More than once I have ventured to tell me friends that this habit of deferring to law and lawful authority, good in itself, has gone with them into extremes, and would lead them, should they let it grow, into the frame of mind for yielding to the usurpation of any bold despot who may assail their liberties, like Caesar, in the name of law and order!
— William Hepworth Dixon, New America
The creation of crimes after the commission of the fact, or, in other words, the subjecting of men to punishment for things which, when they were done, were breaches of no law, and the practice of arbitrary imprisonments, have been, in all ages, the favorite and most formidable instruments of tyranny.
To be governed is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be governed is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be place(d) under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.
— Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
A government with deep ideological commitments to slashing social services to the poor. Outbreaks of violence, mainly among the young, in the areas most affected. A governmental response that amounts to accusing the young of being irredeemable hooligans with an entitlement problem. And, finally, arrests of the rioters and draconian sentences including, famously, a six month jail sentence for someone who stole £3.50 worth of bottled water
... this resembles nothing so much as a Robert Holmes
story. Indeed, it's basically the plot of "The Sunmakers"
, which is, all things considered, ironic.