A few weeks ago my daughter asked me to help her come up with topics for a persuasive speech she had to write and deliver in her sophomore English class. After she dismissed all the good ones (“Why the war on drugs is a scam”…she thought that would get her kicked out…”Why all Catholics would be happier if they were Episcopalians”…it’s a Catholic school – guess what we are? ;-)) she settled on a case against police militarization.
We worked on the outline yesterday and in a stunning case of syncronicity, this is what I listened to on my way home from dropping her off at school this morning. In this interview, Scott Horton talks to Abigail Hall about the article she contributed to appearing in the most recent issue of The Independent, titled “Perfecting Tyranny: Foreign Intervention as Experimentation in State Control“. It might as well be called “A model based definition of why war chickens come home to roost”.
The article lays out the case and the mechanism of what the authors call “the boomerang effect” by which the tools of social control developed in coercive foreign interventions (see the article for what they mean by this if its not clear) make their way back to the originating country of the tool and the intervention (aka war chickens roosting). Why the idea may be an old one (aren’t all allegories involving chickens some form of ancient wisdom?), the structure backing the argument is what’s news here. The authors layout four “channels” by which the
war chickens find their way home tools of social control developed in foreign wars make their way home (in my own words):
- During war time, government power tends to become more centralized.
- The people involved in foreign wars learn some things about making people do what they want…usually without the restrictions that would be in place in the home country.
- Some of those people end up in charge of things and they make changes in procedures that align with what they learned.
- We build a bunch of stuff to go to war and we have to use it somewhere when the war
The conclude with a few examples of how this model has played out in the creation of the surveillance state and a militarized police force, both of which supply ample evidence to validate the model. Here’s to hoping that “enhanced interrogation techniques” don’t make it on that list of examples.
At 26 pages its not something you can skim through, but I got through it over lunch so you can read it in the time it would take you to watch the local and national news – and you’ll be way smarter for it.