Only the Guilty Need Fear? Tell It to Anne Frank

The U.S. government’s attempt to expand the surveillance state — in this case to make it easier to wiretap the Internet — is pretty much a dog-bites-man story.

A fairly typical response is: “I’m not worried. After all, I’m not doing anything wrong.”

Sure. Because governments have never done bad stuff to people who weren’t doing anything wrong. The right-wingers have a good word for people who implicitly assume that the government means well and can be trusted, and that its only motivation is to stop “bad guys.” They call them “sheeple.”

You think the Jews living in Europe in the 1930s were “doing anything wrong?”

But lest I be accused of triggering Godwin’s Law, let’s stick to the United States. God knows there’s enough material in our own history to keep the most naive goo-goo liberal awake nights.

Look at the role of the state in the post-Haymarket repression of anarchists and leftists, and the direct role of federal troops in breaking strikes like the Pullman Strike. During the Copper Wars out West at the turn of the century, governors proclaimed martial law to suppress the unions.

Look at the police state nightmare under Woodrow Wilson, during and after WWI. The War Hysteria and Red Scare under St. Woodrow included wholesale repression of dissent — American Railway Union leader and socialist presidential candidate Eugene Debs was imprisoned — and culminated in the Palmer Raid’s political imprisonment of socialists and Wobblies and shutdown of left-wing newspapers.

Then there was the internment of Japanese Nisei in 1942. Were they doing anything wrong?

And don’t forget COINTELPRO.

And all those civil rights organizers who were “shot trying to escape” in police custody down South. Were they doing anything wrong?

How about the people who had drugs planted on them by cops who “knew” they were guilty — or worse yet, had guns planted on them by the cops who murdered them — what were they doing wrong, other than being foolish enough to trespass on the turf of vicious thugs whose gang colors are blue?

Folks, the U.S. government has murdered or imprisoned countless people who weren’t doing anything wrong but being stupid enough to believe the government only goes after “bad guys,” and that “not doing anything wrong” makes a snowball’s difference in hell. If the government perceives you as a threat to the class interests and the system of power it upholds, you don’t need to be “doing anything wrong.”  It will make something up.

The question is why anyone would be gullible enough to trust the GOVERNMENT not to do anything wrong.

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