The events Zog lists are truly astonishing– but they are only events. The collapse of the remaining world-steering power (and its influence) in our lifetime would truly be mind-blowing.

    I don’t believe in spontaneous “rule by the just.” (That sounds a lot like the Bush plan going into Iraq.) But I do believe that from chaos comes not only fear but opportunity. The status quo will be turned on its head. There will be warlords and quacks. There will also be spiritual leaders and visionaries. Many of today’s priviledged (that’s us) will live short, hard lives. But there will be pockets of enlightenment, too.

    Have the “dark ages” begun already? We still use 20 times the world average of resources and energy, so I doubt it.

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