Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I wrote an essay some time ago about how the use of secret police to combat foreign threats (or "terrorists" in the modern version) quickly morphs into spying on political opponents.

I used the example of Russia from a time period that removed it from current political issues.

Authoritarians tend to be amoral, aggressive and egomaniacal, they thus tend to rise to positions of power in both government and industry. The less authoritarian often underestimate the lengths that these people will go to, and by the time they wake up they have lost their civil liberties.

We have seen this played on with the GWOT in the US and even in Australia(!) recently. So it is not surprising to see the same sort of dynamic re-emerging in Russia and Germany. Both countries still have a residual group who feel that the best days were in the past when strong leaders defended national pride.

Here's my cautionary essay:
Surveillance vs Civil Liberties

Depending upon courts to defend civil liberties is a risky course of action. Judges can be intimidated quite easily. If you want to defend civil liberties you need to push for strong democratic institutions.

I don't have a solution if the majority decides to vote themselves into servitude, however.

Policies not Politics
---- Daily Landscape

by rdf (robert.feinman@gmail.com) on Thu Nov 13th, 2008 at 09:24:20 AM EST

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